Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What the FRAC?

I haven't posted much about my mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, because it's more emotional than intellectual; less about acquiring knowledge and more about the process. But I summarized the process today with my therapist.

Basically, mindfulness allows you to regain your emotional balance and cope with an upsetting or angering situation. It doesn't change the situation, just helps you cope with it as best you can -- and keeps you from making it worse by getting upset, anxious or angry.

"Basically," I said, "it's feel the feeling, breathe to calm and center yourself, accept the situation, and cope with it. F-B-A-C. F-BAC."

"It would be nice if we could come up with a better acronym," opined my therapist. "More vowels maybe."

I thought out loud for a few minutes. I didn't come up with a vowel, but I changed "breathe" to "respire." So it's "feel - respire - accept - cope" or FRAC.

I'm supposed to practice FRAC sometime this week by going to a social event, since I've been hibernating so much. Not sure if I'll be able to find one I can tolerate this week, but next week there are a few possibilities.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. If you want more vowels, how about "experience" instead of "feel"? (From what I know of mindfulness, it is no less accurate.) That would give you EBAC. Too bad I can't think of a replacement for "cope" that begins with a Y. (EBAY would be a cool acronym.)

  2. "Experience" doesn't really work. Controlled experiences are the goal of mindfulness practice. Overpowering feelings are the reason you practice -- so that you learn how to control your feelings rather than vice versa. "EBAY" wouldn't be a therapeutic acronym -- it's too strongly associated with the auction website.

    I actually really like "FRAC." It's memorable, brief, and the only stretch is "respire." The CAGE alcoholism screener is even more convoluted, but it's memorable and useful:

    Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?

    Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

    Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?

    Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?