Connection. It happens everywhere in the world. Anywhere. It happens early in the pre-dawn hours, at mid-day or late into the evening. Often, it is a beginning or poignant time of relationship within the intimacy of lovers, family or friends. Sometimes, it stands alone as a shared moment between strangers. For me, it is the whole reason for existing at all, and I know that I am not alone in this belief.
Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) focuses largely on the therapeutic relationship and the interpersonal behaviors that occur in sessions. FAP therapists pay special attention to identifying clinical relevant behaviors — behaviors that take place in sessions and exemplify the client’s real-life problematic behavior (termed CRB1), and the client’s real-life improved behavior (termed CRB2). These are the “away moves” and “toward moves” clients engage in during sessions.
Inclusion in tribes was a condition of survival in earlier eras of human history. As a result, our ancestors grew extremely sensitive to the threat of rejection from the group, and we retain sensitivity to social exclusion to this day. But most of us no longer have strong group bonds akin to those that exist in tribes, and we are also potentially able to be in contact with cast numbers of other humans. Thus each and every individual we encounter can represent either a source of great comfort and safety or a looming threat of social exclusion.
Whether you are a novice or advanced practitioner in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), you know that metaphors and exercises play a crucial role in its successful delivery. These powerful tools go far in helping clients connect with their values, and give them the motivation needed to make a real, conscious commitment to change.