The Human Face of CBT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jill Edwards (BACP Accredited No 613906)
16th January, 2010
This therapy offers therapists and their clients a healthy framework to work in. It offers a deep acceptance of the pain and suffering which the client has experienced, but it does not support the ineffective avoidance strategies which a client may practice.
Clients are motivated by getting clear with them, what it is they value in the various arenas of their life, their relationships, work, lifestyle identity etc. Some people want to fast forward their success in life and ACT is a very suitable platform for coaching for success.
Clients learn skills to help them cope. Mindfulness skills form the basis of this together with the psychological flexibility learnt through defusion, a separation from the natural capacity we have to imagine a future in which the difficulties we fear are amplified. ACT is "third wave", the new direction, from the behaviourists and CBT.
Underlying these skills is the practice of living in the present moment and recognising that our identity is to be found in the awareness we have of that process and our acceptance of this process as against struggling to to live with the ideas we have about ourselves - a conceptualised self.
The conceptualised self holds the critical voice and the demanding voice of perfectionalism from which so many of our clients suffer.
We look to our clients to commit to act differently in order to achieve results which are in line with the values they hold. These are not goals, not set in stone, but a flexible direction in life, which is personal to them and makes the work of dealing with their pain and suffering worth while.
Taking this further.......
"Get out of your mind and into your life, the new Acceptance and Commitment Therapy" by Spencer Smith and Stephen C Hayes is an excellent book to give to clients to use for self-help and to amplify the work you do together.
"Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change: An Experimental Approach to Behavior Change" by Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, and Kelly G. Wilson (Paperback - 8 Jan 2004) gives an insight into the excellent theoretical framework which supports the human-faced work which is facilitated by this practice.
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