Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum

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post #21 of 79 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 05:05 AM
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ACT is helpful for me, too. The books you mentioned, Happiness Trap and Get out of your mind..., are full of exercises and little experiments that you can do on your thoughts, feelings, body sensations. In the Hayes book, there are dozens of methods on how to "defuse" from our thoughts, so in that way, it is a kind of step-by-step book. (he calls fusion as the process that we mistakenly become fused with our thoughts--like our thoughts become so important and believable to us--and defusion is the reversing of that process, a way to become detached from thoughts)
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post #22 of 79 (permalink) Old 09-14-2011, 02:45 AM
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Just reading book "The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy". This book includes CD with worksheets, self-assessments, and guided mindfulness meditations. For me, it's much easier to read than "Get out of your mind..." (English is not my first language). I am 43 years old and I tried everything with "fight" against SA. I hope this therapy will help me to change my life. I am sick of struggle...
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post #23 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:00 AM
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ACT is the type of therapy I do...have...therap? (I'm not really sure of the correct verb here) It's helped more than anything else has, and fits well with my mind set.
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post #24 of 79 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 03:14 PM
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Just reading book "The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy". This book includes CD with worksheets, self-assessments, and guided mindfulness meditations. For me, it's much easier to read than "Get out of your mind..." (English is not my first language). I am 43 years old and I tried everything with "fight" against SA. I hope this therapy will help me to change my life. I am sick of struggle...
I also picked up this book while I was looking for a CBT workbook. When I saw the words "Mindfulness" and "Acceptance", it immediately resonated with me. I read the intro and it seems very promising as a permanent solution to social anxiety getting in the way of your life. I've also done CBT group therapy for SA, but can still see how my thoughts hinder me in social situations. I'm skeptical if this type of therapy will really help me, as I'm afraid to see it as a last resort when nothing else has worked. ACT also seems to focus on a life path despite living with anxiety- but if I find my life to be meaningless, what would be the point of this therapy then? I wonder if there is a piece of the puzzle missing before I go about incorporating this new practice into my life.
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post #25 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 01:57 PM
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Interesting. I've heard about that and I think maybe trying it would really help.
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post #26 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 03:40 PM
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I also picked up this book while I was looking for a CBT workbook. When I saw the words "Mindfulness" and "Acceptance", it immediately resonated with me. I read the intro and it seems very promising as a permanent solution to social anxiety getting in the way of your life. I've also done CBT group therapy for SA, but can still see how my thoughts hinder me in social situations. I'm skeptical if this type of therapy will really help me, as I'm afraid to see it as a last resort when nothing else has worked. ACT also seems to focus on a life path despite living with anxiety- but if I find my life to be meaningless, what would be the point of this therapy then? I wonder if there is a piece of the puzzle missing before I go about incorporating this new practice into my life.
the grog says the smart person goes ahead and experiences it for themselves and ask questions later
learn from experience, you can ask all the questions you want now but they would be from a limited point of view, go ahead and gain experience with it and be more informed
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post #27 of 79 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 03:34 PM
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I've been doing ACT for a couple of months now, and I'm not quite all the way through "Get Out of Your Mind...". In theory, it makes a lot of sense to me. I think it's going to take a little time and a lot of effort to see major results, but I'm already having some small victories.

I've tried CBT, but it's not been for me. It's possible I've never had a decent CBT therapist. Three times that I can remember, I've started with therapists who have promised CBT, and after several months, I realize we've been doing nothing but talking. I had one guy who was a serious CBT dude. He was such a dick, we never got beyond, "Go home and exercise." (Here's a clue, Sparky: If I could just go do it, I wouldn't need therapy)

ACT is more about taking myself out of my comfort zone, which is obviously something a person with major league avoidance issues does not do well. But the approach in the book REALLY helps me to begin doing just that.

So that's a little about my experience. I wish I could do a better job of defining it, but I think you can find a lot of good info online.

Here's the book I'm using: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

I would highly recommend going through it with an ACT therapist. Reading it on your own is not going to be as beneficial, IMO.
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post #28 of 79 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 03:39 PM
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I'd just like to add... although I guess I could have edited my last post...

