In recent years, in psychology, the application of more recent therapeutic currents in cynical practice has become particularly relevant. Thus, in traditional cognitive behavioral therapy, a big competitor has emerged, third generation contextual therapies. It includes acceptance and commitment therapy. Let’s see what it’s based on.
The Foundations of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
From the point of view of acceptance and commitment, it is understood that the origin of psychopathology lies in “psychological rigidity”. The 6 processes that are part of this rigidity would be the following:
1. Cognitive fusion
Refers to ‘ process by which verbal events (thoughts) exert strong control over our behavior. In other words, when a person behaves based on what they think, whether the consequences are negative for the person or not. This prevents us from contrasting our experience with reality.
2. Experiential avoidance
It takes place cuan the person is unwilling to keep in touch with their personal inner experiences (Thoughts, emotions or physiological sensations) and does everything possible to avoid feeling them. It is especially important to avoid negative emotions such as, for example; sadness, loneliness, fear, anxiety, guilt, etc.
3. Absent from the present moment
It refers to attentional rigidity and the predominance of the past and the future. It prevents the person from standing in the present moment, Which is associated with pain, ruminating, worrying, etc.
Refers to a way of relating to oneself according to categories, evaluations and names. In other words, the person is trying to be what he claims to be. Which encourages self-deception.
5. Lack of clarity and commitment to values
When the person is not in contact with his own values or these values are not identified, the loss of the meaning of life is lived.
6. Inactivity / impulsivity
They are behavioral patterns of avoiding excessive actions or actions in order to reduce aversive emotional states.
How to achieve psychological flexibility?
The goal of acceptance and commitment therapy is to eliminate psychological rigidity and achieve “psychological flexibility”.
In other words, that is to say pretends the person is in touch with the present moment, As a fully conscious human being without the need for defense (with reality as it is, not as it claims to be) and persevere in behavior or change it according to one’s own chosen values. This is when the person will be able to achieve psychological health, consisting of an open, focused and engaged posture.
For all this it is based on the use of the following procedures, understood as the pillars of the therapy of acceptance and commitment:
It seeks to weaken the functional predominance of cognitive content. In other words, that is to say that the person can understand thoughts, memories or beliefs as things that occur, But they do not represent absolute truths.
The goal is for the person to accept the emotional aspects involved in the human experience. It aims to open a space in which the person experiences these emotional aspects, without judging them, without entangling them mentally. It is a willingness to be open, receptive and flexible.
3. Watch out for this
Pay attention to what is happening in a targeted, voluntary and flexible way. So that it can respond adequately to natural contingencies that occur at every moment.
4. I-context and I-content
The self as context understands the self as a process and as a place from which one can notice what is present, without judging it. In other words, he understands a self, here and now.
Values are not set goals or objectives. But they represent vital directions of free choice, they are constructed, not discovered, and they are social in their focus. The clarification of these values allows the person to get involved in ongoing business models.
6. Action initiated
It is a commitment to role models. Or what is it the same, materialize in the present the values.
Psychological intervention in acceptance and commitment therapy
Malaga psychologist Ana Romero Gómez, expert in acceptance and commitment therapy in the office of psychologists Málaga PsicoAbreu, emphasizes that it is a complex and scientifically guaranteed therapy that must be carried out only by professionals specialized in this current.