The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

On the SMART facilitator listserv there are many of the meeting facilitators who incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) into their meetings. ACT is a Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that was developed in the 90’s. The ACT Matrix was developed over the past 10 years or so. The Acceptance in ACT is illustrative of accepting your thoughts and feelings. Commitment is the resolve to change in positive ways. ACT is considered part of the “third generation” of CBT. The first two being Traditional Behaviorism and CBT. The goal of ACT is to lead a better life by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings and behaving in ways that lead you to better goals. As you progress the negative thoughts and feelings diminish similar to how addiction cravings decrease over time.

The ACT Matrix is based on a simple 2 lined diagram. A horizontal line with arrows pointing either way. To the right is labeled Toward, the the left is labeled Away. Towards is behaviors that lead us to the things we want in life such as health, love, community learning friends etc. Away are behaviors that lead us away from what we want such as isolating, substance abuse, blaming etc. Then you add a vertical line that bisects the first line. At the top is labeled 5 Senses Experiencing, and the bottom is labeled Mental Experiencing. The Matrix can be useful for unpacking negative (Away) behavior and seeing how we can replace it with positive (Towards) behavior. It considers that any given event or situation is interpreted by your 5 senses but that the objective things that happen are interpreted in the light of your mental experience which may have negative thoughts and conditioning involved. I can see the Matrix being useful to help meeting attendees evaluate events in their lives and hopefully gain insight into more effective behavior. The closest SMART tool I can think of to the Matrix is the ABC tool.

So the question is, do you think the ACT Matrix would be a useful tool for our meetings or would it just add more confusion? Is the ABC tool itself adequate and the Matrix just redundant? Should I take the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

Read more:

Nice review of ACT:

Pdf primer on the Matrix:

The Fall 2012 SMART News and Views has an article on the Matrix on page 4:

Odds and Ends:

SMART Recovery Annual Conference:

Join us in Cincinnati, Sept 18-20 for SMARTCON 2015. More Info: 

Check out the SMART Recovery online community forums.

Good place to bounce around ideas and for practical advice.

William White has published an interview with Stanton Peele.

Haven’t read it yet but will. Grab it while you can.

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