Instead Counselling
Have you struggled with anxiety, intrusive thoughts and habits for years, maybe a lifetime? What have you tried to get rid of them? Maybe lots. You probably would not be reading this if those methods had been successful. ACT is different to other strategies in that it does not aim to reduce the symptoms that you are experiencing but rather to build awareness of the way our minds hook us into seeing ourselves as our thoughts and symptoms. We learn to be compassionate with ourselves and treat the problems counter intuitively.

Ballina Bar Aug 11
-Your Alternative

Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

Based on Relational Frame Theory, ACT illuminates the ways that language entangles clients into futile attempts to wage war against their own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises clients learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided. Clients gain the skills to recontextualize and accept these private events, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behavior change.
(Compliments ACBS website)

Now that is a mouthful! What about a simpler description?

ACT (pronounced as the word 'act') can be described using the following acronym:

A = Accept and be present in your thoughts and feelings
C = Choose a valued direction
T = Take action
(ACT Made Simple - Dr Russ Harris)

The ACT process aims to create psychological flexibility through the following three main exercises;

Be Present - Establish contact with the present moment and develop the ability to become an observer of your thoughts and feelings.

Open Up - Work creatively with your thoughts, realising that a full and rich experience can be compatible with thoughts which may seem unpleasant. Learn strategies to avoid 'locking into' or 'fusing' with your thoughts.

Do What Matters - Identify your values and commit to actions which will realise them.

Do you remember the old movies, how the bad guy falls into the quicksand, struggles and drowns? The goodie knows to do the counter intuitive thing and relax, spread his arms and float. ACT can work like that. Certainly worth giving it a try!