DUMC Box 3842

Duke Clinics, 40 Duke Medicine Circle

3rd Floor, Purple Zone, Suite 3700
Durham, NC 27710
Tel: 919-681-7231

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Phone: 919-681-7231

Acceptance Exercises


If you know what you are looking for, click on the link below to be taken directly to the exercise. Otherwise, explore this lists of exercises we have compiled for fun!

Writing Acceptance Activity

Accepting, Choosing-Committing, Taking Action



Writing Acceptance Activity


Submitted by Matthieu Villatte

This exercise is a fun way to help clients understand acceptance.


1st part: The clinician gives a sheet of paper and a pen to the client and says "I'm going to ask you to write a sentence if you're okay". Then the clinician puts an obstacle (a piece of carton board, for ex) in front of client's eyes and says "Wait a minute, is this annoying you if I put this in front of your eyes? Would you prefer if I'd take it off? Well, I'm sorry but I'm going to let it there though. However, as you said you prefer to see while you're writing, I allow you to do everything you want to try to see what you're writing. You can move your head, you can get up... Just do everything you can to see what you're writing. Is that okay? So let's go!"


Usually, after 20 to 30 seconds the client has still not written anything readable because s/he has been too occupied with trying to avoid the obstacle so we stop the first part of the exercise. The clinician then says "How was it? Was it difficult? Have you been able to write the sentence? Can we read it?" Obviously not.


2nd part: The clinician says "Well, I'm going to propose you another approach to help you write this sentence-finally. I'm sorry but I'm going to let the carton in front of your eyes again. But this time, I propose you not to try to bypass the obstacle but to concentrate your efforts on writing. Maybe it won't be easy but just do your best to write the best you can so as we will be able to read the sentence."


Generally, the client very quickly writes a sentence that we are able to read and we can debrief then. A possibility is to ask the client to write some action linked to his/her value and to write on the carton the things s/he tries to avoid (a painful thought for ex). Also: sometimes clients or participants in workshops get the thing during the first part of the exercise (i.e. s/he stops trying to avoid the obstacle and starts writing the sentence).


This is good too because it means they understand the approach by themselves. But it can be also interesting to encourage them to do as much as possible to see while writing so as to make them observe the difference between the two approaches.


Accepting, Choosing-Committing, Taking Action Tom Lavin MFT, LCADC, ACATA Accept what is, as it is Slowly… take a few deep breaths… Allow your thoughts and feelings to emerge and just be there… the ones you like… and the ones you don’t like… take few more deep breaths… and just let your thoughts and feelings be there… Take a few more deep breaths… and let your thoughts and feelings be there… —not judging them and not trying to make them go away… Just let your thoughts and feelings be there. Accepting your thoughts and feelings does not mean you like them and it doesn’t mean you like the situation … Just let your thoughts and feelings be there…let the situation be there… and then settle into accepting what is, as it is… If you’re having a hard time accepting what is, go ahead and accept that you’re having a hard time accepting what is…that you really wish the thought or feelings or the situation were different…but they’re not…so you’re willing to accept what is, as it is… After accepting what is as it is, focus on what’s important to you-is there something about this you want to change---do you want to change your perspective? Or change the situation? What do you want to change? If you think you can make the change, develop and plan a strategy to make the change you discern would be good… …then…engage in NIKE Therapy---be willing to “ just do it”… Be willing to take positive, assertive action… However, if you can’t change the situation and you’re struggling with your perspective….. let go……......let go…..……let go….. Let it go for today. Just let it be. Let it go… and move on… Say “Yes to Life”… … and focus your attention on other people and activities you value.


By: Tom Lavin, shared through ACBS