In a world that often encourages us to constantly strive for self-improvement and external validation, the concept of acceptance has become a powerful beacon of self-compassion and inner peace. Acceptance, in its truest form, extends beyond merely tolerating or resigning to circumstances—it’s about embracing ourselves, our inner experiences, and the world around us with open arms. In this blog, we’ll delve into the profound wisdom of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), exploring how learning to make room for our intense inner experiences can lead to a more fulfilling life.
The Essence of Acceptance
Acceptance, at its core, is the practice of acknowledging and embracing every facet of our being, both the light and the shadow. It’s about making room for the full spectrum of human experiences, including our feelings, thoughts, memories, sensations, and urges. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up or resigning to these experiences; instead, it’s a conscious choice to allow them to exist without judgment or resistance. By doing so, we grant ourselves the freedom to explore the depths of our emotions and thoughts, ultimately leading to greater self-awareness and emotional well-being.
Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT): Making Room for Inner Experiences
Acceptance Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is a therapeutic approach that champions the idea of making room for our inner experiences. It recognises that we are not our thoughts or emotions but rather the observers of them. From an ACT perspective, we can define “emotion dysregulation” as the inability to respond flexibly to emotions. We’ve all been there, overwhelmed by immense emotional pain, and yes, that includes myself too! Emotion dysregulation often occurs when our awareness becomes fused with worrying thoughts, intense feelings, and inner experiences, leading us to avoid being fully present in the moment. We might try to suppress our feelings or resist what’s arising within us – something we’ve all experienced at some point. The more inflexibly we respond to our emotions, the more problems we create, and the greater our psychological suffering becomes.
The Antidote: Emotional Flexibility
The antidote to emotion dysregulation is emotional flexibility. It’s about learning to respond to our emotions with acceptance for what is showing up, making contact with the present moment, being aware of our observing self, identifying our values, and committing to actions that help us “unhook” from these intense inner experiences that hold us back from living a meaningful life.
When a difficult emotion is present, there are three key steps that can be helpful:
Open up: Instead of avoiding or suppressing the difficult inner experience, we make room for it. We acknowledge its presence and suffering while defusing from the cognitive elements that keep us stuck or resistant to life situations.
Do what matters to you: This step involves being guided by our values to find a way to accept the situation for what it is and seek solutions that align with our values.
Be present: By focusing on and fully engaging in what we are doing, we can shift our attention away from the intensity of the emotion and stay connected to the present moment.
From the perspective of Acceptance Commitment Therapy, the goal is not to reduce the intensity of the emotion or avoid the suffering or inner experiences. Instead, we work on finding ways to stay present, acknowledge and allow these inner experiences, stay in touch with our values, and be guided by our inner wisdom. We accept what is unfolding, recognising that our pain is our ally, and our emotions are trying to get our attention for self-care and healing to unfold.
One practical technique within ACT is to NAME the emotion or urge, following the acronym:
N – Notice the sensations: Pay attention to the physical sensations associated with the emotion or urge.
A – Acknowledge by name: Label the emotion or urge with a name, giving it a clear and defined identity.
M – Make room for the intense inner experiences: Create space for the emotion or urge to exist without judgment or resistance.
E – Expand awareness: Widen your awareness to include not only the emotion or urge but also the present moment and your values, helping you make more mindful and values-based choices.
Acceptance, as exemplified by Acceptance Commitment Therapy and the Four A’s, is a powerful tool for personal growth and emotional well-being. It teaches us that making room for our inner experiences—acknowledging, allowing, accommodating, and appreciating them—is the path to self-discovery and lasting change. By embracing acceptance, both of ourselves and the world around us, we unlock the potential for a more fulfilling and authentic life. So, let’s embark on this journey of self-compassion, recognising that true acceptance is the gateway to a brighter and more harmonious existence. Embracing emotional flexibility allows us to navigate our inner experiences skilfully, leading to greater emotional well-being and a more meaningful life journey. So, the next time a difficult emotion arises, remember to NAME it and embark on the path of acceptance and flexibility.
We’re here to discuss a lifeline that makes a world of difference in the lives of many – NDIS-funded support workers. The NDIS, extends its support through dedicated professionals who bring essential assistance into the daily lives of those who need support. Here at Aspire Recovery Connection, we wholeheartedly embrace the significance of this support, recognising it as a beacon of hope and empowerment.
At Aspire Recovery Connection, we recognise the significance of this support. We embrace it as more than a practical service; we understand that every person’s experience is unique, and their healing journey is profoundly personal. That’s why our approach is rooted in compassion, understanding, and empathy.
