Mindfulness and Acceptance

The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at Goldsmiths College blog has this very concise post on mindfulness and acceptance from an ACT perspective.

In a nutshell the idea is to:

1 - Accept your reactions and be present
2 - Choose a valued direction
3 - Take action

(Acronym ACT borrowed from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

Traditional CBT aims at disputing negative thinking and expanding horizons through the practice of more helpful behaviours, mindfulness is all about being present with our deepest emotions and fears. And so let's have a have look at what FEAR really means in the eyes of ACT theory:

Fusion with your thoughts
Evaluation of experience
Avoidance of your experience
Reason giving for your behavior

Similarly I found that through my work of coaching psychology the acronym FEAR is seen not very differently: False Evidence Appearing Real.

The point is I was fearing to sit with my struggling frustration and sadness (independent to what these were referring to). I had the belief that I had to do something about them, rather than to sit with them and listen to how they really felt within my being.

So I stopped watching videos, reading books, and exploring techniques to distract my experience, and prepared myself for something really great: sitting with the frustration and sadness that was in me. I did not want to know where it came from or why I was feeling like that anymore. I stopped ruminating over the analytical and instead I stood right in the middle of it.

I had a nice shower, put all the lights of my room off, and lied on my back in bed with my arms away from my body and my legs away from each other. I relaxed my whole body and became aware of how it felt to be me with all that frustration and sadness that was there as well.

I did not challenge the experience at all. I let go of the disputing of my irrational beliefs or the contents of my cognitive material, and simply allowed myself to experience the emotion. A simple decision and twenty minutes of revelation. I rolled to the side, closed my eyes and slept through the night.

The result was waking up feeling much better, looking forward to continuing my day and planning to share with you this experience that has been of great value to me.

Suddenly I am here now, aware of the results of therapy that I did on my own, as part of personal development and self-discovery, and glad I feel strong enough and transparent enough to share these with you.

Valuable things I take from this experience:

1 - To let go of the pain, sit with the pain
2 - Good coping comes with good accepting
3 - Effective therapy can only be achieved when we ourselves need it too.

Reading:
Hayes, Steven C.; Spencer Smith (2005). Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications. ISBN.
Hayes, Steven C.; Kirk D. Strosahl (2004). A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Springer. ISBN.
Hayes, Steven C.; Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson (2003). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy : An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change. The Guilford Press. ISBN.

Posted by Vitor Borges Friary at 17:08