After you have introduced these techniques in the form of the integrated exercise, it is easy to remind the client to practice one or more of them at other times when working with difficult feelings that arise. You can mix and match these 8 techniques in any way that is appropriate to the situation. You can stretch them out or cut them down. But for maximum benefit it is important that the client is familiar with the concept of acceptance (see H4) and gains experience in combining the various techniques.
Like all other new processes, learning the techniques of acceptance may take many many hours of practice before we start to use them automatically and skilfully. An important part of the process is recognising when it is a good time to put the relevant techniques to use. Harris (2009) offers a number of simple phrases that can be used to draw the client’s attention to these moments.
“Allow your feelings to be as they are. Don’t try to change them or control them”.
“If a difficult feeling shows up for you, such as anxiety or backache, simply acknowledge it. Silently say to yourself ‘Here is a feeling of backache’, or ‘Here is a feeling of anxiety’".
If the client is having difficulty it can be useful to link acceptance back to the service of values “Would you be willing to make room for this feeling if this would enable you to do what really matters to you?”; “Are you willing to make room for this anxiety in order to make the changes that will enrich your life?”