Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), we aim to help you learn how to be with the unpleasant experiences and conditions that you will inevitably face in life in a way that creates less suffering for you. Furthermore, we will focus on helping you create the choices – and move in a direction – that will give you an experience of a richer and more meaningful life.
Our Attempts to Avoid Discomfort is Part of the Problem
One of the core aspects of ACT is the view that too strong attempts to try to control or avoid what we think and feel is actually keeping us from living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Attempts to control and avoid can thus be a hindrance in living life in the way we truly want.
Experiencing anxiety in social gatherings can make us avoid these and miss out on relationships that could’ve been enriching. If we experience a lot of self-condescending thoughts in our job, we may avoid speaking with our colleagues. Stuffing our calendar with plans as an attempt to avoid uncomfortable thoughts can make us unable to keep up. If comparing ourself with someone else makes us feel insecure, we can start having condescending thoughts about the other person and neglect the kind way of being that we truly want to experience and express.
There are countless ways in which we can attempt to control and avoid difficult feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. We all do this to a certain extent. When it starts limiting us in living a meaningful, enriching life, we can learn how to be with our inner experiences in a different way.
Learning How to be With Our Experiences in a New Way
We will train willingness to feel all feelings, sense all sensations and allow all thoughts to come and go. If we try to do this the way most of us are used to, it can seem overwhelming. In ACT, we therefore train new ways to be with what we experience. We do this by means of methods that can vary from person to person. This can be conversation, mindfulness practices and breathwork. Like in CFT, it is about training how to be with all our experiences in a present, kind way.
Being in Life in a Fuller, More Enriching Way
The foundation for ACT is the question: What is important to you in your life?
As in existential therapy, it is in ACT essential to find our what matters to you. How do you wish to live your life, and how do you wish to be – towards yourself, others and the world? In the sessions we will get closer to this. We will talk about what we can work with in order for you to start living your life more in accordance with this.
We will train these new ways of being with and to yourself, others and your environment during therapy. For some, this process brings about changes that are obvious to others. The life of the person thus changes in practical and visible ways. To others, the process primarily involves changes experienced by the person him- or herself as well as those that are close to the person. The changes are in other words psychological but not necessarily very visible to the outside world.
Some find themselves surprised by the experience of how merely relating differently to their inner experiences – thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations – and how one is with others can create significant changes in their experience of life. Others experience it being like coming home. Back to what they knew was the way they wished to live.