Posts tagged ‘Therapist’

How to Understand Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ll By Brenda Bomgardner

What’s It All About? – How to Understand Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

By Brenda Bomgardner

 

If you’re like many people, you may have an inner voice telling you things like you’re worthless or that no one wants you. Every day, an exhausting battle may rage inside of you.

Sometimes you try to push back against all those negative thoughts, but they come crashing through anyways.

In fact, trying to counter your negative self-talk only seems to make things worse. Spiraling down quickly, it often feels like there’s no relief in sight.

Now, imagine that there’s a way to counter the effects of negative thinking without pushing back or repressing your thoughts.

That’s what acceptance and commitment therapy is all about.

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Unlike other coping skills—where you try to avoid negative thoughts or drown them out—acceptance and commitment therapy involves shifting your thinking to more productive outcomes.

This is accomplished by:

• Becoming more aware of your actions
• Recognizing what you consider to be your own values
• Making a commitment to act

The idea behind acceptance and commitment therapy is to face those negative thoughts in a more productive way.

It can be very difficult to drown out or counter negative thoughts, especially if they have been deeply ingrained into your thinking. However, acceptance and commitment therapy empowers you to choose what to do about thoughts.

Decide on Acceptance and Take Action

When you practice acceptance and commitment therapy, you utilize a process to make decisions independent of your negative thoughts.

For example, let’s say that you struggle with feelings of low self-worth based on negative experiences in childhood. When you think “I am worthless” you suddenly now have a choice. You can decide whether to take action right now to address this negative thought and might enter into a battle with the thoughts. You might try to counter the negative thought with a positive thought. You can spend a lot of time and energy in the battle and feel like you’re spinning your wheels and the thought keeps coming back. Here’s the deal. You can battle with your thought or you can act on creating behaviors that infuse your life with meaningfulness and fulfillment. You can act independent of your thoughts and/or feelings. You can accept a thought or feeling as a process your mind does based on your learning history and work towards making behavior changes.

Make a Commitment

Another important part of this process is making a commitment not to push back against those emotions, thoughts, or feelings.

Often, what causes people emotional distress is their attempt to push back or fight thoughts or feelings they find distressful. However, this frequently only causes them even more unnecessary pain and suffering.

When you commit to stop pushing back, and begin to be willing to accept your feelings you can begin to approach these issues from a new perspective and make changes based on what you truly value.

Why Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Helpful?

Perhaps the biggest reason why acceptance and commitment therapy is helpful is that you are no longer trying to avoid painful thoughts or feelings.

If you have thoughts about your low self-worth, you may be tempted to “numb” those thoughts through drug or alcohol use. On the other hand, you may try to bottle those thoughts and feelings up inside. Any attempt to release them causes you loads of emotional pain.

Let’s face it, this may temporarily work for you. But avoidance doesn’t really solve the larger problem. You still carry uncomfortable and unwanted emotions around you, and eventually, it will come out one way or another. Acknowledging to yourself that you have and experience painful feelings and thoughts transform them.

How to Practice Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

To practice this technique, it’s helpful to work with a therapist who understands acceptance and commitment therapy.

While it may be hard to discuss painful memories and difficult emotions with anyone, a therapist will be able to support you through the process. They can also help you find alternatives for viewing these thoughts and emotions so that they need not be compounded by the fight against pain causing distress for you.

If negative thinking is an issue and fighting those thoughts is causing you problems, consider acceptance and commitment therapy. You’ll likely find that by finding acceptance and committing to changing your thinking based on your own personal values, you will find relief and peace of mind.


 

About the Author: Brenda Bomgardner is in her encore career. One of her greatest joys in her career is seeing people move beyond life’s roadblocks toward a fulfilling and meaningful life. She believes each person has a purpose in life waiting to be realized that evolves over a lifetime. And the path to reaching your life’s purpose is as unique as each individual. We all have dreams. Step by step she will walk with you on uncovering how to bring your dreams to fruition.  Brenda is a counselor, coach and clinical supervisor and specializes in practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is a cutting edge evidenced-based processes. This means there is scientific research proven to show ACT works. Before becoming a therapist, she completed a successful 17 year career in Human Resources at a Fortune 500 company. On a personal note she loves the great outdoors, ATV riding, adventure travel and family.

To learn more about Brenda visit her About Me page, https://brendabomgardner.com/brenda-bomgardner/

How to Get the Most Out of Counseling – Gideon Killion

It may surprise you to hear this, but the most important factor in making counseling successful is you — the client. That’s not to say picking a good counselor isn’t important, but what you bring to the session matters more. So, what can you do to make your counseling experience as helpful as possible?

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1. Be honest with your counselor and yourself.

As much as we might hope, not talking about something won’t keep it from being true, or from having an impact on us. It is usually better to be honest about something we don’t like about ourselves — even if we choose to accept it rather than change it — than to pretend it doesn’t exist. Here’s an example. I spent months working with a client named Mike, but after every session I scratched my head, wondering why he wasn’t making any progress. That is, until he revealed a secret that made change impossible. Only when we understood the role this secret was playing did change become possible.

2. Be responsible for your progress.

Counselors and therapists can’t “fix” us or give us “the answer.”  They can help us gain insight, process, heal, and grow, but we have to do the work. And it is work — often hard work — to make lasting change.

3. Be willing to change.

This may seem obvious, but some clients come to counseling to figure out how to get someone else to change, such as a spouse, a boyfriend, or a child. And sometimes we do need to ask people in our lives to change their behaviors, or to seek change in our life circumstances. But, ultimately, any significant change we wish to make in life begins with change in ourselves, since that is all we can control.

4. Do it for yourself.

Many people come to counseling because someone else has insisted. Sometimes it’s a spouse. Sometimes it’s a judge. But it’s usually a waste of time until we find our own reason to be there. One of my first clients, Alan, only showed up for couple counseling because his fiancée dragged him. He made sure to participate, but only enough to keep her off of his back. Not surprisingly, we made little progress. I don’t blame him for being uncomfortable or not wanting to be there, but if he was going to come — if he was going to spend his money and time — he could have used the opportunity to make his relationship more satisfying and meaningful.

5. Anticipate the change you desire.

Make it real with your imagination. Doing so will make it seem more possible, more tangible, and thus easier to achieve. Sometimes we fail because instead of dwelling on what we want to achieve, we imagine reasons why we can’t do it. Now, I am not suggesting that we should not anticipate the challenges we will face along the way and create plans to overcome them. But, all too often, we talk ourselves out of success.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you in your counseling journey.

Remember that you are the most important factor in creating the change you desire.

*All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

 

About the Author: Gideon Killion is an intern counselor in the People House Affordable Counseling Program. He also has a private counseling practice at www.lifecraftcounseling.net.

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth