ACT for youth

It does sound simple: feeling good about yourself, knowing what you want because you know who you are. Thus you can move forward in life, with confidence and goal oriented. But what if being who you really are feels uncomfortable or scary on the inside? Given these conditions, how do you find your path in life? You think you know what you like. Yet the next moment you don’t know what belongs to you and what doesn’t. It’s hard to find your life’s purpose when you are struggling inside.

Meanwhile, adults want a lot from you too. You would like to be able to talk to your parents about your feelings and doubts. But the misunderstandings only seem to be growing.

It’s hard to get to know yourself better in times when you can’t do what is important to you. At the moment corona rules prevent you from interacting with peers you can relate to. To others who let you know that you fit in. You feel constrained in everything you need right now. It may make you feel angry, sad or depressed. Young people are having an increasingly difficult time given the current limitations. Distance learning may result in motivation problems and deepen test anxiety. ACT can help you develop skills to handle these fears and promote a more stable sense of self.

Essential to ACT is the use of metaphors (or comparisons) to clarify your inner experience. For example the metaphor of the bus. We are all familiar with the inner voice that criticizes what we do or who we are. The bus metaphor allows you to compare this inner critic with a bunch of bullies sitting around you when you are traveling home on a bus. They are harassing you to a point where you decide to get off the bus a long way before the stop you normally get off. So now you have to walk a long stretch. Do you listen to the bullies or do you defy them, staying on track? And how?

ACT enables you to make room for difficult thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, allowing them to just be, without taking over and distracting you from your path. You can learn to stay in touch with yourself, discover what is really valuable to you and choose to act on this, allowing you to deal with yourself and your life experiences in more effective ways.