The ‘Hexaflex’ is the key model of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) framework. Each of the six core processes forms the structure of case formulation and guide treatment. When clients work through these key areas they learn where they are getting entangled and how to untie themselves. The focus of ACT is not just to reduce human suffering but also to promote rich, meaningful and vibrant lives.
The 6 core processes of the ACT model are:
Cognitive Defusion – The process of learning to notice the process of thought rather than getting caught up in the content. Through observing the process of thinking, thoughts that may have previously led to significant distress or unworkable behaviour weaken.
Experiential Acceptance – The process of practising non-judgmental awareness to internal and external events. Through this practice, one recognises that there are some things that are out of our control and that if we let go of the struggle with this, we can make decisions about the part we have control over – our actions.
Present Moment – The process of becoming acquainted with sensory experiences in the present moment. Through this, clients are able to develop a platform of awareness that is a crucial foundation for the exercises in ACT. It feels nice to be grounded.
Self as Context – The process of contacting the ‘observing self’, a part of you that is able to witness thoughts, feelings and actions at any moment. This part of you allows you to be mindful and in practising contact with the observing self, it is possible to be freed from previously tightly held beliefs about oneself.
Values – The process of defining what is most important to an individual in their life. Through this process of connecting to a deeper sense of what matters, it is possible to define purpose, direction and decision making for a richer and more vibrant future. Values also refer to recognising qualities of behaviour one would like to live in line with.
Committed Action – The process of taking steps towards valued goals while experiencing uncomfortable feelings and thoughts. Through this one learns how committing to the valued action, rather than the outcome, can bring greater vitality.
PSYCHOLOGICAL FLEXIBILITY is at the centre of the ACT model. It's important to understand the core processes within ACT as relating to one another and fostering psychological flexibility. The core processes should not be considered as individual processes that are ‘delivered as strategies’ but rather as supporting one another.
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