The normal wave pattern of emotions get interrupted and extended by three maladaptive coping strategies. The first is emotion avoidance. It’s important to realize how the attempt to control and avoid emotions paradoxically maintains, even intensifies, emotional distress.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) maximizes the change mechanisms of groups. When done well, ACT magnifies therapeutic change mechanisms inherent in group therapy. Developed as the clinical response to an increased understanding of the origins of human suffering, the model articulates the processes that can keep humans stuck, and how those same processes can be used to alleviate suffering. This directly translates to the therapy room.
Relational frame theory (RFT) posits that human actions never take place in a vacuum. There is always something preceding and something following each action. It is among these contextual factors—those that precede and those that follow—that the behavioral analyst looks for answers to questions about what governs behavior.
The main questions for behavior analysis are which factors, in a given historical situation, influence what someone does, and how these factors can be changed in order to affect behavior. The relationship between a specific act and the context in which it occurs is the point of interest.
Acceptance and commitment therapy is based on Relational Frame Theory (RFT). The basic premise of RFT is that human behavior is governed largely through networks of mutual relations called relational frames. These relations form the core of human language and cognition, and allow us to learn without requiring direct experience. For example, a cat won’t touch a hot stove twice, but it needs to touch it at least once to get the hint.
Pre-conference has just completed at ACBS WorldCon in Seville, Spain. For the last two days, the leading thinkers in contextual behavioral science have led experiential workshops on the compassionate mind, functional analytic psychotherapy, process-based therapy, language in psychotherapy, and much more.
How do we motivate young people to grow and develop? We know that criticizing them usually isn’t motivating, but what about encouraging them to believe they have talent? Youth psychologist, Louise Hayes, PhD, explains research findings that caution against the praise of talent and offers other forms of effective encouragement.
The key idea in using compassion focused therapy (CFT) is to train our minds to focus on compassion and to activate compassionate ways of responding in order to better regulate our feelings. By doing so, we stimulate specific biological systems in our brains designed to calm down the threat-detection system.
What nagged at me most was that discussions of evidence-based practice usually positioned science as the royal road to discovering the world as it really is. I wasn’t sure how this fit with the social work value of respecting multiple ways of knowing, especially cultural and spiritual ways. Things changed when I saw Steven C. Hayes give a talk on acceptance and commitment therapy.