Monday, December 15, 2008

Acceptance and Committment Therapy

Anger and aggression are often experienced among individuals who've been through traumatic experiences. Many anger management techniques like Stress Inoculation Training focus on the control or management of anger and rage. Though some may find relief in these fencing and corralling techniques, some may not.

For those who find that suppressing or controlling their anger leads to a vicious cycle of greater anger and aggression, there is a new therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that might be able to help.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: to accept what is out of your personal control, while committing to do whatever is in your personal control to improve your quality of life.

ACT focuses on 3 areas:

Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
Take action

Sounds like good advice.
I'm gonna learn more about this new Cognitive Behavioral Technique.

21 comments:

princessdominique said...

Interesting! I need to share this!

Battle Weary said...

What about for trauma survivors that experience the opposite? No anger...ever. Aggression...what's that? I do think we are more rare then those that do experience anger and aggression and need help with it...but there are still lots of us. Most I know of (online) have a DID dx though...probably has a lot to do with it.

antiSWer said...

I love how mindfulness is becoming more and more accepted. I have done a bit of reading on this type of therapy...thanks for reminding me of it so I can learn more about it.

STAG said...

Its funny, we do this at the beginning of every martial arts class....we "call" it meditation, but is isn't really....we close our eyes and the Marshal tells us to let every stressor leave, and to concentrate on our heartbeats and breathing. Two minutes and everybody is now on the same page. This is "A.C.T" in a nutshell, and it works before I start driving, or walk in front of a group to give a delivery, teach a class, or anything that might be stressful. I will examine A.C.T more closely because I have already seen the results of our own methods that resemble A.C.T so closely. Since I started doing this, my formerly frequent outbursts of anger have almost vanished. Everybody around me is glad, and they have even started to allow me to read the political section of the newspaper again.

OHN said...

I would imagine that people that have anger problems would have a hard time "slowing down" enough to think through what they are doing in steps. Sort of "in the heat of the moment" type feelings. I think it is a great theory and would be curious to know how effective it is in someone that has overwhelming emotions of anger and aggression.

I know for myself when I am angry, it takes up most of my conscious thought and I don't know that I could (at that moment) turn myself around and evaluate my feelings.

Wanda's Wings said...

How does this differ from stuffing terrible things that have happen? Isn't it kind of normal to feel anger at the abuse?

The Lone Beader said...

I practice this on a daily basis!

Mezo said...

Good info, I don't really understand the full meaning of mindfullness, psychology always seemed more like philosophy than medicine..maybe that's why i like it :)

the concept of ACT is interesting both simple but not that easy..
the idea of Defusion and acceptance is useful and powerfull but it's hard no to get overwhelmed by these ideas when they come to one's mind.

like Wanda's Wings said, i think it's not easy...i dunno how to find a way to solve this, can ACT do that? how?

i know what u mean STAG, like in yoga too and in prayers in Islam.. it's all meditation

thnx Dr.Deb...in fact i added a link to your blog in my (fav links) section, i hope that's ok wit you..your blog is one of the best on psychology..great work :)

Mezo

phd in yogurtry said...

Thanks for a great link. ACT looks like it could be a very useful therapy tool:

"to accept what is out of your personal control, while committing to do whatever is in your personal control to improve your quality of life"

Casdok said...

It does look very interesting.

jumpinginpuddles said...

we ahvent even reached the anger biut in therapy yet heaven help us and our therapist when we do, but in saying that all teh tools toward help and healing we accept so thanks for this one

Carrie said...

Great post! Thank you.

Tiptoe said...

I heard a podcast awhile back about ACT. I believe it was from Wise Counsel with Steven Hayes. It is interesting and could be a useful tool for some clients.

Gaining Back My Life said...

"The Anorexia Workbook" emphasizes this tremendously. I was quite surprised to read this post.

Ian Lidster said...

In a way it's a variation on the serenity prayer: grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

ellesu said...

Boy oh boy have I been practicing ACT for the last few months. So much has been out of my control -- how my living space was organized, who was in my living space, when to get up, when repairs would be done, yada yada yada...

It's been hard for me. I think what helped me get through was to have no expectations. I don't know if that was healthy or not, but it seemed to help. I was grateful for whatever was done, no matter when it was done.

Anonymous said...

I like the A C T. Short and to the point.

Jade said...

Very interesting. When you find more info on this Deb please do share :-) Have a great weekend!

Dr. Deb said...

Mindfulness is a good term, I think. And this approach can lead to success for many. As a psychologist, I don't plant my flag in just one school of thought. If there are treatments and techniques that can offer aid for people, I want to learn about it.

Great comments from you all. I'll be round to visit!

Erin Merryn said...

I learned to let go of my anger by realizing if I held onto it, it was like letting my abusers steal another moment of my life so instead I let go of the anger and began praying for them. Empathy now fills my heart.

Sid said...

I started doing ACT with my newest therapist many months ago, but it's taking forever to get anywhere with it...I think in about 10 months we've only gotten thru four chapters in the workbook and those are just the introductory chapters. I'm still on the fence about whether it will be of any benefit. There is a part of me that thinks it's just a bunch of new age BS but there is still a part of me that hasn't completely shut out the idea that I might learn something.

As I head into the chapters where skills are explained and taught, that's when I'll be able to judge its potential usefulness.

Right now, my biggest focus is on trying to stay alive.