Acceptance and Commitment (AC) Coaching identifies six core processes for developing greater psychological flexibility and getting unstuck: (1) defining valued directions, (2) acceptance training, (3) commitment (taking action), (4) being present (developing mindfulness), (5) cognitive defusion, and (6) self-as-context.
In this article I will briefly discuss all of them. I will cover each process in greater detail in future articles.
Defining Valued Directions:
Values are the motivational link for commitment to action. People commit to acting on their goals because they value what they need to do and where they need to go more than they value being stuck in the rut. There are four steps to defining valued directions: (1) exploring values, (2) choosing and ranking values, (3) publicly affirming values, and (4) acting on values. I will go into detail explaining each of those steps in my next article.
Acceptance training revolves around helping people accept the things they can’t control and coexist with the pain and suffering that accompanies taking action. Acceptance training reinforces commitment training, because it prepares people to continue moving toward their goals despite the conflicts and roadblocks that make it difficult to do so.
Commitment (taking action):
Taking action starts with setting clear goals. For goal setting to be meaningful it must reflect people’s values. Clear values-based goals and measurable objectives reduce ambiguity and provide structure and a framework for taking action. Taking action is easier if it is based on clear goals and measurable objectives. Commitment is the action component of acceptance.
Mindfulness can be characterized as moment-by-moment awareness. Mindfulness can be developed through informal and formal training. Informal mindfulness training revolves around developing attention-building skills. Informal training involves using short activities to help people become more aware of internal (thoughts, scripts, etc.) and external environment) stimuli. Formal mindfulness training involves learning and practicing mindful meditation.
Cognitive defusion revolves around learning how to defuse from unhelpful aspects of the conceptualized self. Defusion activities help people learn how to separate themselves from their unhelpful thinking that creates stress.
ACT theory proposes an alternative view to the conceptualized-self perspective. A self-as context view, also known as the observer-self view, allows people to step back and appraise their thoughts, personal scripts, mental images, and emotions in a more objective way. Observer-self training allows people to examine internal stimuli in terms of its helpfulness in meeting goals that are consistent with personal values.
This core processes can be used individually or in combination to help you develop greater psychological flexibility, get unstuck, and live a life full of passion and purpose. In the coming six articles I’ll show you how to apply these processes to the things that are causing you to be stuck in a rut.