handling difficult emotions better

Vsevolod Ardov

(F)ACT, MI, CFT and EFT therapist
with international qualifications

My story

I used to fantasise about being a therapist in my adolescence but I never had the guts to admit it, not to say to apply for a studying programme. I wouldn’t see such people around, that was not a usual thing in my circle and… all of these cool dream jobs were meant for others, not for me, right? 

Only later did I get to know ACT ideas about life aligned with your values and how to handle all of these difficult thoughts and feelings that arise.

Yes, my brain still says “it’s so complicated and scary for you” at times – but it’s OK. Now I have the skills to UNhook from these stories.

 

Qualifications

The name “acceptance and commitment therapy” reflects a key message: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves your life. It’s a very active form of therapy/coaching. It’s not just talking about your problems and feelings.

Our aim here is to work together as a team, to help you be the sort of person you want to be and build the sort of life you want to live. Part of this approach involves learning skills to handle difficult thoughts and feelings more effectively, so they have less impact and influence over you. When we introduce these skills, I’ll ask you to practice them between sessions. You don’t have to do that, of course; but it’s like learning to play a guitar or drive a car: the more practice you do, the better you get.

ACT also involves clarifying your values: finding out what matters to you, what you want to stand for in life, what strengths and qualities you want to develop, how you want to treat yourself and others.

I want you to leave here after each session with an action plan: something practical to take away and use to actively improve your life.

I studied with the best trainers in Russia and the world: Daria Suchilina, Russ Harris,  Kirk Strosahl & Patricia Robinson (pioneers of the therapy)

FACT stands for Focused  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It’s a brief intervention for radical change in life. Following its tradition, I’ll try to see you on the same or the next day, maximum.

I studied with co-founders of the therapy, Strosahl Ph.D.&Patricia Robinson, Ph.D (certificate). 

In the first 10 minutes I’ll ask you a few questions about your life now and the reason for your visit. Then we’ll work together as a team, on a plan of the radical change to get you closer to the life worth living. Sometimes one visit is enough, but some people come back to fine-tune the original plan after experimenting with it for a while.

The session takes 35 min. 

CFT a was originally developed for people suffering from shame and self-criticism, who did not respond to other interventions well (Gilbert, 2009а; Rector et al., 2000). CFT helps clients not to run from difficult thoughts and feelings but approach them with compassion, feeling safe and secure.

I did my first course on CFT with the most prominent trainers in the field: Dr. Dennis Tirch & Dr. Laura Silberstein-Tirch. (certificate)
And then yet another course on it with the founder of the therapy, Prof. Paul Gilbert. (certificate)

I’m qualified to conduct DBT skills training with Dr. Marsha Linehan  the founder of the therapy (certificate)(СЕ).
It can help with:

  • mindfulness.
  • distress tolerance.
  • interpersonal effectiveness.
  • emotional regulation.

Now I’m working on integration of the skills into ACT through new emotion efficacy therapy, EET. We conducted a group on that in the middle of the Feb 2022 crisis. helping people to cope with what had happened.

I studied individual, couples and family Emotinally-Focused Therapy with its founder , Dr. Sue Johnson (Certificate). Nowadays I continue to attend workshops and supervisions with other trainers. 

Restoring secure attachment can help you feel seen, soothed, safe and secure on your own and with your loved ones.

Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2013)

First, I studied neurophysiology of mindfulness at programmes (1 and 2) of Monash University, Australia. Then, I delved into its history and philosophy at the programme of Leiden university, the Netherlands. I also participated in Snezhana Zamalieva’s course for trainers. Finally, I acquired indispensable skills of making my practices trauma-sensitive at Daria Suchilina’s course on ‘Cogntive therapy and Mindfulness skills for depression prevention’.

Motivatonal interviewing is a special type of discussion. It’s based on the premise that everyone of us is an expert in their own life with the therapist not knowing the right answer but being able to provide secure space for taking decisions.

I did a course with the co-founder of the approach, Stephen Rollnick. It was focused on making decisions on vaccination but is applicable for other dilemmas and life-style changes.
 
I also did a course on working with addictions (certificate), which MI was originally developed for. This really changed the way I had seen addictions and I have been feeling really empowered after that.

Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) is based on the latest research and is designed to support safer suicide care practices, such as Zero Suicide.  AMSR teaches a prevention-oriented risk formulation focused on planning not predicting (certificate)

I have also been trained to work with non-suicidal self-injury and know how to reduce your need to rely on this with the help of cognitive behavioural therapy. (certificate)

graduated from Institute of Psychotherapy and Medical Psychology of Saint Petersburg (Russia) as a psychologist and teacher of psychology.

This added up to my first teaching degree – I’m a Cambridge qualified teacher and teacher trainer (CELTA, DELTA M1). At some point in my career I understood that it doesn’t really matter what exactly you teach. Indeed, be it languages or psychological flexibility, you still work with people, you steal align your actions with your values. And for me it means being gentle to people and the brain.

Apart from my basic education in psychology, I delve into particular aspects of it:

I help with...

Anxiety and fears

When it’s really scary to do or not to do something, plus eating disorders

Depression and low mood

When you don’t feel like getting up in the morning and have lost interest in your favourite activities

Burnout and stress

When holidays and job change don’t help anymore

Procrastination

When you don’t feel like doing what had to be done yesterday

Loss and grief

When life hits hard

Sexual orientation issues

When it’s difficult to be with yourself, others or the world

New directions

When it’s difficult to choose a future direction and company

Trauma

When past experiences of traumatic events influence your life now

Addictions

When you feel it’s probably time to reassess and change your relationships with substances

Relationships

When you face miscommunication, misunderstanding or other problems

FAQ

I know many people wonder how many sessions are needed to deal with their issue. This is very reasonable. Unfortunately, nobody actually know how easy or difficult it will be for you to take up new skills from therapy and implement them in your life. Yes, some therapies do have protocols, but still there can be a lot of variation in the number of sessions or otherwise this would lead to being blind to your actual needs.
 
What I can guarantee for sure is that if you don’t try therapy,  it is highly unlikely to get better on its own.
 
On the final note, according to the statistics, some therapies are possible to take about 12-20 sessions.
Some more facts from K. Strosahl (Howard, Kopta, Krause, & Orlinsky, 1986):
  • 15% clients start feeling better when they decide to reach for help, even before the first session (unexpected, right?);
  • 50% of all benefits from therapy are received by the eighth session, then the progress may become slower.
Вообще да. Иногда 30 минут достаточно для кардинальных изменений,а иногда нужен повторный визит для дополнительной прокачки навыков или редактирования плана.
 
Важные факты от К. Строзаля:
FACT – единственная краткосрочная терапия, которая была изучена с контрольными группами – а это золотой стандарт в доказательной науке (Strosahl, Hayes, Bergan, & Romano, 1998);
 
По сравнению с ОРКТ (Ориентированной на решение краткосрочной терапией), терапевты FACT достигают тех же результатов примерно за 4 сессии, но с бóльшим уровнем удовлетворенности у клиентов, с значительно меньшим количеством бросивших терапию или направленных далее к психиатрам (SFBT; de Shazer, 1985).

Sessions

Individual

40€ / 35 min

60€ / 50 min

Couple

60€ / 80-90 min

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