ACT orientation diagrams

Printer-friendly version

In case they are of use to anyone, I am attaching a couple of ACT orientation diagrams - variations on a theme really.

I hasten to say that these are not in any way intended to challenge the Hexaflex. Rather, they are intended for use with clients (or colleagues etc) to give a quick introduction or summary of what ACT is all about. Perhaps they might also have a role in therapy (individual or group), say in aiding discrimination training (e.g., "whereabouts on the diagram are you now?").

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life (4x4) diagram:

Steve was kind enough to look at an earlier draft of this diagram which, as the name suggests, is intended to provide an overview of the book. Perhaps it could also be used as a structure for collecting client examples (e.g., pain, unworkable control attempts, etc). (I nicknamed it 4x4 because of the 4 circles and 4 arrows and it's quicker to write in the notes!) The 4 arrows of course represent 4 of the hexaflex processes, being the ACT skills enabling the client to get out of their mind (lower circles - pain/ struggle > suffering) and into their life (upper circles - values/ commitment > action).

(Putting this together made me wonder if the sequence of the arrows could suggest a sequence for the teaching of ACT skills, each building on the previous one - i.e., being in the present moment facilitating the observer perspective - in turn facilitating defusion - in turn facilitating acceptance.)

Four Cycles diagram:

Similar idea but generally a bit more detailed, though amalgamating the "self-as-context" and "being present" processes in a single "noticing" item (and a similar amalgamation - "Overthinking" - in the Struggle cycle). In this one the pivot point is in the middle ("Pain") and from there you either shuttle round the Struggle and Suffering cycles - the former specifically includes the processes associated with psychopathology according to ACT (e.g., fusion) - or, after some ACT (it is hoped), the Acceptance and Commitment cycles.


I got a bit of feedback regarding these diagrams from my ACT follow-up group today. The view seemed to be that the 4x4 diagram provides a quicker reminder of the central ACT messages, that might be more useful in times of trouble, whereas the Four Cycles looks more complicated, but might have a role when learning ACT in more relaxed contexts. On the issue of using "noticing" to represent "self-as-context" and "being present", my group felt that "noticing" has the helpful connotation of something that is readily accessible in everyday life, whereas accessing an observer self seemed to suggest something more formal and effortful - perhaps less natural in everyday life. However, it was also said that being introduced to living in the present and the observer-self separately might be better when first learning ACT, moving to the more accessible noticing concept later.

Finally, I must mention that conversations with Mark Webster have influenced the development of these diagrams, and I believe that he in turn has been influenced by the Life Manual approach of Kevin Polk and colleagues.

This page contains attachments restricted to ACBS members. Please join or login with your ACBS account.