Thursday, March 20, 2014

The ACT Matrix, A Powerful Clinical Tool

        My favourite clinical tool (yes, my absolute favourite) is the ACT Matrix. The Matrix is simple, easy to remember, and is extremely effective. The Matrix embodies some of the major components of my approach as a therapist: noticing (mindfulness) and sorting (discrimination training). Kevin Polk and Benjamin Schoendorff have written/edited The ACT Matrix, the first book to expose the world to our beloved Matrix. If you're a clinician interested in learning Acceptance & Commitment Therapy or you're already a seasoned ACT veteran: check it out.

Kevin & Benji's book on The ACT Matrix
The ACT Matrix is an important publication in my opinion because the Matrix as a clinical tool exposed by this book is truly excellent. When I received my copy just over a month ago, I could not put it down. This book could be the key to refreshing your ACT or CBT practice. Kevin and Benji have written excellent chapters but also collected writings from others in the field who are innovative and creative with the Matrix.

When I did my first training with Benji, I was already familiar with ACT, had done a number of workshops, ready many books and was working on my own ACT research yet I was still dumbfounded by the Hexaflex. The ACT Matrix makes the Hexaflex, deriving relational framing toward appetitive control, and case conceptualization easy. I know that is a lofty statement but those three concepts in ACT were all sticking points for me and the Matrix alone made it a snap.

A concise although rather technical run through of the Matrix by Benji:

If Benji's video isn't your speed, you might enjoy a little psychological flexibility warmup with Dr. Polk!

Or what the heck, have a laugh with it too. Benji shares his sense of humour and puts on an over the top accent to give us a laugh over lunch at a workshop!

The point of all of this Matrix talk is that I am excited about it and I'm excited to share it. Clients and workshop attendees love the Matrix and I'm all too sure my own enthusiasm shines through when I work with it. In fact, I like the Matrix so much that I find myself thinking in terms of noticing and sorting. I highly recommend the ACT Matrix book and of course would like to encourage your exploration of the Matrix.. try it pro-socially, with your organization, creative team, or whoever.. have fun with it, go Aisling Curtin on it (a reference to one of the chapter authors who did a particularly stellar job with the Matrix)!


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