The model I have found most useful in my work as a therapist has been Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is one of what some call the “Third Wave” of therapies (following the first two waves of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy). It is based on the premise that due to the inherent nature of language, we are unable to avoid, change or erase troubling thoughts and feelings. Rather, our goal is to lean into and accept these difficult thoughts and feelings in ways that do not restrict our ability to move forward and create a meaningful life.
This short TIME article points out several studies that illuminate the futility of just trying to think good thoughts, or avoid that which troubles us…
“We each have a self — but I don’t think we are born with one.” This is an eloquent and powerful 14-minute talk on the struggle with self-identity by movie actor Thandie Newtown, daughter of a white man from England and a black woman from Zimbabwe. But it is not just about racial identity. It is about the relationship between who we are, our essence, and the “selves” we have constructed, which she says are “projections our clever brains create”. “When the self is suspended” as when she is fully engaged in dancing or acting, she says, “so is divisiveness, and judgement.”
I honestly believe, that the key to my success as an actor, and my very progress as a person, has been the very lack of self that used to make me feel so anxious and insecure. I always wondered why I could feel others’ pain so deeply, why I could recognize the somebody in the nobody.It’s because I didn’t have a “self” to get in the way. The thing that was a source of shame, was actually a source of enlightenment.
This was designed for college students, but it is appropriate for anyone. A concise and manageable combination of audio and text-based lessons in 6 modules. It includes guided mindfulness exercises. Created by RMIT University.
A nice overview of what therapy should be about — moving towards what is important to us, bringing our “issues” and undermining thoughts and feelings with us (as opposed to trying to control them). Russ Harris wrote The Happiness Trap and The Confidence Gap.