The source of our emotional sufferings

To better understand the causes of our emotional pain and sufferings, it is necessary to determine the true source of our emotions and establish cause-and-effect relationships between the situation, in which suffering occurs, the meanings and interpretations, that we give the events taking place in this situation, and the emotions and behaviour, arising as a result of the events.

It is convenient to use a model named “ABC Model” in psychology in order to illustrate these causal relationships.

The ABC Model

The ABC Model

A - Activating Event/The situation in which emotions arise. B - Beliefs/Assessment of the situation (thoughts that arise in response to what happened; the core beliefs of a person influence the emergence of thoughts). C - Consequences/Reaction (how a person feels and behaves when such thoughts arise).

As a table, the ABC Model looks like this:

A - Activating Event/SituationB - Beliefs/Thoughts and BeliefsC — Consequences/Reaction
The situation in which thoughts and feelings arise.Thoughts (thoughts can be both words and images, pictures) that arise in your head when the situation happens.Emotions (How did you feel?)
Behavior (What have you done?)

Example of an ABC model:

A - Activating Event/SituationB - Beliefs/Thoughts and BeliefsC — Consequences/Reaction
Fired from work- I'm a worthless specialist
- I will never find a job
- my wife will leave me
Depression, apathy,
Alcohol consumption,
isolation from friends and relatives,
seeking reassurance from his wife that she loves and will not leave.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

Is this the only one scenario possible after the dismissal? Are there people who do not get depressed after such a definitely unpleasant event, but find a new, more interesting job? How are they different from the person in our example?

I think you can agree that it is dependent on the comprehension of what happened. How we explain to ourselves and evaluate the events that happened to us, what forecast we give for the future, largely determines our emotions and subsequent behavior.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the assumption that a person’s thoughts and attitudes affect their emotions and behaviour. You can change the emotional state and behaviour of a person by recognizing and working through “non-adaptive” thoughts and beliefs.