Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a powerful new type of psychotherapy based on cutting edge research into how the human mind works - and it’s been clinically proven to be successful in a wide range of psychological problems. The unusual name of this therapy comes from one of its key themes; learning how to accept the things that are out of your control, and committing to changing those things which can be changed to better your life.
This is a very active therapy. It’s not one of those therapies where we just talk about your problems. It is a therapy in which you actively learn new skills to improve your quality of life for the better.
We Have Two Basic Aims
One aim is to help you create a rich, full and meaningful life. To do that, we’ll need to spend some time talking about what you really want out of life; what’s important and meaningful to you, deep in your heart. We call this ‘clarifying your values’. Values are your hearts deepest desires for what you want to do and how you want to be during your short time on this planet. Then, using that information as a guide, we’ll look at how you can set goals and take action to change your life for the better. Through this you will develop a fuller sense of meaning, purpose and vitality.
Our other aim is to teach you a set of skills that will allow you to handle painful thoughts and feelings far more effectively, in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over your life. We call these skills ‘mindfulness skills’. Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, openness and focus. In a state of mindfulness, painful thoughts and feelings have far less impact on us. In a state of mindfulness, we can effectively handle even the most difficult feelings, urges, memories, thoughts and sensations. As we learn to do so, we can break self-defeating habits or destructive patterns of behaviour, let go of self-defeating beliefs; rise beyond our fears, and change our attitude in life enhancing ways.
Practice Makes Permanent
A key part of this therapy will involve you learning those mindfulness skills in the session, and then taking them home and practicing them in between sessions. The more you practice, the more benefit you’ll gain. What this means is, that in some sessions we will actually need to bring up some of those painful thoughts and feelings during the session, so you can practice using your new skills to handle them better. Because of this, at times this therapy may be very challenging. However, at all times, we will be working collaboratively; as equal team players, so you will never be coerced or forced to do anything you are unwilling to do.
The Right Therapy for You
It’s always hard to know how many sessions that will take, a good rule of thumb is, you commit to six sessions and then on session six, we’ll take stock, see how you’re going, and see if you need any more. If you find that you don’t need that many sessions, that’s fine too. Also, we have to be realistic; no one therapy works for everyone, so if this approach doesn’t seem right for you, or you’re not happy with the way it’s progressing, I can easily signpost you to colleagues who have different approaches.
For more information about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Southampton, please get in touch for a free consultation or for more details.