ACT Book Summary: Pages 105 - 110

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Chinese Handcuffs Metaphor illustrates that sometimes the counterintuitive solution is the one that works. Brief; can be used to reinforce the message of the more extended Man in the Hole metaphor or to introduce the therapy as part of an informed consent procedure.

Understanding: Belief versus Experiential Wisdom
Expressions of belief or disbelief on the part of the client are irrelevant and probably signify that the old control agenda is trying to claim any new territory opened up by metaphorical talk. The dimension of belief and disbelief is toward the nonexperiencing, derived stimulus functions end of the experiencing-nonexperiencing continuum. This includes the therapist's beliefs as well as the client's.

Persuasion is not an ACT move; consulting one's experience is.

Confusing No Hope with Creative Hopelessness

2 possible errors: confusing creative hopelessness with hopelessness as a negative feeling state or with hopelessness as a belief.

Creative hopelessness is an action or a behavioral posture that results from experiencing the uselessness of deliberate control over unwanted thoughts and feelings, because this control cannot deliver the promised rewards. The over expansive track that maintains the control agenda is undermined. This prepares the way for a fundamentally new approach. However, talking about hopelessness is a sign of persuasion efforts on the part of the therapist.

Hopelessness the feeling is often used as a move to coerce someone (God, a spouse, the therapist, oneself) to rescue the client from despair.

Hopelessness the belief tends to be over expansive, in the sense that the person sees him or her self or life or situation as hopeless, rather than the more circumscribed control agenda.

Barriers to Giving Up the Unworkable System
It can be hard for clients to give up unworkable control strategies because previously avoided material quickly shows up in consciousness and there's no clear alternative. Metaphors that can be useful here include:

Feedback Screech Metaphor, which illustrates how control moves amplify the inherent discomfort in living and make "tiptoeing around the stage" seem like a good solution; and

Sports and Activities Metaphors, in which practice makes better, you have to "step up to the plate" or "get in the water," and overthinking interferes with the process.

Letting Go of the Struggle as an Alternative
Tug of War with a Monster Metaphor illustrates that letting go of the struggle with unwanted private experiences can be a more workable strategy than trying to win the struggle. Clients may want to know how to "let go of the rope" and describing the process would be a bit like describing how to swim or hit a baseball or drive a car: better learned by experience.