ABC and Thinking Traps

A B C.

  • Play Gavin and Stacey clip
  • What do the students think about Smithy’s reaction to finding out that Gavin has just got engaged?
  • Explain the ideas of Me FM and A-B-C: that adversity (‘A’) leads to beliefs/thoughts (‘B’) which dictate how we feel and what we do (the ‘C’). There is info here.
  • What beliefs/thoughts do they think were running through Smithy’s mind when Gavin was telling him about his engagement?
  • Give students the ABC pro forma and ask them to fill in the gaps for beliefs/thoughts (Bs) and feelings/behaviour (Cs) for the Gavin and Stacey clip.
  • Now ask them to try one of their own.

Me FM and Thinking Traps.

  • Ask the students to individually build a house of cards in silence (for which you’ll need a big pile of playing cards. Ahem). Ask the students to notice what thoughts they have whilst they are doing it.
  • Discuss students’ experience and using the info, look at the idea of ‘Me FM’, the internal radio station.
  • Introduce the idea of ‘thinking traps’, beliefs about ourselves or the world that are inaccurate (info here). Did any of the students notice any of the thinking traps (‘always’, ‘me’ or ‘them’) in their own minds whilst they built the house of cards? Do students notice them at other times, e.g. reports, feedback on work, playing sport, arguments?
  • Ask students how ‘thinking traps’ might affect our ability to cope with challenges and changes.


  1. When encountering challenge or adversity this week work through an ABC of it.
  2. Notice thinking traps over the coming 2 weeks and write about which ones arise and when. Do students have any ways of counteracting them?