In order for ACT to be effective, you really have to want it, and you have to commit to it hardcore. It's going to put you in uncomfortable places, and you need to be willing to feel uncomfortable. It's an all-or-nothing approach, as far as pure willingness goes.
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post #29 of 79 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 09:35 PM
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I started the workbook a few months ago, but I got stuck somewhere in the middle... I guess I'm having trouble commiting or finding a reason to continue. I have no notion of awareness and separating my thoughts from myself.

"Itís not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with the restart." -M&S
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post #30 of 79 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 10:20 PM
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I know that your 20s are supposed to be the time to figure your life out. But by the time you turn 30 you are supposed to have everything sorted out. Because turning 30 is the universal definition of adulthood.

But what's going to change in such a short amount of time? I will be completely honest. Browsing this site can be very depressing at times. But wow, reading the 30+ members forum is like a window to the future. That place is like ten times more emotionally crippling than the frustration forum. On most days I try to be very optimistic but some days I will have it bad. Then I will read a thread that confirms my deepest fears and I can't stop thinking about the worst outcomes.
Not sure quite what I think, the link was too scientifical for me. at this momnet in time... I will talk to my therapist about it and see what he thinks i value his opinion.... thanks for the insight.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is related to a transcendental philosophy and incorporates many of the same methods as CBT. ACT differs from CBT not in the way it is administered, but in how patients are instructed to think about their anxiety. While CBT focuses on changing emotional responses and feelings, ACT focuses on accepting them and moving forward from that point.

There is little scientific research as to the benefits of ACT, however, many patients report that is has helped them discover more about their disorder and how to manage it by discovering more about themselves and their emotional wellness as a whole.

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accepta...itment_Therapy
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post #31 of 79 (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 10:02 PM
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My problem is that I always know my negative thoughts are just thoughts, though often it is still difficult to separate myself from them, to see the thoughts are truly powerless no matter how terrible they make me feel. And I think that is why, because of how they make me feel and how real they seem. I'm a very visual thinker and that is a large part of why the negative thoughts are so painful to me. I think things like ACT are much easier when dealing with simple narrative voices and statement thoughts instead. Either way though it's so difficult because I don't feel like I have a strong foundation to hold onto and ground myself to, to really know who I am in ways that are unchanging. So instead I don't really know who I am beyond the changing feelings. Which gives the thoughts and feelings a lot more power to seem like they are all I have, they are my entire experiences. My mind is just always paying attention to how I feel each moment and wants to feel good always. So when I think or feel aversive things, even if I know intellectually that they are just thoughts and feelings, and therefore are not permanent, my mind is so intolerant to experience the pains, cause it's so attached to feeling good. Feeling negative emotions activates my fight or flight and scares me so much! They always have the illusion they'll torment forever or if you allow them and don't escape from the situation, thus allowing them to last longer, that they'll do far more psychological damage, which activates even more anxiety for me about them. My anxiety is mostly over having the feelings and thoughts themselves.

So that's the problem I have with these types of therapies. I could tell my mind all I want that the thoughts are not real and are just thoughts. Though it's not much consolation that they are just some thoughts if they hurt so much. Though I know fearing and pushing away thoughts only makes them stronger, I just can't get myself to accept the pain.

If I could really have faith that the pain wouldn't last or they wouldn't still keep coming with such frequency to exhaust me, then it'd be easier to not avoid.
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post #32 of 79 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 01:48 AM
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Finding yourself is the key with ACT - you need to work out your core values so that you can disarm those annoying negative narratives going through your head and say "%$#@ off -that's not who I am!" I found that the trick with the pain was just to let it go, although that is easier said than done.

Individual happiness now! - Len Lye
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post #33 of 79 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 05:14 AM
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I think I'll take a look at it and give ACT another chance. Though I don't know how to find myself or what it even really means anymore, and at this point I don't know if I ever will find myself again. If I ever knew myself before, I don't know, I just went with how I felt and got into different phases. I've been lost for way too long, and too many core things I used to have have been suppressed or lost.

