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Your diagnosis need not be a fight for your survival, but the revival of your life.

Enchanted by Richard Friend

A Foreword to Support ACT from CLL Support

What is Support ACT?

Support ACT is a collection of emotional wellbeing exercises based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Think of Support ACT as a toolbox from which you can select the appropriate tool for your given emotional circumstances. Like all tools, the more you use them the more adept you become.

ACT has been shown to be an effective psychological approach for helping people manage the worry, anxiety and stress associated with long term physical health conditions.

Why are we providing these tools?

It has been apparent to the Trustees of CLL Support that the individual emotional impact of being diagnosed with CLL, indeed of any blood cancer, is not widely understood in the clinical community and therefore help is patchy at best and non-existent at worst.

We don’t have the power to fix the shortage of psychological services within the Health Service, but we decided we could help our community by developing a suite of emotional wellbeing self-help exercises.

What are the psychological problems we are addressing?

Anxiety inevitably starts with confirmation of the diagnosis of CLL and never truly goes away.

CLL has been described as an emotional roller coaster ride, but it doesn’t have to be a frightening ride. With support and help it can be smoothed out and a balance can be achieved. We believe that ACT can help you with this.

An important point

Support ACT is not intended to replace face to face counselling and we would urge you to always discuss emotional wellbeing issues with your clinical team.

Please let us know if you find this tool of value and any other sources of wellbeing support that you believe we should consider.

You can live well with CLL.

Acknowledgements.

The Trustees of CLL Support would like to thank the following people who gave freely and generously of their time and expertise to help develop Support ACT.

First and foremost, we must thank Pinky Jimenez-Agrawal – Occupational Therapist.

Pinky, who is an ACT practitioner, devoted a lot of her precious time to researching, writing and compiling the Support ACT script, including recording audio and video clips to make the tool as accessible as possible to all who wish to use it.

The independent, clinical, peer reviews of the script were conducted by:

Dr. Tara O’Neill CPsychol. AFBPsS. Consultant Clinical Psychologist D.Clin. Psych, MA, BSc (Hons) Psychology

Dr. Jo Nicholson D.Clin. Psych, BSc (Hons) Psychology

We also owe our thanks to Russ Harris, author of the international best seller, The Happiness Trap for allowing us to use material from his excellent book.

And finally, our thanks to AstraZeneca for their grant which has funded the work on web design and build. AstraZeneca have had no editorial control over the content.

Support ACT is built on a standalone platform linked to CLL Support’s website cllsupport.org.uk.

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Support ACT aims to help you in your journey. Come have a walk with us and we can show you strategies to help you navigate the path ahead

 

This guide is your partner who will walk with you. It is important that you practice the exercises at every opportunity you can. It’s like driving a car. You can’t drive safely after one lesson. You practice driving until it becomes second nature to you. Practicing leaves an imprint of the exercises in your brain and helps develop psychological flexibility and arms you with the tools to meet your challenges.

Along with the exercises, you will get to know some metaphors that will illustrate the impact of your thoughts and feelings on your behaviour, helping you to be open to other ways of responding rather than what the mind or body clamours for.

You can start on any of the processes. The path is not necessarily linear. Each process is independent and there is no right order for you to approach them. As each person is different, the flexibility of this approach is accessible to everyone.

 

Let us begin practising