Fears – acceptance and commitment therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy – is a form of psychotherapy commonly described as a form of cognitive-behavior therapy or of clinical behavior analysis (CBA). It is a psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways with commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. The approach was originally called comprehensive distancing. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps you accept the difficulties that come with life. The core conception of ACT is that psychological suffering is usually caused by experiential avoidance. As a simple way to summarize the model, ACT views the core of many problems to be due to the concepts represented in the acronym, FEAR: Fusion with your thoughts, Evaluation of experience, Avoidance of your experience, Reason-giving for your behavior. And the healthy alternative is to ACT: Accept your reactions and be present, Choose a valued direction, Take action. ACT commonly employs six core principles to help clients develop psychological flexibility.
Cognitive defusing: Learning methods to reduce the tendency to verify thoughts, images, emotions, and memories. 2. Acceptance: Allowing thoughts to come and go without struggling with them. 3. Contact with the present moment: Awareness of the here and now, experienced with openness, interest, and receptiveness. 4. Observing the self: Accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is unchanging. 5. Values: Discovering what is most important to oneself. 6. Committed action: Setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly.
Acceptance: Whether it be a situation you cannot control, a personality trait that is hard to change or an emotion that overwhelms, accepting it can allow you to move forward. Obsessing, worrying and playing things over and over keep you stuck. In this sense, asking why can leave you helpless. ACT invites you to accept the reality and work with what you have. Some acceptance strategies include:
Letting feelings or thoughts happen without the impulse to act on them. 2. Observe your weaknesses but take note of your strengths. 3. Give yourself permission to not be good at everything. 4. Acknowledge the difficulty in your life without escaping from it or avoiding it. 5. Realize that you can be in control of how you react, think and feel.
Defusing: Another aspect of ACT is the skill-set of learning how to cognitively defuse psychologically heightened experiences. Defusing involves realizing thoughts and feelings for what they really are, like passing sensations or irrational things that we tell ourselves – instead of what we think they are like feelings that will never end or factual truths. The goal of defusing is not to help you avoid the experience, but to make it more manageable for you. Some defusing strategies include:
Observe what you are feeling. What are the physical sensations? 2. Notice the way you are talking to yourself as these feelings are experienced. 3. What interpretations are you making about your experience? Are they based in reality? 4. Grab onto the strands of your negative self-talk and counter them with realistic ones. 5. Now re-evaluate your experience with your new-found outlook.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is not a long term treatment. The ACT experience of reworking your verbal connections to thoughts and feelings, known as comprehensive distancing, can be extremely helpful in the treatment of depression, anxiety and many other psychological disorders.