I always have a real problem with all of the subjective and vague abstract things they say. I mean how do you find yourself or even define what you are? I don't believe much in being separate from the mind, it clearly controls us and gives us feelings that make us what the things we want, and those are all changeable and manipulatable cause it's all biological, chemicals, all that stuff. And when they say things like "let pain go", I would if I had the power to do that of course! Though that's not even an action, so how are abstract statements like that even actionable? Just more spiritual abstract subjective imagery that has no actual actionable translation! Are you supposed to imagine the pain as some type of physical light and then imagine it leaving your body or something? I don't think that the pain is there because we are letting it be there anymore than we let the pain of some physical injury be there instead of letting it go. They are both automatic responses in the mind and body to stimulus and emotional and physical pain use the same pain receptors just in different ways. So next time my therapist tells me to just let my pain go, I'm going to kick them in the shins and then tell them the same thing!
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post #34 of 79 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 02:03 PM
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Establishing your core values and who you are will probably involve a mix of the “old” you before all the problems took over, and some new values. Medication is a personal choice, but have a look at the relevant section of SAS first so you are prepared should you choose that course.

I achieved distance from all the negative babble by doing things with my hands. I found that gardening and making things cleared my head. Some people meditate. Others work out etc. I eventually let the pain go because I realised it was hurting me more to keep it than to dump it – it was like I was nursing it. I don’t have any simple explanation about how that works though. For me it was a realisation that I just didn’t need that %$#@ any more.

There are automatic responses to emotional and physical pain, but they can be controlled to an extent, or just left to flow their course; like when you stub your toe, it hurts like hell, but you know the pain will pass. Unfortunately, some people do it better than others. You sound like you are working things out though, even if you are currently thinking otherwise.

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post #35 of 79 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 08:10 PM
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I know my values. The problem is that my values clash so much with the world I have to live in and the people I have to be exposed to. So I'm constantly out of my mind bothered by things everyday.

The pain of stubbing your toe may be temporary. Though if your toe gets stubbed like 10x per day, the temporary factor doesn't apply much, cause you know it's coming back again very soon and is a constant pain to deal with. Even if you get more used to the pain, it never stops it.
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post #36 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 03:37 PM
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I had'nt heard of act before though it sounds like what I am saying to myself when negative thoughts and feelings arise. I looked at those negative thoughts as though they were museum pieces to be looked at and observed. I "walked" around them in my mind. I have come up with a couple of words that I use to identify them. Shame and ego. When I feel that I am being looked at and it makes me uncomfortable, I recognize that this relates in some way, to a way I would feel in childhood. (sorry I cant explain that better as I havent figured it all out) but when that feeling arises I say the word "shame" in my mind and let go of the feeling. It's wierd that it works. When I start thinking things that are clearly my ego talking I say the word "ego" in my mind and let it go. I figured out that these bits of ego were my protection mechanism when I felt attacked. But they arent my friend. They keep me from seeing things as they really are. Like when your head is ducking for cover behind the parapet it is impossible to see what is in front of you. Thank you for your bravery in sharing what your going through, it helps me to be brave.
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post #37 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 04:00 PM
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. I am 43 years old and I tried everything with "fight" against SA. I hope this therapy will help me to change my life. I am sick of struggle...[/QUOTE]

darling I am 47 and I have only Just "got it" Hang in there. The fact you are here talking and reading means you can to.
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post #38 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 07:58 AM
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My psychologist introduced me to this, never heard of it before then, it's better than CBT I think
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post #39 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 12:55 PM
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THis sounds great...

I am going to completely work on making myself happy.

ďFear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you donít commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back.Ē
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post #40 of 79 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 12:10 PM
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I have been considering getting some CBT therapy but I'm slightly offput by the whole 'reprogramming' approach.

Admittedly I don't understand fully how CBT works, but it sounds to me like the idea is to replace all your negative thoughts with positive ones. I feel like I wont be able to adopt a positive thought unless I evidence that the thought is based on fact. I cannot believe a positive message just because it's positive and good for me to believe in, it has to be grounded in reality. Otherwise it's just a form of brainwashing.

Anyone else have a similar problem with CBT? Or am I misunderstanding how CBT works? ACT sounds like it circumvents this problem, can anyone recommend a good ACT book?
Yeah, I know exactly how you feel. My OCD contributes to this as well, i.e., I obsess about things I tell myself (in relation to changing my cognition) being true. Like I've wanted to try acceptance before. I try to tell myself, "The anxiety isn't so bad", in order to not be afraid of it, but basically that's lying to myself. It IS bad. I guess, though, that if lying to yourself helps your anxiety, it's probably worth it.
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