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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Basics

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) offers relief from suffering and an opportunity to lead a meaningful, vital, satisfying life.

Published in: Health & Medicine

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Basics

  1. 1. ACT: Basics Concepts J. Ryan Fuller, Ph.D. New York Behavioral Health New York, NY
  2. 2. ACT in Context Rooted in Relational Frame Theory (RFT) Grew out of Contextual Behavioral Psychology Directly tied to basic research
  3. 3. ACT Definition Steve Hayes has defined Acceptance & Commitment Therapy as: 1.“ACT is a functional contextual therapy approach based on Relational Frame Theory which views human psychological problems dominantly as problems of psychological inflexibility fostered by cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance. In the context of a therapeutic relationship, ACT brings direct contingencies and indirect verbal processes to bear on the experiential establishment of greater psychological flexibility primarily through acceptance, defusion, establishment of a transcendent sense of self, contact with the present moment, values, and building larger and larger patterns of committed action linked to those values.” 2.“Said more simply, ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness processes, and commitment and behavior change processes, to produce greater psychological flexibility.”
  4. 4. ACT: Acronyms Psychological Inflexibility A C T F E A R Psychological Flexibility
  5. 5. ACT: Acronyms Psychological Inflexibility A C T F E A R Psychological Flexibility usion with thoughts valuation of experience voidance of experience eason-giving for behavior ccept reactions hoose a valued direction ake action
  6. 6. Psychological Inflexibility Psychological Inflexibility Psychological Flexibility • Experiential avoidance • Unclarified values • Inaction, Impulsive action, Persistent Avoidance • Cognitive fusion • Conceptualized self • Conceptualized past and future
  7. 7. Psychological Flexibility Psychological flexibility is contacting the present moment fully as a conscious, historical human being, and based on what the situation affords changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values. 06/24/16
  8. 8. Hayes Overview of ACT “ACT / RFT embraces a vision we had almost lost: empirically validated interventions, a link to basic principles, and (like Skinner’s expansive vision) actively seeking a comprehensive psychology more adequate to the challenge of the human condition” “So far as I know, ACT / RFT is now the only empirical clinical approach with its own comprehensive and highly successful basic research program in cognition”
  9. 9. Essential Components of ACT There are six essential sub-processes in ACT
  10. 10. Acceptance Essential Components of ACT
  11. 11. Acceptance Noticing private experiences without attempts to alter or prevent them, allowing them to run their course without defense
  12. 12. Defusion Acceptance Essential Components of ACT
  13. 13. Defusion Perceiving private events as private events, not what they symbolically represent
  14. 14. Self as Context Defusion Acceptance Essential Components of ACT
  15. 15. Self-as-Context The self as perspective or the observing self
  16. 16. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Essential Components of ACT
  17. 17. Present Contact with the present moment, i.e., the “here and now”
  18. 18. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Values Essential Components of ACT
  19. 19. Values Chosen life directions; what one wants to be about
  20. 20. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Essential Components of ACT
  21. 21. Committed Action Committed behaviors that are value-congruent
  22. 22. Psychological Flexibility Capacity to experience the present moment and behave according to chosen life direction(s)
  23. 23. Defusion Acceptance Let Go Undermine Excessive Literality Shared Property Relations There are several kinds of relations among these six essential sub- processes. “Shared property relations” are those in which each component together forms a functional unit. Defusion and acceptance are both about undermining excessive literality, or (more colloquially) “letting go.” Colloquially: More technically:
  24. 24. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Let Go Show Up Undermine Excessive Literality Verbal and Non-Verbal Shared Property Relations Self as context and contact with the present moment both involve verbal and non-verbal aspects of “here and now”, or more colloquially, “showing up.” These processes are in the center of the hexagram because issues of being are central to all of the other processes and at one level of analysis ACT can be distilled down into a single word: Be. Colloquially: More technically:
  25. 25. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Let Go Show Up Get Moving Undermine Excessive Literality Verbal and Non-Verbal Build Positive Use of Language Shared Property Relations Values and Committed action involve positive uses of language to choose and complete courses of action ... that is they are about getting moving Colloquially: More technically:
  26. 26. Dialectics 1 the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions. 2 enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. the existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc..
  27. 27. Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Facets of the Acceptance and Change Dialectic Dialectical relations exist between undermining and promoting language functions in the service of acceptance and change
  28. 28. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Facilitative Relations Some relations are simply mutually facilitative ... for example defusion helps make contact with the present moment possible while contacting the present moment provides the events that may need to be defused from
  29. 29. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values This then is the overall ACT model
  30. 30. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Acceptance and Mindfulness Processes You can chunk them into two larger groups
  31. 31. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Commitment and Behavior Change Processes Thus the name “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” and
  32. 32. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values is this psychological space The Essence of ACT Work and what it is, is the answer to this central ...
  33. 33. Self as Context Contact with the Present Moment Defusion Acceptance Committed Action Values Psychological Flexibility (1) Given a distinction between you and the stuff you are struggling with and trying to change (2) are you willing to have that stuff, fully and without defense (3) as it is, and not as what it says it is, (4) AND do what takes you in the direction (5) of your chosen values (6) at this time, in this situation? ACT Question If the answer is “yes,” that is what builds...

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