Graham Price explains how powerful behaviour-based techniques can change and strengthen our mind-sets
My primary role as a psychologist is to help people change the way they think, feel and behave and, above all, to develop their mind-sets. The aim of therapy, coaching and development training is to enhance resilience, power (and achievement) and relationships, these being the three attributes needed for a highly satisfying and successful life. Acceptance-action techniques include:
- For resilience: ‘accepting what is’ all the time, determinist thinking, accepting that ‘whatever will be will be’, positive acceptance, accepting feelings, ‘accept the feeling, choose the action’ and owning our experience
- For power and achievement: adopting powerful self-beliefs, taking action beyond our comfort zone, stop playing when-then games, commitment, focusing on contribution, ‘acting as if’ and taking bold action
- For dealing with challenges in relationships: owning our reactions, determinist thinking, understanding perspective and taking responsibility for the other person’s behaviour (our only option in a determined world)
Most of these tools are unique to a therapy and development training called Acceptance-Action Therapy (AAT) and Acceptance-Action Training, developed by a team of psychologists at the University of London. Both these routes dramatically change lives.
Those experiencing challenges nearly always want past events or their current situation to be different. Or they may want not to be feeling whatever they’re feeling right now. These thoughts always entail wishing for the impossible. Learning to ‘accept what is’ is a powerful mental skill and one of a number of tools that make AAT and Acceptance-Action Training so highly effective.
Those who worry are ‘resisting’ the future. They always want something they believe they cannot control, to be different from the way they think it might be. The key to living a worry-free life is to learn to accept that ‘whatever will be, will be’ at the same time as doing what we can to improve things.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the world’s best known therapy, understands that behavioural change is a valuable mechanism for unwinding beliefs that drive uncomfortable feelings. AAT combines this valuable tool with accepting feelings, significantly enhancing its effectiveness. Mindfulness is another excellent tool for learning to accept feelings. AAT is just many times quicker, more practical and more sustainable. Both techniques combine well with CBT.
All philosophers understand that we live in a ‘determined’ world. But philosophers generally don’t realise the extraordinary value of this knowledge in the field of psychology and personal development. While NLP (neuro linguistic programming) briefly mentions this awareness, AAT and Acceptance-Action Training use this powerful tool extensively to change the way we think about everything.
Most psychologists understand that mind-set drives everything and that behaviour has by far the biggest influence on mind-set, as demonstrated by extensive research. Yet there are plenty of poorly qualified therapists and unqualified trainers, unaware of the research, who are still expounding self-talk and visualisation techniques as a key change mechanism. While acknowledging these techniques can be helpful, this is a long way short of changes that can be achieved through behavioural change. The developers of AAT and Acceptance-Action Training have created powerful behaviour-based techniques to change and strengthen mind-sets.
AAT has been extensively used in couples and family therapy. The impact has been extraordinary. AAT-based relationships trainings and team-effectiveness trainings are having similar impacts. Understanding that we humans tend to project our reactions onto the trigger and then blame the trigger for our reaction. Understanding that everyone believes they’re right and reasonable all the time. Understanding that in a determined world everyone is doing the only thing they could be doing right now. Understanding Shakespeare’s famous quote “There’s nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so”. These and other powerful tools make AAT and Acceptance-Action Training uniquely effective in enabling us to deal with challenges in relationships.
Many thousands of lives have been changed by AAT or Acceptance-Action Training. The developers of these tools are now planning to introduce the training to much larger numbers. To achieve this we need to train people, like you, who may be willing to change your own lives and then become involved in spreading the training.
If you’re interested, join me on my free webinar (see below). I promise your life will change for the better in major ways. You’ll then have the chance to participate in what we hope will become the biggest ever ‘change project’ to achieve major change for the whole world.