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How to Use ACT Therapy With a Generalized Anxiety Client

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How to Use ACT Therapy With a Generalized Anxiety Client

ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) is one of the most successful treatments for anxiety disorders. It incorporates mindfulness with acceptance of internal states, as well as goal orientation. While not a replacement for CBT, ACT can be useful in combatting anxiety and avoidance behaviors.

In ACT, clients practice defusing painful thoughts and feelings by teaching them how to distinguish between those that are realistic and part of the present moment, and those that are distorted or not connected in any way. This can be achieved through mindfulness skills and metaphors which help clients detach from their inner commentary (ACT terminology for “thoughts are like”; Hayes & Smith, 2005).

If you’re struggling with intense anxiety during therapy, it may seem impossible to stop thinking or worrying about the things that bother you. But this can be achieved by choosing to pay attention and observe them mindfully. Try practicing Anchor Breathing exercises or use Russ Harris’ 2008 Struggle Switch worksheet as a helpful tool.

Some therapists are reluctant to incorporate exposure methods into their sessions due to fear that clients won’t find it enjoyable. While this is understandable, it’s essential to remember that exposure exercises have great potential for transformation and growth.

Exposure techniques can be incredibly helpful when treating anxiety and should be included as part of any successful treatment plan. They are suitable for individual, group and family therapy settings and have been found particularly successful at alleviating generalized anxiety disorder.

Recognizing your thoughts as separate from who you truly are allows you to take control of them. This is an integral component of ACT therapy as it helps break the cycle of unhelpful and anxious thought patterns.

ACT also encourages clients to identify and prioritize their values, making a deliberate effort to identify what matters most in life, then taking action on those things. This involves taking stock of what matters most in one’s life.

Your ACT therapist will assist you in recognizing and embodying your core values, teaching you to incorporate them into daily life – including therapy sessions. While this can be a challenging endeavor, it is necessary for achieving long-lasting relief from anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms.

In an ACT session, your therapist will teach you mindfulness techniques that can be used at home or in daily life. These include meditation, breathing exercises and other activities designed to help keep you aware of both your environment and emotions.

ACT offers many techniques for therapy to help break down negative or distorted thoughts and replace them with more neutral or accurate ones. Cognitive defusion is one such technique.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others:
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