Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

22 Jul

A few days ago I went over to the Seattle area (about 3 hrs each way) to confer with my mentor, Michael Baugh. He was my first supervisor and that was at New Perspectives Center for Counseling in San Francisco where he was clinical director. He has been an important teacher and group leader of DBT, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy. This is a very interesting psychotherapeutic approach that seeks to hold the opposites, seemingly incompatible views. “You’re beautiful and perfect just as you are. And, you really can’t go on this way. Something’s gotta change.”

Next week he is giving a presentation at a conference in D.C., an ACBS conference. That’s the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. I love these names. They are like word puzzles. “What could that possibly mean?” Anyway, he called me to ask if he could use me as a practice audience for his presentation. Yes! What a great way to really get the direct transmission about what ever it is.

The subject for the day was ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. “The lynchpin for ACT is the Self as context.” In that short statement a whole universe, THE universe, hides. The point is for us to keep referring back to the witness consciousness, that which observes changes but is never changed. The Self that holds all experience, the Self that is the context for everything we can know. That’s a pretty big frame. And, I agree with this approach; when we shift to that frame we are in the greatest possible place for spontaneous healing. Of course, very few of us can hold that perspective for long. That is the work of mindfulness practice, to just observe what arises without pushing, pulling, or judging. The observer, big mind, does none of these. Big mind accepts it all. Then we can more easily align with our core values and undertake to live with integrity. Image

Since that day I’ve been drifting in a happy bemused cloud of possibilities, a vague smile in my heart, and not at all sure how to use these ideas. You see, I’m a new transplant to this area and I have very few clients. Yes, there is the meditation groups I have going but I’m teaching a different approach there, basic mindfulness. An important tool but still a tool. The ACT approach, the nondual teaching of Adyashanti and Ramana Maharshi does not seem to be a tool in the way I think of therapeutic approaches. It goes right past tools and workshops altogether. And, if we can make that shift, we are left smiling with very little to say.
I think so much of our problems stem from the compulsive use of language and thinking. The most beautiful and meaningful elements of life are nonverbal. Can we hold our experience without the commentary?

I’m working on it.



2 Responses to “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”

  1. Jason Parkinson November 22, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    This is very interesting to me and resinates with me. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Many blessings to you, Jason Parkinson

  2. ram eisenberg September 4, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: