The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
~~ Albert Einstein
Learning Psychological Flexibility ::
Modern clinical-experimental psychology has extended a number of therapeutic methods based on concepts and practices of mindfulness . . .
Mindfulness Defined as Psychological Flexibility
Skillful Awareness Allows Vital Life Adaptation
As Psychological Flexibility
A Summary of The Six Core Processes of Acceptance Commitment Therapy:
Connection : Defusion : Expansion : Observation : Values : Action
Mindfulness – Skillful Means – Psychological Flexibility
Sustaining Value Guided Actions
Connection involves the ability hold in awareness the value of “turning toward life.” With steadfast intention you learn to actively, skillfully behave in a manner that works best — for you. The practice of Acceptance Commitment Therapy ACT (a type of cognitive behavior therapy) gives you as much room as necessary for you to decide just what behavioral direction you value. What functions best for you? You get to pick, and you get what you pick!
Through your own willingness to sustain intentional focused awareness, you learn to earnestly engage in “value-guided behavior.” Such value-directed actions are most likely to lead you, in a behavioral sense, toward the life direction that works best — for you.
Acceptance Commitment Therapy helps us cultivate the skill to persevere and develop the “skillful means” to do what works in living our most vital life. As you attend to the experiential nuances of conscious awareness, you will notice attraction, notice aversion, simply notice . . . the richness of present experience. A personal willingness must be engaged . . . a certain experiential flow . . .we notice . . . an expansion and contraction within our awareness . . . as we make “psychological contact” with what we value doing in this present moment, just as it is.
In this way, we connect intentionally with whatever is happening right here, right now. In the practice of ACT, this is called “contacting the present moment”.
Cognitive Defusion involves learning the skill of “stepping back” from your mind’s activity, or detaching from unhelpful or distressing thoughts, worries, judgments, and disturbing memories. Instead of getting caught up in your own thinking, being pushed around by your mind’s activity, or habitually struggling to get rid of what you are experiencing right now, you learn how to let thought-experience come and go . . . ‘You” watch your mind . . . thinking, thinking . . . planning, planning . . . somewhat like watching your mind’s verbal “story-lines.”
The practice of cognitive defusion finds us observing our own minds as our internal commentary perpetually floats through awareness, like experiential story-bubbles flowing through and wandering within the mind. This practice teaches you to learn how to step back and watch your own thinking, so you can learn to respond effectively – instead of getting “fused” . . . . tangled up or lost-trapped . . . inside your judging and categorizing mind.
Expansion involves opening up and “making room” for distressing emotions or even unwanted bodily sensations. We learn how to drop the struggle with our own ideas, give our thoughts and emotions some breathing space, and let them be there — present in our experience — just as they are — without getting all caught up in them, or overwhelmed by them. The more we can open up, and give our mind room to move, the easier it is for our emotions to come and go without draining us or holding us back. Essentially, this is what ACT means by “psychological acceptance.”
The Observing Self
The Observing Self is the part of you that is responsible for awareness and attention. Author Russ Harris explained: “We don’t have a word for it in common everyday language – we normally just talk about the ‘mind’. But there are two parts to the mind: The Thinking Self – that is, the part that is always thinking; the part that is responsible for all your thoughts, beliefs, memories, judgments, fantasies etc. And then there’s The Observing Self – the part of your mind that is able to be aware of whatever you are thinking or feeling or doing at any moment.
Some traditions have called this “The Silent Witness” or “The Observing Self.” Without this human capacity, one couldn’t develop effective mindfulness skills. And the more you practice mindfulness skills, the more you’ll become aware of this aspect and ability of your mind. You learn to grow able – developing the “Skillful-Means” to access the observing-self when you most need to sustain adaptive awareness. This skill is ultimately necessary if you are to learn to persevere in ACTIONS that function to vitalize your life-experience.”
Vital Life Values | Skillful Means
As a mindfulness-based contemporary cognitive and behavioral therapy model, ACT perpetually helps you sustain your behavioral focus on patterns of action that serve to lead in the direction of vital and desirable life outcomes.
In the parlance of ACT we might agree that “Your Personal Vital Life Values” are what you want your life to be about, deep in your heart, what you want to stand for, what you want to do with your time on this planet, what ultimately matters to you in the big picture of living. They are those values for which you would like to be remembered by the people you love most in your life.
