When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Mindful:
A Toolkit Based on the Principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Created by Jeremy Jenkins & Andrew Ahles
Note to clinicians: Permission is granted for clinical use of all original material; all other material is cited and in the public domain for clinical use.
Please click here for the PDF Clinician’s Guide to the toolkit
General Information and What to Expect
This Toolkit is based on an approach to treatment called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). At its most basic, this approach is about learning new skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings in a way that allows you to live a better life.
The general format for each module is:
- Step One: Rate how well your life is working
- Step Two: Review the practice exercises you’ve been working on
- Step Three: Learn and discuss the main ideas for the current module
- Step Four: Practice new skills
- Step Five: Plan your practice exercises for the next module
As you work through this toolkit, you will have the final say in what works and what doesn’t, based on your experience. If your experience shows that what you are doing works, keep doing it! If your experience tells you that your choices are not working for you, consider trying something different.
What you get out of this toolkit will depend a great deal on how much you put into it. Your mind will probably try to get in the way of doing the exercises we recommend, by telling you things like “I don’t have time, this won’t help, it’s too difficult, I can just imagine doing the exercise instead of actually doing it,” etc. If this happens, you can choose to say to your mind, “Thanks for the advice, mind! But I’m going to give this a try anyway and see what happens. I’m going to let my experience decide instead of my thoughts.”
If you do choose to say this to your mind and move ahead with the toolkit, we believe you will benefit a great deal from learning the information and practicing the exercises inside.
Many sources were used directly and indirectly in the creation of this toolkit. Direct sources or adaptations are specifically credited, while other sources that informed and inspired this work are listed in the bibliography.
Weekly Rating Sheet
Module 1: Pain, Suffering, and Control
Module 2: Mindfulness and Defusion
Module 3: Past, Present, and Future
Module 4: The Observing Self
Module 5: Values and Committed Action
Module 6: Where Do We Go From Here?