Date: 26th January 2022 | By: Dr Lourdes Gaspar
This article provides some very helpful exercises on how to apply the Acceptance and Commitment therapy approach to a better deal with a struggle you may be facing in your life. Obviously, we are dealing with chronic pain in our program
Firstly, it raises the question how we interpret the meaning of Acceptance. It references one of the co-founders of acceptance and commitment therapy, uses the acronym TEAMS to describe them:
T – Thoughts
E – Emotions
A – Action Urges
M – Memories
S – Sensations
It goes onto say “You don’t have to like your mother-in-law, your body, or a different political viewpoint, but you can work towards accepting the feelings, thoughts, and memories that show up in their presence. If the word “acceptance” makes you cringe, try on some other words like:
-Making space for
-Getting curious about
-Being brave with
In my view all of the above ways of viewing Acceptance are useful. “Allowing” is obvious but “making space for” and “getting curious about” pave the way to a different approach to managing a struggle without reliance for instance if you are living with chronic pain, on medication or injection treatments.
“Being brave with” is an interesting concept as in my opinion it takes a great deal of courage to live with being in chronic pain- a theme we explore in our program. I don’t think many people including most doctors realise this in relation to living with chronic pain.
The article explores what it means to “let go of control” of a struggle and again we spend time in the early stage of our program as to what this means and how to develop thoughts around this concept. It is the absolute contradictory paradigm of how we have evolved as the human species- fundamentally pain represents danger and we are designed to get away from it and yet ACT is suggesting in a way we “embrace it” or at least “make room for it”.
The article neatly summarises what it could lead to saying, “Letting go of control gives you the freedom to stay longer with what is.”
Finally the article it provides some practical suggestions, exercises and some imagery you could try when you learn “How to Accept With Your Mind, Body, and Behaviour”. There are some very useful tips during your mindfulness session.
It is well worth reading and working with these suggestion as you engage with ACT or you one of our participants working through modules.