“Why would I talk about my feelings and bad memories? That only makes it worse.”
I hear this statement often from acquaintances, people considering therapy, and people beginning therapy. At face value, this argument does kind of fit… I mean, why would we face something that is so scary, immobilizing, and miserable? The sneaky factor at play here is that each time we validate these emotions as being “too much to handle” we turn a blind eye to a part of ourselves. We metaphorically lock that part of us that is feeling scared, abandoned, angry, etc. because we believe that emotion is too much for us.
What is ACT?
ACT is a mixture of cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness. The first goal here is to develop a sense of autonomy and confidence when discussing and working with emotions. Once we can develop this self-efficacy (read: belief in your ability to do something) we can get curious about these emotions and begin accepting their existence. You may have read that and thought, “Hmm… that sounds absolutely disgusting. I don’t want to go there let alone get curious or accept them.” That. Is. A. Normal. Response! This isn’t meant to be a one-session fix-all approach. This is entire uproot of the current way of thinking and reorganizing your belief system. What you may not see yet is that you are strong… you are capable… and you are going to overcome. We will take this process slow and ease into this radical concept of getting curious about and accepting tough emotions and memories.
What’s the benefit of “accepting” uncomfortable feelings and memories?
All of this future work isn’t for naught! We will use this new skill to ease your past hurts, process current hurts, and prepare for future hurts. You will become aware of your sneaky internal dialogue and determine if that voice is helpful or harmful. We will put the power back in your hands so you can decide what thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you want to use rather than letting them use you. The tools you develop will help change your perspective, your walls, your triggers, and ultimately, your life.
For more information on ACT, click here.