From the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective, psychological flexibility is the hallmark of mental health.
Through the experience (using multiple modalities) of the six core psychological flexibility processes of Acceptance, Defusion, Contact with Present Moment, Self as Context, Values and Committed Action, we foster an ability to create relationships with ourselves that no longer lead to stepping away from experience and away from life. Instead, we learn to relate to our pain and internal difficulties (i.e., anxiety, depression, etc.) in ways that encourage stepping into experience and into our lives. This is the essence of psychological flexibility and the essence of building powerful lives.
The crucible for this process is the therapeutic relationship. For learning to be optimized, a sense of secure attachment is required. We view the therapeutic relationship through the attachment lens, with an emphasis on here-and-now interpersonal processes. As old, limiting interpersonal styles show up in the present day (both in the therapeutic relationship and relationships at large), clients learn to notice their patterns, gain flexibility with them, and create new, more expansive, values-driven ways of relating to themselves and others.
We’ve created an interpersonal/social curriculum based on the six core ACT processes. Extended into the social realm, Acceptance becomes compassion for others; Defusion becomes an ability/willingness to explore a diversity of viewpoints and opinions; Self as Context becomes a recognition of the interconnected experiences that we all share; Contact with the Present Moment becomes being able to orient to the now in relation to another, encouraging the ability to relate across the perspectives of person, place, and time (which fosters connection with the Other); Values becomes shared purpose (i.e., “we” values); and Committed Action becomes social action.
Through this curriculum, clients create interpersonal patterns that reflect their most deeply held values. This is where the inter- and intra-personal realms converge to create powerful, compelling lives.