Bipolar Thoughts

ACT Now

I am going camping this weekend so I wont be posting on Saturday. So, enjoy this extra post tonight and I will talk to you all on Monday!

 

Well, I stumbled across an interesting form of therapy that I had never heard much about when a friend was talking about a movie on Facebook.

The therapy is called ACT, which stands for acceptance and commitment therapy. It is somewhat related to a type of therapy I am currently working on called DBT or dialectical behavior therapy. I have a workbook on DBT specifically for bipolars with suicidal ideation.

I don’t know much about therapy techniques. This is a new area of study for me lately. But what I do know is that CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, is basically what I have been given my whole life. In CBT you are often asked to expose yourself. Once you a vulnerable they often try to dig at something making you uncomfortable to make you confront it. I believe they call that exposure therapy. And it is the hardest part. Therapists don’t often give advice or insight, although sometimes they relate stories. Once you have exposed a way you think or feel, then they ask you to change that aspect of yourself, or at least modify it so it fits into your life better. Sometimes there are lifeskill training sessions where they go over how you should deal with a situation. And then they ask you to track your changes and report back often. A lot of therapy of this kind is going over things you already thought you resolved, because you haven’t. And they know you haven’t based on how you are tracking.

DBT, at least what I gather from this book I have, is basically that, but they add a validation, or acceptance, component to it. So the process becomes about balancing change (from CBT) and acceptance (from DBT), which creates a dialectical. Get it? From what I gather, in DBT they break you down to where you recognize all unwanted thoughts and behaviors. And they then build you up to experience present day life fully and feeling complete.

ACT, which I know practically nothing about, uses the same acceptance principle as DBT. They do a similar thing to DBT, and CBT, where you recognize the unwanted parts of yourself and you begin work to change them. However, in ACT, it is more about totally accepting your faults and experiencing your faults and your emotions fully. And then changing how you think about them. For example, instead of thinking “I’m a bad person” you should think “I am thinking that I am a bad person because…”. They believe that this change in thought patterns can have tremendous impact on how you process your emotions. And then the end goal is committed action, which is very similar to CBT, where you identify a goal, and you move towards it in an efficient manner.

I came across ACT a couple weeks ago on a bipolar website I frequent as a new strategy for bipolars. I had never heard of it before and didn’t think much about it until my friend posted on her Facebook about the same thing. So I started talking to her and she explained a bit about it and told me it may be something worth looking into.

The problem is complex. First, cognitive behavioral therapy is the standard for treating bipolar, while dialectical behavior therapy has been used, but it generally used for a different mood disorder called Borderline Personality Disorder. Second, there isn’t a lot of info out there about ACT and bipolar. Third, I love my therapist and I don’t want to leave her. Fourth, I hate the idea of starting with a new therapist and spending weeks going over my history. It is very tiring.

But there is something inside me that tells me I might need a change, and soon. I guess I will keep digging up research and see what I can find.

2 comments

  • Do both?? Maybe?

    • Therapists tend to focus on one type of therapy at a time and they don’t recommend seeing more than one therapist at a time. It doesn’t matter much though, since I wrote this I have been searching for new therapists that do ACT and I have found exactly none.

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