ACT-ing on Self-Help with Dr. Michael Levin

Michael Levin is a associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University and a leading ACT researcher. In the episode below we discuss his work on how to translate the skills that people typically learn in traditional, therapist-guided ACT into an online self-help format so that everyone can learn at their own pace in the privacy of their homes, which is vital during these times of Covid-19.

When it comes to improving our lives, there are many available resources; self-help books, apps, support groups, etc. In the episode Wyatt and Michael talk about the challenges society faces today to improve their mental health with these various platforms. “We have skills to help improve lives, but everyone has their own thoughts on how to manage our own psychology. Some skill and strategies are more or less helpful, but we need research”. Michael recommends using evidence-based resources when looking for self-help. Look for some of the well-studied therapies and see if the skills you are implementing for yourself are based on some of these research-proven methods. Examples include CBT, ACT, EBT and mindfulness.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)? The basis of ACT starts with accepting our internal world, give space to feel your feelings. Not wallowing and letting these thoughts drive our behavior but allowing us to recognize the existence and being mindfully aware of being present in the moment. Once we make room for the thoughts in a mindful way, how do we commit to doing the things that really matter to us? Commitment then helps people go from acceptance to make commitments to move towards the things that matter in each individual’s respective lives. This is not specific objectives and goals, such as committing to lose weight, but committing to a value or process (like taking better care of yourself).

If you are interested in a free self-guided program, Michel Levin and other Utah State University researchers have created the ACT GUIDE, an on online 12-step program, available for free use.

Listen in to this episode of Instead for more conversation on staying present in the moment, understanding emotional reactions, and being intentional with your day.

Written by Ari Romo