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The aim of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a to create a rich, full, and meaningful life and to apply acceptance to the pain that inevitably comes with it.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an evidence-based, mindfulness-based therapeutic modality that is garnering a lot of attention lately. It is being called the “third wave” in behavioral and cognitive therapy (Hayes, 2004). One of the main therapeutic concepts of this modality is that pain and suffering are different and that pain is i...

On the wall of the Facebook Headquarters Building there is a sign that reads: “Done is Better than Perfect.” I like to think about this because I imagine that many individuals working for such a successful company have perfectionistic tendencies. I imagine the employees really having to practice this phrase, having to remind themselves of it as they walk past the sign, having to challenge their thoughts regularly.

The DBT skill of “building mastery” is also related to this idea: that accomplishin...

Rest – Often rest is the first thing to go when in seasons of overwhelm. However, this is unfortunate because what we need most in these seasons is rest. Fatigue lowers effectiveness and wisdom in decision making. Often rest results in new perspective and the renewing of important mental and emotional resources.

Trust yourself – Often you know more about what you need than you are giving yourself credit for. Get quiet and mindful and allow yourself the space to hear from yourself.

Prioritize – Dec...

DBT is a skills-based therapy that outlines many skills for dealing with and responding to difficulty.

Some examples:

Self-soothe with the 5 senses

Vision – Seek colors, images, views that are pleasing and calming. Take in nature, have pictures around, etc.

Hearing – Utilize sounds that help to relieve distress. This includes music, recorded meditations, nature sounds, etc.   

Smell – Have smells nearby that aid in relaxation. Bring awareness fully to food that is cooked, nature smells. Lig...

Validation is a powerful way of connecting with others – through acknowledgement of their thoughts and feelings. It’s is also a powerful way of connecting with yourself through acknowledgement of your own thoughts and feelings.

Like empathy, validation often requires digging into difficult emotions for the sake of communicating to self or others that these emotions are real; that they are understandable.

Why is validation important? Let me back up, our instinct is to argue against the pain we see...

Acceptance is key to many therapeutic modalities – including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT - to be explored more in August!), and 12-step therapies. Acceptance is something that many have an understandable resistance and I think it’s because it’s made to feel like giving up or giving in – often made to seem passive. It’s also something that can feel very abstract, but difficult to see as a practical skill or application. It’s important that these th...

Dialectical means two things that feel opposite can be true at the same time. For example, you can be happy and sad; you can hate treatment and know that you need it; you can experience urges and utilize healthy coping skills. Dialectical thinking is the process of moving from black-and-white thinking to cognitive flexibility. It is the process of moving from “but/or” thinking to “both/and” thinking.

DBT is an evidence-based and skills-based therapeutic modality. Coping skills serve many purposes...

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy utilizes guided forms of journaling as tools for processing the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and to assess the effectiveness of certain coping skills. 

See below - two examples of these tools: 

See previous post to learn how to identify automatic unhelpful thinking patterns:

Now that you can identify them, you can begin to challenge them. One way to challenge automatic negative thinking is to journal the thought and ask some critical questions related to workability and helpfulness. Workability is the principle of answering whether these thoughts bring you toward or away from valued living....

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you to identify unhelpful thought patterns so that they can be labelled and challenged.  

Here are some common examples:

Overgeneralization: Generalizing one experience, thought, or feeling to all experiences. Generally comes with words like “always” and “everything.”

              For example: “I always screw up.” “Everyone hates me.”  

Global labeling: Giving yourself a label as if it can describe you in entirety (or at all). Ge...

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