AAIT, Not Your Grandfather’s Therapy

AAIT, Not Your Grandfather’s Therapy

written by: Melanie McGhee
by: Melanie McGhee
Therapy Therapy

The one thing most practitioners might disagree with about Acceptance and Integration Training (AAIT) is the value of our clients' narrative. With AAIT, the narrative doesn't serve as the primary filter, this principle does:

The true self is not inhibited by the limitations of a narrative. The true self is a being.

What this means is that when we are working with a client, a primary objective is to collaborate with our clients' true self for their highest goals, WHILE compassionately supporting their conditioned reactive self. This transpersonal approach, a form of spiritual counseling, shifts the paradigm on tuning into client narratives. We lean into the aphorism to see what to use and use what you see.

Most clients want to feel better, the faster, the more sustainable, the better. Our job is to help them untangle from the reactivity of their conditioning and stabilize in steadier states of being.

From the perspective of AAIT, we don't hold the content of the narrative in such high esteem as a trail into that territory. Though it does have two primary and important values: Engaged collaboration makes it easier for practitioners to readily establish a session contract, the agreement about what will be addressed in that session, the goal of time together. Engaged collaboration sets the stage to make sure we are on the same page with our clients and gives us a way to empower them with resources.

  1. to build and maintain the empathetic bridge of connection that allows for engaged collaboration
  2. to reveal the energy of tethered charge.

Of course, we don't want to interrupt the flow of a client's emotion as they relate their story. Our intention is not to inhibit expression of emotion and tethered thought patterns. At the same time, we aim not indulge the narrative further fueling our client's identification with it.

As we listen to our clients' stories, AAIT practitioners are adept at recognizing where the tethered tension may be binding the client to limited ideas about themselves, others and life.

As collaborators, we AND our clients decide when to leave the story and do the work of acceptance and integration.

What do you think is the value of a client's narrative? At what point do you leave it behind?