Presentation on theme: "ACT Made Simple Dr Russ Harris"— Presentation transcript:
1 ACT Made Simple Dr Russ Harris You can download this presentation from theTherapists and Coaches page on:
2 Workshop Aims Understand the ACT model Experience the 6 core processes Learn practical tools and techniquesHave some funLeave here inspired to learn more
3 What is ACT? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: an empirically- supported mindfulness-based therapy, created by Steven Hayes in 1986Acceptance of what is out of your personal control and Commitment to taking action that enriches your life.The aim of ACT is to create a rich full and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it.Symptom reduction is not the goal
4 What is ACT?ACT teaches psychological skills (mindfulness skills) to deal with painful thoughts and feelings more effectively – in such a way that they have much less impact and influence.ACT helps you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you (your values) - then use that knowledge to guide and motivate behavioral change, to improve your quality of life.
5 What Is Mindfulness?Mindfulness: awareness with openness and curiosityBuddhism is often cited as the origin of mindfulness practice, but actually you can find it in all the world’s great religionsACT is not a religion. It is a scientific evidence-based behavioral therapy, based on applied behavioral analysis.
6 6 Core Processes of ACT Psychological Flexibility The Present Moment Be here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityDefusionWatch your thinkingCommitted actionDo what worksSelf-as-contextPure awareness
7 The Mindfulness “Formula” 1. Notice X2. Let your thoughts come and go3. Let your feelings be as they are4. Drift off, come back
8 The Mindfulness “Formula” Alternatives to “notice”: observe, focus, pay attention to, be aware ofAlternatives to “acceptance”: allow it, open up, make room, create space, let it be, sit with it, drop the struggle, hold it gently, hold it lightly, soften up around it
9 WorkabilityIs what you are doing working in the long term to make life rich, full and meaningful?If yes, keep doing itIf no, do something differentDon’t be a “mindfulness Nazi”Fusion and avoidance are NOT inherently bad. We only target them when they get in the way of a rich and full life.
10 “Creative Hopelessness” AKA “Confronting the agenda”Client’s agenda: I want to control how I feelControl is the opposite of mindfulness3 questions:What have you tried?How has it worked?What has it cost?
11 6 Core Processes of ACT Defusion Psychological Flexibility The Present MomentBe here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityDefusionWatch your thinkingCommitted actionDo what worksSelf-as-contextPure awareness
12 Defusion techniques Leaves on a stream Let your thoughts come and go like passing cars, clouds in the sky etc.Your mind is a story teller; thoughts are stories;Your mind is like a radio - let it play on in the backgroundUse your hand as a “chatterbox”“Hands as thoughts” metaphor
13 Defusion techniques I’m having the thought that … I notice I’m having the thought that …Sing thoughts, e.g. to Happy BirthdayHear thoughts in silly voicesPut thoughts on a computer screen and play with font, color, case, format; or animate them; or add a karaoke ball
14 Defusion techniques Notice what your mind is telling you How old is this story?What happens when you get caught up in it?Does it help you to hold this story tightly?Does it help you to let this story run your life/ bully you around/ dictate what you do?
15 Defusion techniquesNaming the story – if we put every thought, feeling memory linked to this issue into a book or movie, what would you call it?RepetitionPop-up thoughts:Children should be seen and …Blondes have more …Every cloud has …
16 6 Core Processes of ACT The Present Moment Acceptance Values Be here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityDefusionWatch your thinkingCommitted actionDo what worksSelf-as-contextPure awareness
17 The Mindfulness Formula 1. Notice X2. Let your thoughts come and go3. Let your feelings be as they are4. Drift off, come back!
18 6 Core Processes of ACT Values Psychological Flexibility The Present MomentBe here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityDefusionWatch your thinkingCommitted actionDo what worksSelf-as-contextPure awareness
19 ValuesYou are 80 years old looking back on today. Complete these sentences:I spent too much time worrying about …I spent too little time doing things such as ….
