Best ABC Model Examples (25+ Real-Life Cases)

The current blogspot will be based on the question “what are ABC model examples?”. We will be discussing various examples to better understand the ABC model. We will also learn the importance of the ABC model in therapy through the examples.

What are ABC model examples?

The ABC model was originally proposed by Albert Ellis. The components of ABC model are as below :

Activating events: a negative situation occurs that triggers a belief. The activating event is based on :

  • What was the situation?
  • Who was involved?
  • What did other people do?
  • What was my role?
  • What emotions were involved

Beliefs: the explanation we create for why the situation happened. The beliefs are based on the following two questions :

  • What did I think when the activating event happened?
  • How did my thoughts support my beliefs?

Consequences: our feelings and behaviors. The consequences include the following questions :

  • What kind of emotions am I feeling as a result?
  • What kind of negative personal behavior can I recognize as the result of the activating events and beliefs?
  • How does my behavior influence the environment?

The ABC model is used by therapists and counselors to help understand the irrational and illogical beliefs of the clients as a result of the activating event and understand their behavioral and physical changes in response to that.

The examples of the ABC model help us learn our behaviors and bodily responses as a result of our beliefs that are triggered by an activating event and are often illogical and irrational. 

The examples of ABC model

Following are some of the examples of activating event in an ABC model :

  • Your teacher did not answer your morning greeting when passing by in the corridor
  • Your boss did not notice you on the desk while talking to your colleague
  • Your friend has not been picking you call despite you called 3 times in a day
  • Your child is less in weight and height as compare to your nephew who was born a week earlier to your child’s day of birth
  • Your mother often asks your sibling for his favourite food and cooks his favourite food only
  • Your baby cries while seeing any beard man
  • A child gets frightened seeing a bird
  • A girl feels rumbling stomach while being in an elevator
  • Your father daily asks you about your day at school
  • Your mother keeps telling you to study hard and be a successful person
  • You watch yourself in the mirror and become sad
  • You go to a party and feel frightened
  • Your sister tells you she is not taking you along to a party
  • You fall from stairs in a party
  • Your forget your presentation in a meeting
  • You get late for office
  • You forget your wedding anniversary
  • Your spouse forgets your birthday
  • Your mom forgets to cook your favourite meal
  • It rains on the day you planned going out with friends
  • You don’t get to meet the doctor you wanted to meet
  • Your girlfriend doesn’t call you on a weekend night 
  • Your favourite shirt gets burned
  • You miss your flight
  • You miss your wife’s call as you were slept
  • Your brother took your car by mistake and forgot you had to go somewhere
  • Your ex friend met you coincidentally at a mall
  • A weird feeling strikes you being on a heightened building 

As a result of the above mentioned activating events, a number of beliefs may emerge that are usually irrational and illogical. The beliefs include:

  • I am not loved
  • I am not appreciated
  • Life is unfair
  • I will die
  • There is no true love
  • My boss doesn’t like me
  • The teacher thinks i am a bad student
  • My child is inadequate and nobody will love him
  • I am an inadequate parent
  • I am a failure
  • My child will be a failure
  • My father doesn’t trust me
  • I am ugly
  • I am not a confident person
  • People often think i am a fool
  • I appear an idiot
  • There is no hope in the future
  • My past will never let me move out further in life
  • Life is a mess
  • My mother is always after me and she hates me for being me
  • My friend must be busy with her new friends
  • Nobody ever listens to me
  • Nobody understands me
  • None in life is a true friend
  • God is unfair to me
  • Nobody cares for me 
  • I am an inadequate husband
  • My brother is conspiring against me and doesn’t want me to be successful in life
  • I am being followed by my ex

The above mentioned beliefs in a person’s mind are illogical and irrational and arise as a result of the activating event. 

In result of the activating event and the beliefs, there is a behavioral, physical or a physiological consequence. 

The consequence in reaction to the activating events and beliefs are as follows :

  • A feeling of guilt
  • A feeling of hopelessness
  • A feeling of  low mood
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Social avoidance
  • Embarrassment
  • Hatred
  • Inner state of conflict
  • Self hatred
  • Low confidence
  • Low self image
  • Low self worth
  • Inadequate sense of self
  • An increased sense of insecurity
  • A low purpose in life
  • Conflict with family members
  • Distrust
  • Dejection
  • Despair
  • Low physical activity
  • Lack of pleasure in life
  • Sleep issues
  • Eating difficulties
  • Disturbed sexual life
  • Disturbed social life
  • Distorted relations
  • An inability to trust people
  • Tendency to develop paranoia
  • Low academic performance
  • Decreased performance in office
  • Low adaptive functioning
  • Increased negative thinking
  • Heightened reactivity
  • Passive mode of life
  • You believe that life is no more worth living and you better commit suicide
  • You feel tremors
  • You feel nervous
  • You are helpless
  • You find yourself stuck and unable to escape the situation 
  • You feel nervous being in an elevator
  • Your mind gets numb entering a mall


The current blogspot was based on the question “what are ABC model examples?”. We discussed the various examples of ABC models that are used in therapy and that can make anyone understand the importance of the ABC model in our life.

Frequently asked questions : ABC model examples

What is an example of an activating event?

An activating event is any situation that triggers or sparks the anxiety or stress related response in you. An example of an activating event is when a child cries on the sight of a white cotton candy or a white cotton ball or any other white furry object. 

The sight of a white furry object in this case is an activating event.

What are the 3 stages of the ABC model?

The 3 stages of the ABC model are :

Activating events: a negative situation occurs

Beliefs: the explanation we create for why the situation happened

Consequences: our feelings and behaviors

What does C stand for in the ABC model?

The C in the ABC model stands for a consequence. It is related to the body’s response in terms of physical or physiological or psychological changes.

Who proposed the ABC model?

The ABC model in psychology was proposed by Allbert Ellis in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. She expressed anxiety and stress in Depression in terms of an activating event, a related belief and the ultimate consequence of the activating event and the belief.


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