General Blog Items

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and religious clients

Recently, I received this excellent question about using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with religious clients and thought I’d share it so others could benefit:
I’m learning ACT and am familiar with it’s concepts, but I’m left with a few specific questions in terms of how it can be applied for persons who are deeply religious: who believe it’s not only our personal behaviors that matter in the eternal perspective, but also the thoughts we have. I’m trying to figure out how this modality can be applied such that some level of control or guidance of thought processes may be deemed […]

Favorite Values Exercises to Use In Therapy

We’ve pulled together seven favorite values exercises that you can use with your clients. These are based on work with hundreds of clients and repeated use in workshops and other training events. Most of these exercises originated from others and what we have tried to do is take some of our favorite ACT values exercises and write some scripts for how they might be used in therapy. It is our sincere intention to give credit to the original sources here but if there is something in this handout that we have inadvertently not given proper credit to, please let us know so […]

Milk Milk Milk: Breaking down a defusion exercise

Dr. Akihiko Masuda and colleagues recently published a really interesting study where they broke down components of the ACT Milk Milk Milk exercise. In this exercise, the therapist may take a word that has a strong negative self-referential quality to the client (e.g., “fraud,” “ugly,” stupid,” “damaged”); the client then repeats the word over and over again for about 45 seconds. Most people find that the word eventually becomes series of meaningless sounds or vocalizations. In ACT, this is what’s known as a cognitive defusion exercise. The purpose of defusion exercises is to remove the literal function of private […]

ACTing on diabetes

Diabetes requires knowledge about proper self-care in order to prevent health complications, so hospitals frequently offer courses in diabetes self-management. However, managing diabetes requires a lot more than simply knowing what to do, it also takes overcoming the emotional barriers to living healthy. A recent randomized clinical trial shows how ACT can help with these emotional barriers.

Self-management of diabetes can be inherently distressing, as the act of monitoring and treating this condition readily leads to unpleasant thoughts and feelings. As a result, many diabetics neglect their self-management activities even though the health consequences are known. This kind of experiential […]

Distress tolerance and nicotine addiction

How long can you hold your breath? If you are a smoker, the results of this test would predict the likelihood of being successful at quitting those cigarettes. This is not because holding your breath is related to your lung capacity. Rather, it has something to do with distress tolerance.

We probably all know someone who has been unable to discontinue their cigarette habit, even in spite of numerous attempts to quit. As Richard Brown and colleagues elaborate in a recent article, smoking is very difficult to discontinue for three basic reasons: 1) It is a well-rehearsed habit. 2) Nicotine […]

On Being a Mindful Therapist

Have you ever wondered why ACT experts encourage experiential workshops as part of the training regimen? There are a few answers to this question, but a new study out of Germany suggests that mindfulness training can help therapists be generally better at what they do.

Therapy is complex. Consider all the possible sources of information available during any given therapy session that may assist the therapist in their work. During the session, attention may be directed outward to the client’s statements, expressions, and posture or inward to the therapist’s own reactions, analyses, and actions. And all of this, ideally, is […]

New data on experiential avoidance in Trichotillomania

A blog called Psychotherapy Brown Bag has done a good job of reviewing a recent paper which continues to add to the pile of evidence on the centrality of experiential avoidance in maintaining a variety of psychological disorders. This paper is about the Trichotillomania and is worth a read. Here’s what they had to say about it:
In a study just released in Behaviour Research and Therapy, Anna Shusterman, Lauren Feld, Lee Baer, and Nancy Keuthen (2009) utilized data from a massive online survey to examine the role that emotions play in prompting and sustaining this disorder.  The description of […]

New data on ACT for chronic pain

Fresh data on ACT and RFT seem to be surfacing almost continuously these days. In this edition of our newsletter, we are especially intrigued by a forthcoming article on the use of ACT with children experiencing chronic pain.

One of the distinctions that we often make as ACT therapists with our clients is that between pain and suffering. While pain is regarded as the direct result of difficulties in our lives, whether it is a physical ailment or natural response to life challenges, suffering is the indirect result of being a verbal human being who compares, evaluates, and struggles with […]

The Hexaflex as a Dynamic Therapy Tool

Intro to Defusion Lecture, Part 2

A few months ago I gave an introductory lecture on the ACT concept of defusion to a group of professionals that are participating in an online learning community called Practice Ground, led by Kelly Koerner, a well-known trainer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Make sure you check out part 1 before you listen to part 2, below.

Below is the link to the audio of Part 2:

Defusion: Part 2

Here are the powerpoint slides that I used in the lecture so that you can follow along as you listen to the recording.