ACT for Burnout: Clarifying Values

Jessica-Borushok

Key Points

  1. Clarifying values involves asking questions about different domains of the client’s life and understanding what is important within each domain: not people or things but what is valued about them.
  2. When working on career values, defining the client’s current situation and goals can help to relieve burnout-induced fear and provide ways forward.
  3. When abstract concepts such as peace or happiness are given as values, the therapist should ask the client to give tangible examples of them, and what is valued about those.
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Values and Relationships

Once we’ve distinguished context from what can be changed, we move on to clarifying values. Some clients are clear about their values; in such cases, what makes burnout so difficult is their awareness of disconnection from them. But Jack had little understanding of what was important to him beyond work.

Identifying values can be as simple as asking a broad question about what is important to a client, or narrower questions about different domains of their life. Jack identified his wife as being important to him, as his “rock”. The therapist asked what was important to him about his relationship with her, not what was important to him about her.

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