Committed Action means taking action guided by your values (doing what matters to you) especially when it’s difficult or uncomfortable! Many aspects of coping with our most vital-lives will confront us with disquiet and distress. Our outcome is to persevere — intentionally — with momentary responses that work for us. If we learn to achieve our aim and become increasingly psychologically flexible, we live in line, behaviorally, with what we value.
When you put all these notions and practices together, you can behold a sense of just what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy calls “psychological flexibility.” In my best estimation, this is otherwise known in various meditation traditions as “Mindfulness and Skillful Means.”
Such enhanced awareness involves the ability to sustain contact with the present moment. These momentary awareness skills can be cultivated in a number of ways; ACT is just one of them. Academic Clinical Psychology has posited that psychological “openness to experience” is the most vital ability or skill an individual can master! From the ACT perspective, it is clearly imperative that we learn to sustain an open, accepting, flexible awareness and that we persevere skillfully, especially in a behavioral sense.
This is ultimately what some meditation traditions point toward in encouraging us to practice “skillful means” in thought, word, and deed. Attentive and aware of our values, we behave in accordance with what works to reward and reinforce the life-style and mind-style we value achieving most.
In must be clear to us that we must somehow value the ability to remain psychologically present, to open up, and to do what matters! What really woks for you? Discerning what matters to you and what works for you really does matter when we endeavor to live and to actualize our most authentic and valued life.
ACT helps us cultivate the ability to DO what really WORKS best for us! The greater our ability to do what works for us, the more skillful we are . . . and the better our quality of life is, that is, the greater our sense of vitality, wellbeing, and realistic fulfillment.
From an ACT vantage point, you must earnestly endeavor to cultivate the willingness to: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life!
Explore a More Social-Scientific way to talk about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Seattle.
Attending and actively turning toward life
Detaching and seeing past verbal tangles
Being psychologically flexible and open to experience
Attaining skillful workability and being self response able
Having a mindful life direction and clarifying values
Exposing, persevering in, and rewarding value
Exposure is the Single Most Powerful Intervention :: Robustly Therapeutic!
“In terms of its effect, ‘exposure’ [to previously avoided situations] is the single most powerful intervention in the whole of psychology. And a solid understanding of how to apply it is essential for the effective treatment of anxiety disorders. Yet many therapists and coaches have little or no idea of what exposure is; many others are familiar with the concept but have had little or no training in how to do it effectively.” ( John Forsyth, 2012 )
John Forsyth, the world’s leading expert in the use of ACT with anxiety disorders, shows you how to use exposure effectively, efficiently, and compassionately, within an ACT framework.
ACT teaches clients how to be with their hurts and do what works, to live well, richly, and meaningfully, without first having to defeat or eliminate sources of emotional and psychological pain. This is often challenging for both therapists and clients alike, and without a solid grounding in the compassionate use of exposure, these efforts can easily fail or backfire.
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
~~ William Yates
The Process and Practice of Mindful Change
Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl and Kelly G. Wilson
Now in a revised and updated new edition, this book provides the definitive statement of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)—from conceptual and empirical foundations to clinical techniques—written by its originators. ACT is based on the idea that psychological rigidity is a root cause of a wide range of clinical problems. The authors describe effective, innovative ways to cultivate psychological flexibility by detecting and targeting six key processes: defusion, acceptance, attention to the present moment, self-awareness, values, and committed action. Sample therapeutic exercises and patient–therapist dialogues are integrated throughout.
New to This Edition of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Reflects tremendous advances in ACT clinical applications, theory building, and research.
- Psychological flexibility is now the central organizing focus.
- Expanded coverage of mindfulness, the therapeutic relationship, relational learning, and case formulation.
- Restructured to be more clinician friendly and accessible; focuses on the moment-by-moment process of therapy.
The Divided Brain: A Fascinating Animation
About Neuroscience and Brain Function.
At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point,
there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
— T.S. Eliot ”Burnt Norton”
Call me to explore Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Seattle!
Awaken Toward Skillful Means | MBCT
Mindfulnes Based Cognitive Behavoural Therapy