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  • Cognitive Delusion: An ACT Therapist on Seeing Thoughts As They Are

    Thoughts and feelings in human beings occur because they were and are evolutionarily beneficial.

    A graphic showing diverse outlines of various people in a crowd. Learn about the support an ACT therapist in Erlanger, KY can offer by searching "ACT therapist in Kentucky" or contacting an ACT therapist in Cincinnati, OH. For thousands of years, thoughts and feelings have caused us to have urges. This makes us behave in certain ways that made it more likely that we would have survived. By doing so, they can reproduce when we were evolving and living in tribes. For example, if we had thoughts like, “What if there is another tribe or predator in that direction?”. We may have felt anxious and the urge to avoid a dangerous situation. Thus, making it more likely we would survive, reproduce, and pass on our genes.

    Or, if someone tried to take our mate, hurt our kids, or steal our food, it would have been beneficial for us to have thoughts and feelings like anger.

    We would have felt the urge to respond in an aggressive way. This may be in a verbal or physical way, making it less likely that someone would commit the same offense. Thus, leading to an increased likelihood of surviving, reproducing, and passing on our genes.

    Another example of this occurs with shame. If our ancestors had thoughts like, “I am not good enough”, they would be likely to try to conform to the rest of the tribe. By doing so they would increase the likelihood of being accepted within the tribe. Thus, increasing their likelihood of survival and reproduction. Many of our thoughts and feelings are painful and seem unhelpful. But, they all served an evolutionary purpose and in many ways, continue to do so

    Although we are no longer living in tribes, our brains still behave the same way.

    Instead of thinking “What if there is a predator in that direction?” we may be more likely to have thoughts like “What if I get fired?” or any other thought about what might go wrong in our lives. And our brains are often comparing ourselves to others. Or, leading to feelings of shame and inferiority. Furthermore, we still get angry when someone does something that threatens our safety or our standing in our community

    A graphic of a man with tangled thoughts. Learn how an ACT therapist in Erlanger, KY can offer support by searching ACT therapy in Cincinnati, OH. An ACT therapist in Kentucky can offer support to declutter your thoughts.Most of us are completely unaware of the thoughts that are occurring. We get hooked by them, they grab hold of us, and they dictate how we behave. Unfortunately, these behaviors are oftentimes inconsistent with how we want to behave. For example, you might get wrapped up in thoughts such as, “What if I tell her how I’m feeling and what I want and she gets angry? She might not like me anymore.” If this thought process dictates your behaviors, you might avoid doing something very important to you like being assertive. Or, if you get hooked by thoughts like, “He shouldn’t have done that; how ridiculous!” This might contribute to aggressive behavior towards others, damaging our relationships. More likely, you want to behave in an assertive, compassionate, and kindly, even when angry

    This is where learning defusion with the help of an ACT therapist can be helpful.

    Defusion is only the process of bringing awareness to our thoughts and observing them. It’s being aware that your brain is generating thoughts vs. being lost in them. We want to learn to see our thoughts for what they are (electrons firing in our brains that we have very little control over) and to allow them to be. The aim of practicing defusion is to gain the ability to be aware of our thoughts without allowing our thoughts to dictate how we behave. It gives us the ability to step back from our thoughts.

    By doing so, we can learn to allow our values and goals to guide our actions vs. our thoughts dictating how we behave. We can then ask, “If I want to be kind, or brave, or supportive or (insert any value), is it helpful to be wrapped up or hooked by these thoughts?” There are several other skills and concepts in ACT therapy that we can use with defusion to help with this process. But, defusion is the skill I often like to teach my client first. This is because it’s simple to practice and often helps to build momentum in making changes

    As an ACT therapist, I have several methods for teaching my clients defusion.

    The following is one process I find to be very helpful. I ask my clients to sit upright in a chair, close their eyes, and bring their attention to their thoughts. For any thought their brains generate, I urge them to mentally note in front of the thought, “I am having the thought that…”. For example, they might note, “I am having the thought ‘I feel silly practicing this right now” or “I am having the thought ‘I need to do laundry later”. I make sure to let my clients know that they will get lost in their thoughts, or wrapped up in them

    A graphic of a hand pulling at a tangled line. This represents the support an ACT therapist in Erlanger, KY can offer. Learn more about ACT therapy in Cincinnati, OH by searching "act therapist in Cincinnati, OH" today.It’s ok to forget that they’re supposed to be observing their thoughts and practicing defusion. This is normal. I instruct them to gently bring their attention back to their thoughts over and over again. I ask them to set a timer on their phone for five minutes and practice daily. Usually, people begin to notice that they are aware of their thoughts more often within a week. Then, they develop the ability to defuse or unhook, from them.

    From there, other ACT therapy skills can be developed, applied, and integrated with defusion. This can help us learn to reduce how often our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors interfere with doing what matters to us.

    Begin Working With An ACT Therapist in Erlanger, KY

    Learning new methods and concepts related to ACT therapy is much easier said than done. I would be honored to offer support through ACT therapy from my Erlanger, KY-based practice. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:

    1. Contact me to learn more about ACT therapy and provide a preferred date and time
    2. Learn more about me and the ACT therapy process
    3. Begin regaining better emotional control

    Other Services Offered With Kyle Linnemann

    ACT therapy isn’t the only service I offer. I’m happy to provide a variety of mental health support options including grief counseling, anger management, and anxiety therapy. I also offer depression treatment, individual therapy for relationship issues, and stress management. I’m also happy to offer further support with both in-person and online therapy services in Kentucky and Ohio. I also offer Humana therapy coverage as well. Feel free to learn more by visiting my blog, FAQ, and resources page.

    1. […] so, you can shift your focus on what you can control: your attention and behavior. Working with an ACT therapist in the Cincinnati area can help you learn what your values are, and what matters most to you. In doing so, so you can […]