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Process Based Therapy

A Different Approach to Therapy

Life is always changing, whether we notice it or not.  Some changes happen slowly, like aging or the passing of seasons, while others, like job losses, a car accident, or an illness, are sudden and obvious.

 

When faced with change, especially when it is disruptive, we often experience anxiety, fear, sadness, confusion, or anger.  There is a purpose for this type of response and yet, we are all prone to doing whatever we can to get as far away from it as we can.

We try to escape through distractions or overreacting, we try to control the situation and refocus our efforts, or we just outright deny the problem exists at all.  However, these responses usually make things worse.

Instead we offer new, powerful alternatives that are available to deal with psychological events, including acceptance, cognitive defusion, mindful attention to the now, contacting a deeper "noticing" sense of self or "self-as-context", chosen values, and committed action.

3 Simple Goals of Therapy

Openness

Exposing oneself in very small amounts in order to build greater capacity to commit to taking action and creating growth

Awareness

Practicing skills that increase

our ability to accept or tolerate

our emotional reactions while staying present

Engagement

Reflecting on core aspects of what we want our lives to be about and using these values to guide our actions

Underlying Assumption

​The underlying truth which is the foundation of the therapeutic approach at AQAL Therapies, is the understanding that people are doing the best that they can, with the knowledge and skills that they have.

 

If there was any other better way that a person could have done it,

that would be the path that they would have taken. ​

 

Once a person can grasp this underlying concept, it becomes possible to see our choices for what they were and what they are, allowing us freedom from the meaning we have added to it all without losing the wisdom gained in these experiences.

This is psychological flexibility. 

Psychological Flexibility

 Openness, awareness and values-based actions help to increase psychological flexibility so that it becomes possible to transition through such a stage.

What to expect in your first session with an ACT Therapist

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a flexible and individualized approach, so the specific steps of a therapy session may vary based on the needs and goals of each couple. However, here is a general outline of the steps that might be used in an ACT-based couples counseling session:

  • Establishing a rapport: The therapist will begin by establishing a connection with both partners and creating a safe and supportive environment for them to express their concerns and feelings.

  • Identifying the issues: The therapist will ask the couple to describe the issues that they are experiencing in their relationship. The therapist will work with the couple to clarify the specific problems they want to address in therapy.

  • Values exploration: The therapist will explore the values of each partner and help them identify what is most important to them in life and in their relationship. This step is important in helping couples identify shared goals and values.

  • Mindfulness practice: The therapist may introduce mindfulness practices to help the couple become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This may involve simple mindfulness exercises such as mindful breathing or body scans.

  • Acceptance and defusion techniques: The therapist may introduce exercises that help the couple to identify and accept their difficult emotions and thoughts without being overwhelmed by them. These exercises can help couples learn to "make room" for their feelings and thoughts without letting them control their actions.

  • Committed action: The therapist will help the couple identify specific actions that they can take to support their values and goals in their relationship. This may involve setting up a plan to engage in activities that they both enjoy or working to develop new shared experiences.

  • Homework and follow-up: At the end of the session, the therapist may give the couple "homework" to practice the skills and strategies they learned in therapy. The therapist will also schedule follow-up sessions to check in on the couple's progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Throughout the session, the therapist will be attuned to the couple's emotions and may use interventions such as empathic listening, validation, and normalization to create a safe and supportive space for the couple to work through their challenges. The therapist will also be flexible and adjust the treatment plan as needed based on the couple's progress and feedback.

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