There are many evidenced based practices that therapists use when conducting therapy. Some therapists are dedicated to just one approach while others pull from two or more theoretical principles. Regardless of your therapist’s stance, it is important that he or she can explain to you what methods will be used in your sessions.
Paul primarily utilizes a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).
ACT is considered to be part of the third wave of cognitive behavioral therapies. Unlike other cognitive behavioral approaches, ACT does not focus on disputing negative beliefs or irrational thoughts and emotions. Instead, ACT assists individuals in identifying their values while learning to accept unwanted thoughts and feelings. “Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.” (Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, contextualscience.org).
Mindfulness is oftentimes mistaken as simply being present. Although presence is at the core of Mindfulness, I find the following definition much more helpful; “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” From Jon Kabat-Zinn (one of the leading instructors of mindfulness in the west).
Mindfulness, although oftentimes conducted as part of a mediation practice can just as easily be implemented when you are washing the dishes, eating or driving your car. It is a practice that helps us shift our attention away from the endless looping of commentary, judgements and thought patterns that keep us locked in to those unhelpful, core beliefs mentioned above.
Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) aims to help promote mental and emotional healing by encouraging people in treatment to be compassionate toward themselves and other people. Compassion, both toward the self and toward others, is an emotional response believed by many to be an essential aspect of well-being. Its development may often have the benefit of improved mental and emotional health. Read more here.