ACT Hexaflex Therapy and Business Coaching
What is ACT Hexaflex Therapy. Meaning
ACT is a behavioural-focused psychological flexibility treatment or therapy which was developed by Steven C. Hayes in the 1980s. ACT is a process-based therapy, that looks to alter the context/relationship with behaviours (which include thoughts, images, emotions, sensations, memories, urges, actions etc.) to help people move from a rigid, narrow repertoire of behaviour that is under aversive control, to engage in a broader, flexible range of behaviour, that leads to increased meaning, purpose and vitality in life.
The acronym ACT refers to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
. This cognitive-behavioural approach is useful for business coaching - for example when working on a Personal Mission Statement
ACT uses a unique diagnostic tool called the " Hexaflex
" which is a hexagon-shaped (six-sided) psychological flexibility tool with 6 aspects used to classify and solve clients' conditions (problems) holistically.
As business coaches, the ACT Hexaflex reminds and allows us to include the client's context/relationship with behaviours and values into our coaching work. Specifically, with the use of this therapy, business coaches can ensure that their clients feel more connected to their work and values. According to Harris, ACT helps clients embrace their demons and follow their hearts. Business clients often find themselves in "psychological inflexibility situations" (that is an inability to stay in contact with the present moment while considering unpleasant thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations) when business problems emanate and thereby they're losing their sense of control. The following are the 6 common behaviours causing psychological inflexibility
that business clients may display:
- DOMINANCE OF CONCEPTUALIZED PAST OR FEARED FUTURE
Business people often develop limited self-knowledge through getting stuck in past failures and ruminating on negative thoughts about the future. They often do not live in the present moment which is detrimental to the reality and their future success. Business coaches could use the ACT Hexaflex diagnostic tool to rejuvenate the sense of control of their clients by allowing and reminding them to accept or come in contact with the present moment. The role of a business coach in this case will be that of facilitating the commitment and behaviour change process.
- ABSENT OR CONFUSED VALUES
Values are guiding principles or chosen qualities of actions or behaviours one lives or likes to live and they are often ongoing and infinite in nature. In some cases business people might fail to realize their values due to psychological inflexibilities. Business coaches can therefore assist their clients to identify and come in contact with their values. Doing so will assist them in their long-term psychological flexibility of mindfulness and acceptance process of defining what is important to them.
- LACK OF ACTIONS, AVOIDANCE OR IMPULSIVITY
Negative patterns of behaviours or actions are also psychological inflexibilities which keep some people stuck. Business coaches can encourage their clients to commit to their positive valued actions despite of or rather than experiencing uncomfortable past feelings or thoughts.
- ATTACHMENT TO THE CONCEPTUALIZED SELF (a story of oneself)
Over fusion to our self-concept can be a challenge. According to Harris, this happens "when we fuse with our self-description, all those thoughts that are the very essence of who we are, the self-as-description". Business coaching can help to relief clients from previously held beliefs of themselves through cultivating flexibility on how they see themselves as context through contacting the observing self.
- COGNITIVE FUSION
People may also get stuck or fused in their past experiences, thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. Business coaches can help their clients to watch their thinking by noticing the process of their thoughts through cognitive defusion rather than letting them get caught up in the context of themselves.
- EXPERIENTIAL AVOIDANCE
Business people also avoid distressing thoughts, uncomfortable experiences and memories. In this case business coaching should foster mindfulness and an acceptance process through encouraging non-judgemental awareness to internal and external events by recognizing that some things are out of one's control. Clients can be assisted to move from experiential avoidance to experiential acceptance when they start to make decisions over things they have control over (opening up) and letting go of what is not in their control.
In my opinion, ACT Hexaflex is a really good tool to help business clients to develop a committed behavioral change process that will assist them in their long-term mindfulness and acceptance process while increasing their psychological flexibility. This set of psychological flexibility tools can be used by those in business consultancy to analyze a situation and formulate strategies that can help business people in distress to accept and make peace with day to day business experiences and situations which are out of their control or which gives them negative feelings. Coaches can consider to utilize ACT therapy in order to help their clients to commit to behaviors (actions) that help them to develop more psychological flexibility.
Kindly put forward your experiences with ACT (and the Hexaflex tool) below.
Harris R. (2019) "ACT made simple: An Easy-to-Read Premier on Acceptance and Committed Therapy", New Harbinger Publications, Oakland CA.
Steven C. Hayes (2016) "Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change", Second Edition, the Guilford Press.