CBT – REBT for Addiction

Thailand addiction treatment provided by Dylan Kerr

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Addiction



The ABC exercise is designed to build a positive belief system by using cognitive behavioral therapy. The originator of this form of therapy was the Psychologist Albert Ellis with his Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy – REBT, later the Psychiatrist Aaron Beck developed what is now called CBT – Cognitive Behavior Therapy, used to treat every type of disorder.

The brain is the organ responsible for producing all behavior



A is Activating events or triggers. Basically speaking most human beings will have two primary goals, to survive and to be happy. Events can activate negative thoughts and feelings that lead to behaviors that threaten these goals.

Not all people will develop the same thinking and reactions around the same events. Why? Because we all have different thresholds, which are mainly based on our biological make-up, environment, culture, life experiences, levels of education and so on.

B is Core beliefs & self-talk. Beliefs are about what you consciously and unconsciously believe about events in your life and your subjective interpretation according to your viewpoint. They manifest as assumptions, automatic thoughts, and rigid personal life-rules.

E.g. you may loss a job or a relationship, in order to make sense of it you may interpret it as an act against you. I.e. “it’s because you or others are bad” this can lead to negative self-talk, getting angry, depression, acting out, drinking and so on. Remember our belief system is laid down during our early development and we need to know if our beliefs are;

Rational: flexible realistic, undemanding and objective,

Irrational: rigid, unrealistic demanding and subjective.


We find our beliefs by listening to, and working through layers of our thoughts we call self-talk.



C = Consequence are emotional & behavioral. As stated earlier, the way we “feel and act” after experiencing an activating event will heavily depend on our personal interpretation and our beliefs about our interpretations.


In CBT we see two kind of negative emotions: One we call healthy negative emotions; Sadness, concern, healthy anger, regret, disappointment, and concern. Whereas the following emotions are regarded as unhealthy negative emotions: Depression, anxiety, unhealthy anger, shame, hurt, jealousy, envy etc.


If our fight or flight, physical defense mechanism, is triggered then our negative thinking about the event makes it worse, we tend to lose control in the short term.


D = Disputing our thinking: At this stage you will start to identify your core beliefs, so you need to test them to see if they are rational, healthy and up-to-date. Use Socratic questioning by being your own detective and looking at the facts and evidence. Check you character defects and types of distorted thinking.

1.   ”Empirical” disputing, you ask yourself, where is the evidence that shows that my beliefs are true?

2.   ”Logical” disputing, am I turning desires into demands?

3.   ”Pragmatic” disputing, Have my beliefs helped me so far?



E = New effective philosophy. This kind of therapy is not a quick fix, in order to feel the therapy’s full rewards you will have to work on yourself by using this tool daily.


Self-fulfilling prophecy: basically we go on manifesting what we believe. So when you know you negative core beliefs create an affirmation to counter it. We tend to limit ourselves with our own beliefs in life.


Also we take action known as paradoxical behaviours. We don’t try stopping negative behavior; we force ourselves into new positive behaviours by practicing what we call exposure therapy, facing our fears.

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