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  • Writer's pictureJasmine Dixon


How to free your focus from negative thoughts, images, and memories.

I recently had the pleasure of obtaining my Level 2 Diploma in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. During my studies, I was introduced to the powerful concept of De-Fusion. A simple process to free our minds from the pain of negative fixations, rumination, and catastrophising thoughts. Instead of becoming “fused” with our negative thoughts, or having our daily decisions influenced by them, De-Fusion allows us to see our thoughts for what they are: nothing more or less than words and pictures.

De-Fusion is especially beneficial to those experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression, but anyone seeking a clear and mindful outlook can benefit from these easy De-Fusing techniques:

1: Notice

For this popular technique, we will use the example negative thought: “I’m not clever enough”.

  1. Acknowledge the negative thought that has fused with your sense of self and become a belief: “I’m not clever enough”.

  2. Add on “I’m having the thought that I’m not clever enough”.

  3. Now also add “I notice I’m having the thought that I’m not clever enough.”

In just three quick steps you transform self-critical thoughts into an awareness that negative thoughts are just words, not reality. You De-Fuse from the negative beliefs you previously held.

2: Question

When experiencing an anxious, irritable, low, or angry mood, ask yourself:

  1. What is my mind telling me right now?

  2. How well do these negative thoughts actually work for me?

  3. Right now, how hooked am I on these negative thoughts?

These questions allow you to easily identify if you have become fused with a negative thought/belief, and consequently provide the mental space to step back, De-Fuse, and recognise how unhelpful the thoughts really were. This is an empowering process as you regain control and direction of your thoughts.

3: Imagine

Another good way to De-Fuse and separate from negative thoughts is to use visualisations:

  • Imagine yourself comfortable inside your home. See your thoughts simply as cars driving past outside. Let them come and go.

  • Imagine yourself as the vast, ever-present, blue sky. See your thoughts as clouds drifting by. Even the worst storms can’t harm the sky above them.

  • Imagine yourself as a beautiful golden or white beach. See your thoughts as the waves lapping on the shore. The tide always goes out again.

This approach can be used for all thoughts, not just negative words, imagery, and memories. Separating yourself from your thoughts, negative, positive, or neutral, can help you to attain and channel your focus onto what is most important to you.

4: Profile

If you notice you are ruminating on an unwanted thought, fear, or memory, De-Fuse by describing it as a separate entity. Ask yourself:

  • What does this thought look like?

  • What does this thought sound like? Does it have a silly voice?

  • Where is this thought located? Where is it dwelling in my mind/body?

This concept is similar to seeing our negative thoughts as mischievous demons trying to trouble us. By giving thoughts their own identity, we De-Fuse them from our own beliefs.

De-Fusion is just one of the fantastic approaches to wellbeing that ACT encourages. If you believe you could benefit further from this therapy, contact the practice today to book a consultation and discover what more this therapy can bring to your life.

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