Fusing and defusing from your thoughts

Fusion means blending together. In acceptance and commitment therapy or ACT "fusion" means a thought and the story or event it refers to become stuck together as one. In a state of fusion, it seems as if:

thoughts are reality - what we think is actually happening 
thoughts are the truth - we believe them
thoughts are order- we obey them 
thoughts are wise - we assume they know best 

By putting "I am having the thought of" in front of a negative thought such as "I am stupid" or "I am incompetent" we are able to put some distance from the actual thought. ACT or acceptance and commitment therapy call this "defusion".

Defusion allows us to step back from that thought "I am stupid" and to see it for what it is : nothing more than a word passing through your head. In a state of defusion we recognize that:

thoughts are sounds, words or stories
thoughts may be or maybe not important - we pay attention only if they are helpful 
thoughts may be or may be not true - we do not automatically believe them 

Think of defusion like a training wheel on a bicycle: once you learn how to ride you do not need it anymore.

Finally the aim of defusion is not to get rid of a thought but to see is for what it is - just a string of words- just acknowledge it without trying to change it  

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Written by Gherardo Della Marta MBACP counsellor in London WC1B, NW1 and Bedford MK40

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