The EBB FLOW Model is Renee Mill’s adaptation of the standard cognitive behavioural model. This model demonstrates how beliefs, feelings and behaviours interact and influence one another in a fluid manner:
E = Event
B = Belief about the event
B = Behaviour
F = Feelings
L = Language
O = Outcome
W = Win/Win
E = Event: any occurrence, no matter how small, that takes place in your day-to-day activities
B = Belief: When an event occurs, you will automatically have a belief about it. You may not be aware of the beliefs since it races through your mind automatically, unconsciously and very, very quickly. Your belief can be positive or negative. For instance, if you are thinking that it is great that you are able to have the experience of swimming with a shark, the belief is positive. Alternatively, if you are thinking you might be killed, the belief is negative.
- Neutral – “There is a shark over there”
- Positive – “Wow, what an interesting creature!”
- Negative – “The shark is going to kill me”
B = Behaviour: Your behaviour during an event will be determined by your belief. Therefore, if you have the positive belief that it is a privilege that the shark is swimming nearby, you will act in a curious and accepting manner toward it. However, if you have the negative belief, namely, that it is dangerous and you’ll be eaten you will act in a threatened and fearful manner.
F = Feelings: Your automatic belief will influence the way you feel as well. The positive belief will result in you feeling excited or interested while the negative belief will result in you feeling anxious and petrified.
L = Language: How you speak, the tone and words that you use are directly related to your belief about an event. If your belief is the positive one and you truly are happy that the shark is nearby, your internal dialogue will consist of calming terms. Conversely, if your belief is negative, your inner vocabulary will be fearful and your words will serve to worry you. In a different situation the language you use may be directed at someone else as well e.g. if angry or threatened a person may use words towards another that reflect this feeling.
O = Outcome: The outcome of an event is totally connected to your initial belief about it. The positive belief may help to create a positive outcome as one may act calmly near the shark and not attract its attention. The negative belief will often result in a negative outcome e.g. splashing and screaming could attract the attention of the shark.
W = Win: The purpose of this course is to teach you to achieve a winning solution. During this course you will learn to reduce and manage your fight/flight response system as much as possible and to find helpful situations if appropriate.
The basic philosophy of the EBB FLOW model is that life’s events are neutral in and of themselves. No event is intrinsically good or bad. (Behaviours can be morally good or bad but events are neutral). What makes us react a positive or negative manner to an event is the belief that we ascribe to it.