Personalised Connection for Every Unique Journey
In our world, every story and healing journey is distinct. Our approach transcends mere tasks; our support workers become companions, walking alongside our community members on their unique healing paths. We believe in the power of personal connection, understanding the delicate intricacies of each person’s needs and circumstances.
Our community members utilise their NDIS support workers in diverse ways, tailoring their assistance to their unique requirements and priorities. Through support and meaningful connections, our community has ventured into various social activities and pursuits that align with their individual needs and aspirations. Together, we’ve explored different areas of interest, integrating them into their lives and enhancing their overall well-being.
The NDIS: A Catalyst for Positive Transformation
The NDIS support we provide isn’t just practical assistance; it’s a force that encourages positive change. It fosters independence, nurtures well-being, and cultivates a deep sense of belonging within our community. With the NDIS’s backing, we make these vital services accessible to all, facilitating transformation that goes far beyond the surface.
Join Our Supportive Family
At Aspire Recovery Connection, our commitment reaches beyond service provision; it extends to building a supportive family. We invite you to explore our approach, the incredible work of our support workers, and the ways we help empower our community. Your journey holds immense value, and we are here to walk it with you, offering genuine support at every turn.
Explore the Aspire Recovery Connection Difference
Curious to delve deeper into the heart of Aspire Recovery Connection? Wondering about the incredible ways our support workers create a positive impact? Give us a call and speak with us to uncover the essence of our compassionate approach. Your healing journey isn’t just witnessed; it’s celebrated and supported with us.
We are thrilled to announce a momentous achievement that has filled our hearts with pride and joy. Aspire Recovery Connection emerged as a beacon of excellence at the Lived Experience Workforce Program Awards, an event designed to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals in designated mental health Lived Experience roles in South Australia. Organised by the Mental Health Coalition of SA (MHCSA), being nominated for these awards is clear evidence of the incredible work being done within our community.
Embracing Exceptional Talent
In a testament to the dedication and expertise within our organisation, we had not one but two finalists in two distinct categories – Talea Glisson-Gladman and Joanne Evans. Their recognition was not only a recognition of their skills but also a reflection of the profound impact they have made on the community we serve. We stand together, beaming with pride, as their remarkable achievements were celebrated by their peers and the very community they have passionately supported.
A Unique Approach to Healing
At Aspire Recovery Connection, we take immense pride in our distinctive approach to supporting individuals battling severe mental and emotional distress. Our methodology revolves around the belief that the person in distress is the expert in their own story. We are here not to dictate or judge but to listen, understand, and support them throughout their healing journey.
Honouring Authentic Connections
Our approach is deeply rooted in forming authentic connections with those we serve. We honour everyone as a unique storyteller, and our role is to respect their needs and guide them toward healing. By placing the individual at the heart of their journey, we create an environment where they are empowered and supported in the most genuine and compassionate manner.
A Community of Empathy and Support
This recognition reaffirms our commitment to our 100% lived experience organisation. Every day, we are driven by the passion to make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling. It is not just a job for us; it is a calling, a mission to foster a community of empathy, understanding, and unwavering support.
As we celebrate this achievement, we also look forward to the future. Together, with our unique approach and the incredible individuals we serve, we will keep striving to create a world where every individual’s healing journey is honoured and embraced.
Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey.
The !0th of October is World Mental Health Day and the whole month of October is celebrated as ‘Mental Health Month’ in Australia. Whilst I am passionate about opening up conversations in our community around mental and emotional wellbeing, I do not want to subscribe to a dialogue that pathologizes experiences of distress and normal human emotions and buys into a medical model of ‘mental illness’. As Eleanor Langdon so eloquently put it ‘The relevant question in psychiatry shouldn’t be “What’s wrong with you?” but rather “What happened to you?”’.
This year the theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’, fair enough, no arguments here. What we also need to say though, “it’s normal”. We need to not only say “we accept you” but more importantly “it’s normal, what you are experiencing, is a normal human experience, you’re not diseased, there’s nothing wrong with you, you don’t have an illness, you’re just experiencing very real, human suffering’. When our ‘right to mental health’ is evasive, it doesn’t mean we’re ill, it doesn’t mean we have a genetically predisposed condition (genes for mental ill health are yet to be found), it means life has been difficult, whether in our past or our present and as Dr Lucy Johnston explains in the Power Threat Meaning Framework, unusual thoughts, feelings and behaviours in response to abnormal and traumatic life events is a very normal human reaction.
