Health and Wellness

ACT: Taking Hurt to Hope

JoAnne Dahl, Ph.D.

ACT: Taking Hurt to Hope – Struggling with Intimacy

Welcome to ACT , taking hurt to hope. Today we are going to have a conversation about something that is centrally important to all of us in every stage of life from the new born child, through all of childhood, adolescence, young adults, middle aged persons and right through to those who are at the end stages of life. Intimacy. One definition of intimacy that might cover all stages of life could be a physical and emotional connection between two people. An intimate relationship is often defined as an interpersonal relationship that involves physical or emotion intimacy. It is not necessarily sexual in content but may be. REsearch shows that physical and emotional connection is just as much a basic need as it food and shelter. Humans have a general desire to belong and to love which is usually fulfilled in an intimate relationship. Intimate relationships provide a social network for people that provide strong emotional attachments and fulfill our needs to care for and be cared for. Because intimacy is so important it is also very very scary. Just the very thing we all long for, closeness, connection, feeling seen and accepted at the core level from another human being is just the thing we most often avoid. Animals don’t seem to have this problem. They seem to seek and enjoy intimacy when it is available. We, on the other hand complicate things by letting our fears of rejection overcloud and steer our actions. The tragedy is that even when intimacy is possible and available, we may avoid it in the service of avoidance the pain of possible rejection. According to ACT, this bizarre behavior is the product of human languaging.


Today we are going to have a discussion about how you can help yourself improve your own intimacy by using a therapeutic approach that is a sister therapy to ACT called FAP or Functional analytic Psychotherapy. YOu are about to meet an expert and a co-founder of this sister therapy to ACT, Dr Mavis Tsai. Mavis is a clinical psychologist in independent practice and the Director of the FAP Specialty Clinic at the University of Washington. She is the co-author of 4 books and over 50 publications. She has presented “Master Clinician” sessions at the Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapy, and has led numerous workshops nationally and internationally.) Her latest book, written with Robert Kohlenberg, Jonathan Kanter, Gareth Holman and Mary Plummer Loudon, is entitled “Functional Analytic Psychotherapy: Distinctive Features: to go to the website and contact us to be included in our Intimacy Now project where we will teach intimacy skills for the general public.