ACT Onscreen: Films for Clients

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This section of is for practitioners looking for a film to prescribe to their clients. Along the lines of the suggestions made in Rent Two Films and Let's Talk in the Morning, by John and Jan Hesley or "The Motion Picture Prescription: Watch This Movie & Call Me in the Morning - 200 Movies to Help You Heal Life's Problems", by Gary Solomon. I've found many films contain moments or plot turns that are highly suitable as metaphors for ACT processes. I invite the ACT community to contribute to this resource so we can help our clients and learn from each other.

Here's Jason Luoma's suggested ratings format and modifications to my original proposal. Thanks Jason! 

 At a recent lab retreat, Steve's lab came up with the idea of each movie receiving a hexaflex point rating. This similar to the 0, 1, or 2 two thumbs up from Ebert and Roper, but instead goes from 1 to 6, depending upon the number of ACT processes illustrated. The ultimate prize goes the person who can come up with a movie that illustrates all six ACT processes. Will YOU take up the challenge? It can come from multiple scenes in one movie. The ultimate challenge would be to identify one scene that illustrates all six processes. Go fot it!

I'd suggest when you review a movie, at the start you give it a hexaflex rating according to how many processes the movie illustrates.

The six processes are:

  1. Contact with the present moment
  2. Acceptance
  3. Defusion
  4. Self-as-context
  5. Values
  6. Commitment

For example, a movie that illustrates four of these proceses would get four hexaflex points! So as a format for ratings, I'd suggest the following:

  1. Film name
  2. Number of Hexaflex Points
  3. Character, moment or plot point
  4. ACT principle illustrated and which processes it involves.

Also you might want to put the number of hexaflex points in the title section.

Julian: Here's an example (one of my favorites ;-)):

  1. The Matrix
  2. 1 Hexaflex point (but see Camilla's additional point below)
  3. Neo, the Keanu Reeves character, is asked to choose between the red pill or the blue pill
  4. Choosing and Willingness - sometimes you can't know the outcome before you choose. Are you willing to have the consequences of choosing and just choose?

Here's Jason's example:

  1. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
  2. 3 hexaflex points
  3. When Indiana is just about to get to the holy grail, he finds himself stuck at the edge of a seemingly bottomless chasm. He reads a riddle that suggests that the only way to get across the chasm is to take a leap of faith. So he steps out into mid air, seemingly to fall to his death. Instead, he finds that there is actually a hidden bridge that was built to blend seemlessly into the backdrop of the chasm and his step lands on terra firma. Whew!
  4. The scene illustrates committed action, in that Indiana takes a step towards his quest even when unsure of the outcome. It illustrates willingness/acceptance in that the move is leadp of faith, requiring him to make room for his fear. And it illustrates defusion in that while his mind tells him he is going to fall to his death, he is willing to suspend that judgment, and when he actually steps out into a seeming void, he finds that this was an illusion.

To contribute your film, click on add child page below. In the Body section of the Edit page, include the following: 

  1. Your Film
  2. Number of Hexaflex points
  3. The part where the character says something
  4. ACT Principle represented

Simple as that!

Hope we have a lot of fun and learning with this,

Julian McNally