20 Values A value = a desired quality of ongoing action Compass metaphor: a value is like a direction you want to move in e.g. WestCommitted action is like actually travelling WestGoals are like the bridges or mountains or rivers you aim to cross.To be loving and supportive = valueMarriage = goal
21 Values ClarificationRoutine questions: what would you start/stop if this was no longer an issue?What gives you a sense of meaning and purpose?When do you feel most alive?What really matters, in the big picture?For suicidal clients: what has stopped you from killing yourself?
22 Values Clarification 80th Birthday Magic wand Role models Childhood dreamsValues questionnairesDocumentary of you – now and later
23 Values Clarification Tombstone Eulogy Funeral You know you only have one week to live, but you can’t tell anyone
24 The “I Don’t Know” Monster What is the function of “I don’t know”?If genuine lack of understanding: Explain values, and/or provide a listIf automatic response: DefusionIf avoidance: Defusion, Values & Workability. Facilitate willingness, then do experiential exercises
25 6 Core Processes of ACT Committed action Psychological Flexibility The Present MomentBe here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityCommittedactionDo what worksDefusionWatch your thinkingSelf-as-contextPure awareness
26 Committed Action Values to goals: short, medium and long term What’s the smallest, simplest, easiest step you can take in the next 24 hours?Live person’s goalsSpecific goalsBreak goals down into actionsOn a scale of 0 – 10, how likely are you to do this? If client scores 5 or less, reassess!
27 Committed ActionWrite yourself a personal goal, in line with a core value, that you will do in the next weekAs you do this, notice what your mind saysNow commit to doing it: tell your partner what you will do – and as you do it, notice a) how you feel and b) what your mind tells you
28 Barriers to Action F.E.A.R. Fusion Excessive goals Avoidance of discomfortRemoteness from values
29 The Antidote to FEAR D.A.R.E. Defusion Acceptance of discomfort Realistic goalsEmbracing values
30 6 Core Processes of ACT Self-as-context Psychological Flexibility The Present MomentBe here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityDefusionWatch your thinkingCommitted actionDo what worksSelf-as-contextPure awareness
31 Self-as-contextAKA self-as-perspective, the observing self, the silent self, the silent witness,My opinion: the best term is “pure awareness”The “part of you” that is aware of everything elseThe “place” from which you observeThe chessboard metaphor
32 Self-as-contextThinking Self versus Observing Self: playing tennis, watching a sunsetThe stage show of life: on that stage is everything you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell, plus all your thoughts and feelingsYou can watch any part of the show, or all of it at onceThe show changes continually; the part of you that observes the show does not
33 6 Core Processes of ACT Acceptance Psychological Flexibility The Present MomentBe here nowAcceptanceOpen upValuesKnow what mattersPsychological FlexibilityDefusionWatch your thinkingCommitted actionDo what worksSelf-as-contextPure awareness
34 AcceptanceObserve it: location, size, outline, depth, temperature, hot spots, cold spots, movement, weight, vibration, pulsationBreathe into itOpen up/ make room/ create spaceAllow it: you don’t have to like it or want it or approve of it; just let it bePhysicalize it: if it was an object, what shape color, texture, temperature, weight, surface would it have?
35 AcceptanceChoice: 1) no pain, but you lose your capacity to love and care or 2) you get to love and to care, but you feel pain when there’s a gap between what you want and what you’ve got. Which do you choose?Place a hand on the painSoften up/ loosen up around the painHold it gently, like a crying baby or a frightened puppy
36 AcceptanceNormalize: this tells you’re alive and you have a heart; this is what humans feel when there’s a gap between what you want and what you’ve got.Expand awareness: This pain is one actor on the stage – bring up the lights on the rest of the stage show
37 Conceptualization1. What direction does the client want to take their life in?2. What’s stopping them?a) What are they fused with?b) What are they avoiding?c) What ineffective actions are they taking?