Follow your values

It’s difficult to live the life you want to live when your thoughts tell you to go in another direction. Be brave and let your values guide you. You don’t have to follow your mind.

It’s easy to risk her life, and even easier to get herself killed. What takes real courage is choosing to live, choosing to save herself at all costs. Which means looking into her darkness and pain, and figuring out how she got there, and how she can get out.

Kira Salak. The White Mary: a novel.

© Jim Dempsey 2015

© Jim Dempsey 2015

If we remember that the point of the therapy is to help clients get unstuck (in other words, to have psychological flexibility), then it follows that a client who learns she can make value-based behavioral choices despite the presence or potential appearance of aversive private events—who, in short, can choose to live life in the way she wants to be living—has received what ACT has to offer. Such a person may not fully grasp why she is not her thoughts so much as that her thoughts (and feelings and bodily sensations) are not in charge. She may have come to learn that she can hold uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without needing to avoid or control them. These discoveries in turn free her up to make choices based on something besides the thoughts or feelings of the moment (or the past or perceived future). All good.

Darrah Westrup. Advanced Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Experienced Practitioner’s Guide to Optimizing Delivery.

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