Life Lesson 9 - ExistentialPsychology.org

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Life Lesson 9:
How do I overcome adversity?
Use the ABCDE Strategy to build resilience.
© Paul T. P. Wong
Part A: A tragic but positive sense of life
Part A: Your attitude determines the outcome.
Part A: Look at everything with a
meaning-mindset
Part B: The ABCDE Strategy
• This lesson focuses on the practices
and skills of meaning-centered
interventions
• It will compare cognitive-oriented
Rational-Emotive-Behavioral therapy
with existential-oriented meaning
therapy
Meaning-Centered Approach to
coping with tragedy & trauma
• The cognitive-based ABCDE strategy is primarily
concerned with dysfunctional beliefs & thoughts
• The meaning-centered ABCDE strategy is primarily
concerned with existential crisis and the reality of
pain and suffering.
• Meaning Therapy focuses on both cognitive
meaning & existential meaning
Suffering triggers
the quest for meaning
The cognitively-based ABCDE strategy
• Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavioral
Therapy (REBT) focuses on irrational thinking
& cognitive meaning.
• REBT is the most influential form of Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
• ABCDE is designed to dispute a dysfunctional
belief and replace it with a more effective and
rational belief
Albert Ellis’s
Rational-Emotive-Behavior Therapy
Examples of irrational beliefs according to Albert Ellis:
Catastrophing, Musturbating, Awfullizing…
The Meaning-Centered
ABCDE Intervention
• Accept and confront reality – the reality principle
• Believe that life is worth living – the faith principle
• Commit to goals and actions – the action principle
• Discover the meaning and significance of self and
situations – the Aha! Principle
• Evaluate the above – the self-regulation principle
From real problem to personal growth…
A
Accept the
reality
E
Evaluate
& enjoy the
progress
B
Believe in
possibilities
C
Commit to
achievable
goals
(PURE)
D
Discover
new
resources &
solutions
© Paul T. P. Wong
Lesson 1:
The power of acceptance
To fully
understand and
utilize the power
of acceptance is
to be free from all
worries and
anxieties.
Denial is an obstacle to positive change
Self-deception can be harmful
One big challenge is to accept yourself
Another challenge is to let go
Practicing acceptance without judging
leads to inner peace &
interpersonal harmony.
A Fundamental Dilemma:
Acceptance or Change
Lesson 2:
The power of belief
Faith helps re-author our life story
Lesson 3:
Commitment is the key to success
Commitment entails action, engagement, & persistence.
Commitment =
passion + action + persistence
Commitment involves goal setting
No matter how
restrictive and
oppressive the
circumstances, you can
still set some realistic
goals. You need to goalsetting each day in order
to keep hope alive and
maintain your sanity.
Commitment till completion
Moving forward and carrying out one’s responsibility
with determination.
•Doing what needs to be done regardless of feelings
or circumstances.
•Enduring hardship and pain for the cause.
•Avoiding errors and temptations.
•Practicing the PURE principle.
•Pursuing your mission with a clear sense of purpose
Commitment also includes a
higher purpose & larger vision
Pursue a
PURPOSE or
goal
Seek to
UNDERSTAND
the self &
situation
PURE:
The Four Treasures of Life
A
Meaningful
&
Take
RESPONSIBILITY
Fulfilling
Life
ENJOY the
process and the
journey
© Paul T. P. Wong
It takes commitment and courage to
overcome obstacles and reach the
mountain top.
Lesson 4:
The Journey of Discovery
The joy of self-discovery
Learning something new about the self and life.
• Digging deeper, exploring further, and searching
higher.
• Discovering one’s hidden talents and strength.
• Discovering the power of faith and spiritual
resources.
• Grasping the complexities of life and people.
Lesson 5:
Enjoyment or Evaluation
Savoring small successes and re-assessing one’s progress.
•Feeling relief that the worse is over.
•Monitoring progress.
•Savoring the moments of small success.
•Reflecting and reviewing one’s life.
•Receiving feedback from others.
•Conducting assessments and making adjustments.
Conclusions
The capacity for meaning-making can
transform everything from
negative to positive
Growing stronger through struggle
Adversity provides a better
foundation for life than prosperity
Questions & Exercises for Lesson 9:
1. What is the main difference between Ellis's REBT
and Wong's Meaning Therapy?
2. Can you think of a personal problem for which
Meaning Therapy may be more helpful to you than
REBT?
3. Can you think of a personal experience in which
acceptance enabled you to move forward?
4. What sorts of beliefs enable you to maintain your
hope in desperate situations?
Questions & Exercises for Lesson 9:
5. What is your most immediate goal? Is it related to
your larger or higher life purpose?
6. Can you think of a situation in which you
discovered something new about yourself through
a painful experience?
7. Try to apply the Meaning Centred ABCDE model to
a personal predicament.

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