Acceptance and Commitment Therapy:
How Questioning Normality Empowers Us to Live with Purpose
Our society, more than any society before us, has an obsession with happiness. Modern psychology notes nine primary emotions that human beings are not only capable of feeling, but will certainly experience over their lifetime. Out of these nine emotions, only about half of them are emotions that we consider to be “okay” to feel.
Sadness? Anger? Shame? Those things make other people uncomfortable, so it’s engrained in us from a very young age to “chin up”. As a collective, we’re in denial about at least half of what we are truly experiencing — half of what the human experience entails.
This belief is echoed in the modern medical community; the assumption of a healthy normality is one which suggests that a psychologically healthy person will be happy, not destructive.
However, one in four people in the general population will experience some sort of disorder within their lifetime. If so called mental illness is so rampant, how can happiness be considered normal?
In fact, 50% of suicides are not related to any DSM disorder at all. These are people who were simply going through a difficult period in their lives, but would not be classified as clinically depressed – they would be considered clinically “normal”. So how can psychological health be equated with happiness?
Furthermore, the majority of people will have periods of their life where they experience profound loneliness, stress and confusion. This is the reality of what normal means.
Once we begin to understand and accept this, we can begin to operate from a new assumption:
a normal person will experience symptoms of psychological disorder at some point in their lives as a natural result of the pain that is an inevitable aspect of the human experience.
Practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in my clinical work has allowed me to help people begin to surpass the notion that we are not supposed to feel negative emotions. When we realise that these emotions are not only natural, but unavoidable, we can stop wasting our limited time and energy resources on trying not to feel these things.
By allowing our experiences, both internal and external, to be as they are, we begin to allow ourselves the space to exercise our capacity to choose how we want to respond to those feelings. We begin to change our relationship to those feelings, using them to empower us to actively create our most authentic, meaningful and purposeful life yet.
Using both mindfulness techniques and behavioural activation skills, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps us to stop fighting what already is, and start stepping into our power.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in a Yoga Retreat
My retreat in Spain this July is for anyone who feels they would benefit from coaching on how to gracefully and powerfully handle difficult emotions – likely, emotions that have been building for a long period of time.
We start to ponder the big questions:
– who are you?
– What do you want your life to stand for?
– What kind of parent/sibling/spouse/worker/boss/friend do you want to be?
– What qualities do you need to be cultivating in your life to live your most aligned life yet?
– What do you need to do, to come back home to you?
No matter what life situation you show up with, we’ll be working together to help you understand the patterns of your mind that are keeping you stuck, and teaching you applicable, habit forming skills to transcend them.
This is not an easy out. These are long term solutions that will start you on a path of growth that will not stop when you leave the retreat.
We’ve got a vegetarian Mediterranean chef rustling up 3 meals a day for us. We’ll be starting each day off with yoga and meditation, and you’ll have an option to do another class later in the day.
We’ll be doing a 1-2 hour workshop each day on the above material: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and mindfulness techniques, and you’ll also receive unlimited one-on-one time with me throughout the week.
You’ll have plenty of time for your own rest, reflection, take a walk in the luscious estate gardens, swim in the pool, go horseback riding, or bike down and explore the stunning white village of Ronda.
I look forward to walking on your path of learning and growth with you.
Yours in the journey,
– See more at: Yoga Retreat in Spain July 2016