People are inclined to learn a set of beliefs that in turn would be our basis for decision making. These are usually used unconsciously, and before the person knows it, it already has an effect on his subsequent decisions. However, the downside is when the person is conditioned to have a negative response to a situation.
This is the reason why Albert Ellis introduced the ABCDE model. Basically, the model consists of a series of techniques to help a person condition or re-condition the mind for better rational thinking and decision making.
The ABCDE model stands for:
A – Activating the event
B – Beliefs
C – Consequence
D – Dispute
E – Exercise
Further explaining, the A (Activating the event) simply refers to any situation that a person goes through. It can be anything that happens: a situation from school or work, something a person says against another, or even something within the mind of the person (an idea, a feeling, a memory…)
And in line with the event, the B (Beliefs) comes in. this is where emotions play their role. The event will be the one to activate the belief, which will usually come in the “voices” (or the shoulder angel or devils, as they call it.) in this stage, we question our values and opinions because of the event.
Next is the C (Consequence). Now, depending on how the person responds to his belief, then the consequence could be positive or negative. This is usually the manifestation of the emotions being built up on the Belief stage. The person will get angry and lash out, or get concerned and talk to the persons involved, or be embarrassed and walk away etc.
D (Dispute). Now, this is where the “rational thinking” is being done. Suppose the person decides to keep his “consequence” to himself first and rethink about how he will react. What he is actually doing is “disputing” with his beliefs and collecting enough evidence to counter his irrational thoughts. “What if my boss is not actually angry at me, but just tired?”, “What if my teacher just wants me to get better, that’s why he gave a hard exam?”
And last is the E (Exercise). Conditioning the mind is but an easy task, but not an impossible one. If a person will just learn to filter out which of his thoughts are beneficial against those which are not, then he would be able to develop rational and objective thinking. Once his mind gets used to the new way of thinking, then it is with no doubt that decision making will be more objective rather than subjective.