Introducing: ACTivate ACT with Radiant Thinking

Printer-friendly version

How does radiant thinking, often called Mind Mapping© (Buzon, T., 1970), apply to the ACT model and RFT? When working with the natural way the mind likes to operate, which is non-linear, radiant thinking allows for the expansion of the creative process. The goal is to let the mind get outside the box of fear. The simple process of drawing a Mind Map is expanding as a stand-alone endeavor. That being said, you can see the map continues to grow bigger and bigger with each new word and each new line that is drawn on the paper. The added relational framing of connecting words and lines within the Mind Map, using a mindful eye, facilitates the connection towards new rules for behavior.

Combining radiant thinking with ACT tips the scale of activating behavior one step at a time towards goals which are in alignment with values. Based on the scientific principals taken from the Zeigarnik Effect (1927), when you take a step toward a project and then don't finish it, feelings of dissonance show up. Hence, the aversive and the appetitive can operate at the same time. Toward and away. Having you notice the visceral experience of expanding and opening up connects you to a sense of vitality. If you become stuck, a few simple probing questions can fuel the connection to the full engagement of the both right and left brain processes.

I have been using this process for the last three years in therapy with clients as well as in facilitating workshops. When a map if finished, if ever, I ask for a commitment, "What one thing are you willing to do between now and our next appointment?" Certainly, it is one small bite of the elephant. Next thing the client notices is once started down the path the easier it is to continue down the path and there is a map they can see - outside their mind. Relief! The beauty of combining radiant thinking and ACT is your map is generated from your creative process developing psychological flexibility in a fun way.

The basic 4 steps are simple. I have you notice, mindfully, your five sense experience of the here and now. Then, I facilitate a values clarification exercise. Once core values are identified, I explain radiant thinking and you draw a Mind Map based on your choice of which value(s) are most salient to you at the moment. Lastly, I ask you to choose one thing from your map you are willing to do by a particular date - goal setting with a deadline.

© Brenda Bomgardner, Only reproduce with permission from the author.