From an ACT approach, early sessions are most likely to focus on functional assessment, clarifying the problem and the client’s awareness of and insight into what’s happening. This includes how they respond to anxious thoughts and feelings, and how well it’s working to respond that way. You also examine together what it costs to try and control anxiety.
Hunting and Gathering
At the start of treatment, talk about anxiety from a functional contextual conceptualization in layman’s terms, outlining how anxiety has been adaptive at the societal level. When our predecessors were hunting and gathering, those who didn’t listen to that feeling in their stomach and ran straight into the brush probably didn’t go on to procreate and get to be our ancestors. So anxiety has been a useful tool for protection and survival.