Sunday, October 10, 2010

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): A Mindfulness-Based Therapy that Just MIGHT End my Panic Attacks

I have just completed my second appointment (and experience) with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. ACT is a mindfulness-based therapy that, according to my therapist, has proven to be extremely effective at treating panic disorders and depression. In particular, ACT has shown to prevent relapse of these disorders.

What do I think of ACT so far?

I am intrigued by the process. ACT teaches you to separate your thoughts from your person. We are not our thoughts and our thoughts get us into a lot of trouble. I have long studied the Eastern practice of mindfulness, but have not been successful at practicing it on my own. If my therapist can teach me to stay in the present moment and become mindful of each present moment, I expect ACT to be successful for me.

Why? Because panic attacks are all about living in the future—dreading, anticipating the next panic attack. Once you have a panic attack in one situation or environment, you become fearful that you will have another one in that situation or environment.

And, sure enough, you do have another one in that situation or environment. But your own fearful anticipation causes you to have the next panic attack, and the next one and the next one…

It has become a vicious circle for me that I hope a mindfulness-based practice such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will help me to break.

I’ll keep you posted.

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