• Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Creating Psychological Flexibility

     

    We can cultivate the ability to experience difficult thoughts and emotions in the service of what matters the most to us. The objective of ACT is NOT elimination of difficult feelings; rather, it is to be present with what life brings us and to move toward valued behaviors.

     

    Our minds are wired by nature to watch out for danger and threats. This built-in mechanism called the negativity bias has allowed us to avoid danger and pass down our genes for thousands of years. However, at the same time, it means we are often going to view uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations as threats that need to be avoided or controlled. Instead of reducing our pain, this strategy actually increases our suffering.

     

    Psychological flexibility means we can learn to meet more of life’s challenges without getting knocked off our feet. It means learning to let go of the things we can’t control or avoid and influence the things we can. It means learning to accept the things that you cannot change and focus your energy where you can make a real impact! In applying ACT, we cultivate psychological flexibility and well-being through the following skills:

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    BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF

    Authenticity requires vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.

    Present moment awareness

     

    Being aware of and tuning into your inner and outer experience of the world

     

    Acceptance Strategies

     

    Learning to let go of what can’t be controlled or avoided

     

    Values

     

    Identify and cultivate actions that move you towards what’s important in your life

    Committed Action

    Committing oneself to actions that may create discomfort in the short-run, but ultimately lead you to live your courages life with your values

    Self-as-context

    Which generally means being able to observe one’s experience without taking things so personally all of the time

    Defusion

    Stepping back from your thoughts so you don’t get “hooked” by the stories in your mind.