View Full Version : ACT Therapy and ADD/Anxiety/Depression

06-29-14, 01:48 PM
I have been into ACT therapy for sometime now and as I re-read the book that first got me into it, I felt that this particular chapter was very relevent and could help a lot of people out.

Some background first. ACT therapy was 1st started in the 1980's in America as a way to help those awful thoughts and feelings we all know and experience. It borrowed some techniques from positive psychology and also embraced the art of mindfulness. Western way of thinking has taught us to push away these negative emotions and only focus on the positive emotions. We have all probably read the self help books that preach we can control our thoughts and emotions but how long does that last? This new way of thinking challenged that view and instead, took those negative emotions and allowed them to flow through us but also took them head on. The thought here was, that if we acknowledged these emotions and made room for them, eventually they would still appear but, at a far less rate and the effect of them would be decreased dramatically.

They put this theory to the test and to their surprise, the results they received were even better. Even after only one session, patients saw big decreases in symptoms related to anxiety/depression etc...

You can read more about ACT here: {}
I also HIGHLY recommend the book "The Happiness Trap".

I will focus on something near and dear to all of us and that is rumination of our thoughts. We all start out with an initial thought then is spirals out of control into an end result that probably won't happen. I do it constantly.

If we think we will fail we start thinking about how it will happen, we get images of it and bring up some pretty painful emotions. If you take a closer look, here is how we should look at that situation.

Thoughts= Words inside our head.
Images= Pictures inside our head.
Sensations= Feelings inside our bodies.

We encounter our sometimes out of control situations because we have a notion that all three of those are all one thing. They call that "fusion".

We have to see that thoughts are simply words unless we actually experience those events.

Here is a simple technique to help defuse some thoughts. For example, let's take the thought "I am a failure". We may think this on the job or if we don't get the results we foolishly set for ourselves.

We go from:

"I am a failure" then go to "I am having the thought that I am a failure" to "I notice that I am having the thought I am a failure"

This simple technique helps use separate/defuse us from the very harsh and blunt initial thought. Eventually you will become mindful of your thoughts and defuse many of them. The point is not to determine if the thought is fact or if it's false, it is to determine if the thought is helpful to you.

I really hope this is helpful to some people and I will be sure to write some follow up posts to expand beyond just defusing the thoughts

07-03-14, 10:09 PM
I'm a big fan of ACT and have done several of Russ' courses. I reckon it's a really good MAP to ADHD and lower levels of CBT can set up ADHDers to feel like they're failing yet another thing.

The MF component is pretty key - learning to accept and calm turbulent emotions amongst other things.

07-03-14, 10:59 PM
I like the sound of that!
Thanks for sharing...

07-04-14, 09:29 AM
huge fan of ACT here too

i agree with ruby on the cbt adhd thing

I've read most of the act books out there

my favorite

just the introduction is eye opening

07-04-14, 11:34 AM
These terms are new to me, but the feelings are not.

Fusion sucks.

(I'm so happy to have some terms to put to the feeling(s))

I have been sort of considering these topics.

Bringing unconscious (upper limbic) topics to consciousness (neocortical).

Bringing the topic(s) to consciousness, without the need/expectation to solve, the topic(s).

Then defusion occurs automatically/naturally, without effort over time, as if was a dream

Defusion rocks.

These therapy examples make things even easier organize and understand, thanks for introducing these terms.

There are some "pre awareness" lower subcortical topics , that I am interested in, that I would like to consider and discuss with others, with this therapy in mind.


07-04-14, 12:27 PM
"I am a failure"

"I am having the thought that I am a failure"

"I notice that I am having the thought I am a failure"

I have feelings

I am having the thought that I have feelings

I notice that I am having the thought I have feelings


07-04-14, 09:52 PM
I am feeling a craving

I am having the thought that I am feeling a craving

I notice that I am having the thought I am feeling a craving