The issue I have when we talk about ‘mental health awareness’ in our society, is we so often come from a western medical perspective. We tell people ‘its ok to say you’re not well, its ok to ask for help, its ok to have a label’. It is ok to say you’re not well, you’re struggling, you’re in incredible pain, you need help but I don’t in fact think its ok to give people labels to explain their emotional pain. Living with deep sadness and debilitating fear (as I have and sometimes still do), having difficulty trusting people and their intentions, feeling unsafe in our body, having unique experiences of voice hearing or vision seeing, these are all very real and often very scary things. We SHOULD talk about them, we should reach out with love, compassion and support for people who are experiencing them. What we shouldn’t do is link the very real need for compassion, connection, love and support with the need to diagnose, label and automatically medicate (without exploring all options). This World Mental Health Day lets shout from the rafters “MENTAL HEALTH IS A UNIVERAL HUMAN RIGHT’ and so too is the right to be seen as a human being in pain, rather than a diagnostic label.
Recovery from physical or mental health challenges can be a complex and often overwhelming journey. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognizes the importance of holistic support for individuals seeking to regain their well-being and resilience. NDIS recovery coaching is a specialized service that plays a pivotal role in helping participants navigate this path to recovery. In this blog, we will explore the significance of NDIS recovery coaching, its key principles, and how it empowers individuals to embrace wellness and a brighter future.
Understanding NDIS Recovery Coaching
NDIS recovery coaching is a person-centred and strengths-based approach that supports participants in their journey toward improved health and well-being. It is designed to empower individuals with disabilities to take control of their lives, set goals, and develop strategies to overcome obstacles. Here are some core components of NDIS recovery coaching:
Person-Centred Approach: Recovery coaching is centred around the individual’s unique needs, goals, and aspirations. It respects the participant’s autonomy and empowers them to make informed choices.
Strengths-Based: Recovery coaching focuses on identifying and harnessing the participant’s strengths, skills, and resources to facilitate recovery and resilience.
Collaboration: Recovery coaches work collaboratively with participants to co-create a recovery plan that aligns with their values and preferences.
Goal-Oriented: The coaching process involves setting and working toward specific, achievable goals related to health, well-being, and life satisfaction.
Support and Encouragement: Coaches provide emotional support, encouragement, and guidance as participants navigate the ups and downs of their recovery journey.
Self-Advocacy: Participants are encouraged to become advocates for their own health and well-being, learning to communicate effectively with healthcare providers and access necessary services.
The Benefits of NDIS Recovery Coaching
Empowerment: Recovery coaching empowers individuals by giving them the tools and skills to take charge of their health and recovery. It fosters a sense of agency and control over one’s life.
Holistic Support: It addresses all aspects of a person’s well-being, including physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions. This comprehensive approach enhances overall quality of life.
Resilience-Building: Recovery coaching helps participants develop resilience, enabling them to bounce back from setbacks and face challenges with greater strength and determination.
Increased Self-Awareness: Participants gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their values, and their priorities, which can lead to more meaningful and purposeful lives.
Community Integration: Recovery coaching supports participants in reconnecting with their communities and building social connections, reducing feelings of isolation.
Goal Achievement: Through a structured approach to setting and pursuing goals, individuals can make tangible progress in their recovery journey.
How NDIS Recovery Coaching Empowers Individuals
Self-Advocacy: NDIS recovery coaching equips participants with the skills and confidence to advocate for themselves within the healthcare system, ensuring they receive the appropriate care and support.
Improved Decision-Making: Coaching helps individuals make informed decisions about their health and well-being, leading to better choices and outcomes.
Enhanced Coping Skills: Participants learn effective coping strategies to manage stress, challenges, and setbacks in their recovery journey.
Greater Resilience: By building resilience, individuals become better equipped to face life’s difficulties and maintain their well-being in the long term.
Hope and Optimism: NDIS recovery coaching fosters a sense of hope and optimism, even in the face of adversity, helping individuals envision a brighter future.
NDIS recovery coaching is a vital service that empowers individuals with disabilities to navigate their journey toward wellness and resilience. By embracing a person-centred, strengths-based approach, recovery coaching equips participants with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to take control of their health and well-being. It encourages self-advocacy, fosters resilience, and promotes a brighter, more fulfilling future. In a world that often presents significant challenges, NDIS recovery coaching serves as a guiding light, helping individuals find their path to wellness and renewed hope.