For *those that have just lost their keys *those that are well-versed *inebriated ones *wanderers *mermaids *those that belong elsewhere *whippersnappers *marvelous ones *those that are not included in this classification *those that flutter because the moment is fleeting *boundless ones *those colored with slippery fingerpaint *others *those that resemble someone I know from a distance

Friday, May 09, 2008

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Rocks my World

The core therapeutic messages of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are:

*You are not your thoughts, emotions, memories, roles
*There is a you that is not “thing like” that has been present your whole life
*When something is fearsome, notice who is noticing it
*You are perfectly made to experience your experience
*The contents of your awareness are not bigger than you; you contain them
*You are a safe place from which you can have experiences for what they are

- From "A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy"



Blogger John P. Forsyth said...

Cool to see you are getting into this work. ACT is a newer empirically supported approach (not just a therapy) to psychological and experiential health and wellness. It goes against the grain of much of what we've all been taught since kindergarten -- think and feel well, and then you will live well. Our culture of feelgoodism reinforces this message on a daily basis.

There is a strong science behind ACT. I say that because drawing parallels to Tolle is misleading. Tolle has some good ideas and these ideas (e.g., learn to watch your mind, be present, etc) intersect with ACT. Yet, there is no research backing Tolle's message, and people are rightly frustrated about how to live out a new earth.

ACT shows how our minds can be a friend or our worst enemy. We all all susceptible to suffering, in part, because the processes that create healthy normality also create suffering (i.e., language, problem solving misapplied to our thoughts and feelings, excessively following rules, like I should, I must, I can only do X if Y happens; and taking language literally -- think "I'm stupid" vs. "I am a banana." Both are just thoughts, and yet the former can be taken more seriously than the later.

The other part of ACT is linking defusion and minfulness processes with commitment and behavior change processes. In short, this work is about getting space between what your mind says is and is important vs. your raw experience and then committing to doing what you value, and with your mind, bodily discomfort, and old history.

This, by the way, is the recipe for living well. A life with joy, pain, dignity, and purpose. Let's not let our minds and bodies stand in the way of each of us living each moment to the fullest.

ACT is built on the hope, not hype -- the kind of hope that comes from the hard work of many people testing the science behind the approach. You can get a sense of this community by going to

Peace and glad to hear that ACT (said as one word) is resonating with you.


author of "The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A guide to breaking free from anxiety, phobias, and worry using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy," ACT on Life, Not on Anger," and "Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: A Practitioners Guides..."

6:41 PM


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