Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Dr Russ Harris on fusion

This is an interesting little clip from Dr Russ Harris, one of the leading exponents of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, known as ACT. Here he explains how our minds were originally designed to keep us alive in primitive times. This meant we needed to be constantly on the look out for danger. Staying alive was also easier if we were part of a group, so our minds compared us to others to keep a close eye on how we were fitting in. Nowadays this can lead us so swiftly to the Not Good Enough story, where we feel like we're falling short and end up judging ourselves harshly. ACT offers ways to recognise the Not Good Enough story when it shows up, and helps us not to get caught up in its judgments.

Two hundred thousand years ago if we narrowly escaped death at the hands of a predator it would have been useful for us to replay traumatic incidents to learn from them and thus increase our chances of staying alive a bit longer. Nowadays we can tend to replay painful memories and past humiliations and regrets without actually learning anything. Our minds anticipate problems, worry about the future, and sometimes this will be appropriate and helpful, but when this function is causing problems of its own, we can try to find acceptance for it, rather than being overwhelmed by it.

I frequently incorporate ACT into my work with clients, and this short video gives you a brief taste of some of the ways it can help.