ACT (Acceptance and Commitment) Plus Mindfulness Give New Path for the Future

A new treatment for me, Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) therapy plus mindfulness offers new hope. This treatment helps to interrupt the emotions instead of working on the negative thoughts. I never found CBT to be that effective because it is hard to cure the mind with the mind. And CBT is about changing your thoughts. So you have to use your mind to fix your mind.

ACT is different. Following is a quick and dirty overview of ACT which was written by Steven Hayes:

  • Most psychological difficulties have to do with the avoidance and manipulation of private events.
  • All psychological avoidance has to do with cognitive fusion and its various effects.
  • Conscious control belongs primarily in the area of overt, purposive behavior.
  • All verbal persons have the “self” needed as an ally, but some have run from that too.
  • Clients are not broken, and in the areas of acceptance and defusion they have the psychological resources they need if they can be harnessed.
  • To take a new direction, we must let go of an old one. If a problem is chronic, the client’s solutions are probably part of them.
  • When you see strange loops, inappropriate verbal rules are involved.
  • The value of any action is its workability measured against the client’s true values (those he/she would have if it were a free choice). The bottom line issue is living well, not having small sets of “good” feelings.
  • Two things are needed to transform the situation: accept and move.

Whereas with CBT you sit and think,; with Act you get up and act. I know with my depression, I have always had to do physical activity to begin to break the cycle so this makes perfect sense to me.

From Wise Geek: “What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?”:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a relatively new form of psychotherapy, pioneered by Steven C. Hayes in the mid 1990s. It is an outgrowth of behavioral therapy andcognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has largely been the accepted method for treatment of conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stressdisorders. Acceptance andCommitment Therapy, like CBT, relies on the philosophy of Functional Contextualism, a school of thought suggesting that words and ideas can only be understand within context and are hence frequently misconstrued because people have individual contexts. Another influence on ACT is Relational Frame Therapy, a form of behavioral analysis examining language and learning.

CBT focuses on identifying “hot thoughts” when in the throes of an anxiety attack or deep depression, and then evaluating such thoughts to gauge how true they really are. For example, a person who is feeling unduly anxious might evaluate a thought like, “Everybody hates me,” and then list evidence as to why this is or is not true. After looking at the underlying thoughts that cause anxiety, a person evaluates whether his or her stress has been reduced. The process seems long, but after a while, people can adeptly work this process in their head, understanding that these thoughts occur but are not representative of what is really “true”. When such thoughts occur, they can be dismissed after training in CBT.

From Wikipedia: “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT (typically pronounced as a word, not as separate initials – an acronym, not an initialism) is a cognitive–behavioral model of psychotherapy.[1] It is an empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways[2] with commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. The approach was originally called comprehensive distancing.[3] It was developed by Steven C. Hayes, Kelly Wilson, and Kirk Strosahl.[4]

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