Category Archives: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), based on Relational Frame Theory (RFT), is a third wave behavioral therapy that utilizes mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions to enable active engagement with life with greater psychological flexibility, clarity of values, and effective action. Within ACT’s framework, psychological suffering tends to be the result of maladaptive interactions between human language and thoughts, attempts to exert control, attachment to the conceptualized self, disconnection from the present moment, and unwillingness to engage in behaviors driven by one’s true values.

ACT is focused on letting go of fusion or attachment to thoughts, embracing the present moment, and engaging in effective patterns of behavioral action to move toward value-based goals. The idea is that life can be painful, and attempts to reduce pain through control and avoidance only result in additional unnecessary suffering. The ultimate goal of practicing the basic principles of ACT is to build a rich, vibrant, and meaningful life while accepting the inevitable pain that comes with it.

How to Break Free from Mental Captivity – Part Two

How to Break Free from Mental Captivity - Part Two

“Our ideas, like orange-plants, spread out in proportion to the size of the box which imprisons the roots.” – Edward Bulwer Lytton In my last post, “How to Break Free from Mental Captivity – Part One,” we began to explore strategies for developing a more mindful and effective relationship with your internal mental experience. It’s…

How to Break Free from Mental Captivity – Part One

Be Your Own Master & Break Free from Mental Captivity

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius Do you ever feel like your mind has more control of you than you do of it? Many of us have experienced times when we feel like the captain of our own ships, confidently charting…

5 Ways to Let Go of Judgment & Fear

5 Ways to Let Go of Judgment and Fear

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” - Carl Jung Judgment and fear have a tendency to hold you back from living a rich and meaningful life that is based on your true values and establishing harmony in relationships. There is often a high price to pay for living…

How to Make a Willingness & Action Plan

How to Make a Willingness & Action Plan

“First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus When we are setting goals and making plans for the future, for what kind of person we wish to be, and what values we wish to live by, psychological barriers can threaten to get in way of…

How to Deal with Barriers to Effective Action

How to Deal with Barriers to Effective Action

“It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” – Seneca Once you have an understanding of what your most deeply held values are and what specific goals you have set to begin to live those values, it is important to recognize…

How to Translate Values Into Committed Action

How to Translate Values Into Committed Action

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.” – Pablo Picasso Once you feel that you have a clear sense of the underlying values that you wish to live by, the next step is to translate those values into committed action.  While possessing knowledge of what your values are is…

Choose to Live According to Your True Values

Choose to Live According to Your True Values

“‘Cheshire Puss,’ asked Alice. ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to go,’ said the Cat. ‘I don’t much care where,’ said Alice. ‘Then it doesn’t matter where you go,’ said the Cat.” – Lewis Carroll Values provide us with…

Choose to Make Contact with the Present Moment

Choose to Make Contact with the Present Moment

“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.  I live now.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson No matter how focused we are on memories and worries from the past or hopes and fear of the future, the fact remains that it is always now.  We cannot escape the truth that we live…

Acceptance in a Nutshell

Acceptance in a Nutshell

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” – Carl Jung Mindfulness-based therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) infuse the concept of acceptance throughout treatment.  The idea behind acceptance is the notion of surrendering and opening yourself up to all aspects of your internal and external experience in their entirety.  This means…

“Leaves on a Stream” – Cognitive Defusion Exercise

"Leaves on a Steam" - Cognitive Defusion Exercise

 ”Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) provides us with the tools to practice cognitive defusion, which is the willingness to let go of the attachment and over-identification with thoughts that cause suffering.  When fusion to thoughts becomes problematic, those thoughts become “true” and “real” in…