Saturday, 18 April 2015

Positive Psychology and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

The ABC Theory of Emotional Disturbance illustrates how feelings and behaviour at C are determined by what happens at A and B i.e. what we believe (B) about what happens (A). This is an A+B=C philosophy. What happens when our constructed view of ourselves equates to an A=C way of believing e.g. failing at A makes me feel depressed at C and causes me to give up.

An A=C philosophy ‘If I fail at A I feel really bad at C 'it' (A) makes me angry and sad’ is problematic for our less resilient kids because they are unaware that constructed beliefs at B have a lot to do with it!

A is what happens e.g. 'someone has rejected me!' and C is how I feel and act in response to A e.g. 'I feel really sad because she has rejected me so I stay at home etc' The depth of despair and how long it lasts will depend on how self accepting the person is.

If a child ‘needs’ the approval of others he/she is at risk of depression, anger, anxiety because their psychological well being depends on how others view them. We want students to have such a strong sense of self-worth that rejection and failure will not be as damaging as could otherwise be (What I think of me is more important that your view of me!)

Don't tell me your problems

It is easy to say 'you're OK no matter what' but how do you demonstrate how this is true, factual? Here are some strategies you can try!

1. Draw the outline of 3 people with one full of pluses (+) one full of minuses (-) and one containing both (more pluses of course). Discuss which best represents us i.e. are we perfect, are we 'rubbish' or are we a composite of each? Does a negative attribute take away all the positive ones? Does someones negative opinion of you take away your positive attributes?

Don't let istakes define you

2. Let children know they are not their behaviour. Tell them they can act badly but that doesn't make them bad.

3. Tell them that anothers opinion of them does not mean they are that opinion i.e. they don't have to accept another persons appraisal of them (refer to 1. above)

I think I can even if you don't

4. Always give behaviour specific feedback and don't use global rating terms like naughty, bad, lazy etc.

5. Train yourself not to say 'good boy/girl.' Why? Because they can choose good or bad behaviours but they are always worthwhile!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Elieasa for your response. I am happy that you find my blog posts useful. All the best. Giulio

  2. Thank you for the reminding us of not labeling "people" as the problem, and instead focusing on the "problem" at hand... Understanding that our personality is composed of both negatives and positives at any given time, and not catastrophizing a situation is indeed important to our mental and emotional well-being. :)

  3. Thank you for your comment Sepi. It seems that we can be quick sometimes to judge the person rather than to focus on the issue at hand. Too many of the students I work with believe they 'are' the problem. Thanks again. :)