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Confronting Avoidance: ACT Skill

Avoidance is a common response to uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and sensations. But what we resist tends to persist: Pushing away difficult internal states gets us more trapped in them. Once we realize this paradox, we can more effectively embrace our inner experience, including the uncomfortable parts.

The Confronting Avoidance: ACT Skill worksheet presents experiences people frequently avoid as well as the strategies they use to do this. Clients are invited to name the thoughts and feelings they avoid most, evaluate the cost of this avoidance, and examine the accuracy of their beliefs about it. Finally, they will identify concrete ways to face what they’ve been avoiding.

Use this worksheet to help clients challenge their avoidance and work toward unconditional acceptance of their inner experience. Inspired by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), this resource pairs wonderfully with this therapeutic approach, but it’s also effective for clients with anxiety, depression, OCD, or any condition in which avoidance plays a role.

For related ACT tools, see our Thought Defusion and Becoming Psychologically Flexible worksheets.

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