In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), the term cognitive defusion refers to ways in which we can begin to take a step back from the content of our thinking and notice the process. What this means is that we are able to see our thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations as just that–thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations! In doing so, we aren’t as caught up in them. For example, the thought, “I’m a bad person” becomes, “I’m having the thought, ‘I’m a bad person.'” Defusion allows us to see that we can’t control our inner experiences, but we can choose how we respond to them.
The exercises below are ways of practicing defusion.
The Tin Can Monster exercises takes you through a difficult experience, helping you to approach the experience one part at a time. The longer Tin Can Monster below was recorded by Dr. Lawrence Needeman. It was downloaded from the Association for Contextual Behavior Therapy website. There are 8 parts that you can listen to separately:
We also have the whole tin can monster in a zip file.
Below is an abbreviated version of the Tin Can Monster recorded by Ann Bailey and posted on her blog.
Thanking Your Mind Technique
Return to main Exercises and Audio Files page.