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How Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT) Can Help You Overcome Life’s Challenges
How often have you tried to hide how you really feel? Is there a traumatic event in your past that you try to brush over and forget? Maybe you find yourself dealing with problems in the same, unsuccessful way? These are some very common client concerns, and one of the approaches that I use to help my clients when they’re struggling with life’s challenges is through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT coaching.
What Is Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
When you experience a negative emotion, it can be instinctual to try and control how you feel by locking it away. You may look for distractions, focus on other aspects of your life or bury your head in the sand. If you do think of the negative event, it continues to feel painful, regardless of how much time passes.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) doesn’t try to help you to move on from an event. It doesn’t try to change the experience you had. Instead, it works to change your relationship with the experience, so that you can accept the situation and your response to it. Ultimately, the goal of ACT coaching is to create your desired future, centred around your values.
To do this, ACT coaching will focus on techniques such as the path model, to help clients reach their desired future while being able to appropriately manage and respond to the situation.
Who Is ACT Coaching For?
ACT-based coaching can be ideal for anyone who really struggles to deal with or process their emotions. People who deny or avoid how they’re really feeling or who find it challenging to make sense of their emotions can really benefit for this approach. It is also great for people who may find that they’re still holding on to past negative emotions. This may manifest as resentment, anger or depression.
Another way Acceptance and Commitment Therapy coaching can help is when clients resort to the same behaviours or thought patterns for every negative situation in life. For example, people who resort to alcohol to deal with stress, substance abuse to handle chronic pain or avoid making meaningful connections due to social anxiety.
If there is a behaviour that you always turn to that isn’t what you want to be and doesn’t align with your values, then ACT coaching can be incredibly useful.
Acceptance And Commitment
The way this coaching technique works is to first accept the situation and the emotions you feel at that time. Instead of resorting to your usual, and potentially negative, behaviours, you face and accept the issue for what it is.
Then, we look at making a commitment to change the behaviour into a more positive and effective approach. Instead of taking actions that keep you holding onto the same negativity, you commit to changing this behaviour so that you can reach your goals and the future you want.
The beauty of this coaching is that it can be applied at all times. Regardless of life events and unexpected situations, with this strategy, you can continue to make the changes you want to see that better suit your own beliefs, values and future that you want to create.
Using The Acceptance And Commitment Therapy Path Model
The first step on the ACT path model is to understand how you feel right now. This means facing the issue. In order to address the current situation, you can develop tools that can help you to handle the emotions that you are feeling right now.
Some of the skills that you can deploy include self-awareness. Do you notice the words you use to describe the situation? Is there a go-to response or behaviour, such as distracting yourself with work, cleaning, exercising, drugs or alcohol?
The next skill that can be incredibly useful is mindfulness. With this, you pay attention to everything you do, but you do this without judgement. For example, you may notice you are angry, or your body language is closed. You see this, but you don’t judge; you simply notice.
For difficult situations, mindful behaviour can help you to distance yourself from negative emotions. You recognise the feelings and the reactions, but you distance yourself from them.
Finally, another skill you can use is acceptance. With this, you recognise that it is counterproductive to try and stop painful emotions as suppressing these can lead to more distress. Instead, you accept and allow for negative experiences to happen. By making room for these emotions, you can allow them to come and go; rather than staying stuck in the same negative behaviours and thought patterns.
Once you have made room for the negative event, you can then decide on the actions you want to take. It is important to consider these actions carefully and decide if that can help you to move forward with your life or whether it may hold you back.
For example, are you using an action that you have used in the past? Did that help you move forward, or did it cause more problems in the long run?
Are there actions that better suit your personal values and goals and will help you to take a step closer to achieving your goals?
With every action, it can help to reflect on how it can help you. From this, you start to practice more confident and optimistic behaviours that align with your values.
The ACT path model is focused on helping you to achieve your desired future. It centres around value-based living that gives your life meaning and purpose. When you know your values, you know the direction you want to go on this path. With this, you can set goals of how to get to where you want to be.
With this attitude, most clients look to create the rich, meaningful life they deserve, but with the skills needed to manage any pain and suffering that may occur.
Keeping this goal-getting mindset, you are committing to choosing the path that gets you to where you want to be. Your goal is to stay on the track and in the right direction for the best future for yourself.
Getting To Where You Want To Be
By following this path, you begin to develop psychological flexibility where you feel that you can take control and live in the way you want, rather than being held back by your past. Instead of feeling stuck, you can see the progress you make. Instead of confusion and a lack of clarity, there is determination and a clear path to reaching your potential.
If you’re ready to get to where you want, and deserve, to be and looking to address challenges head-on, the ACT-based coaching can help. With my bespoke coaching and therapy sessions, we will explore the most effective strategies for your specific needs. This can often be a blend of coaching options such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy coaching, alongside hypnosis, meditation and NLP.
To find out more about how I can help you achieve the future you want with clarity and purpose, get in touch today. During a free exploration call, I can find out more about your situation and how I can help you to get the results you want to see. To book your free call, email firstname.lastname@example.org.