What are Values?

The Oxford Dictionairy explains Values as follows:

  • how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged
  • how much something is worth compared with its price
  • the quality of being useful or important
  • beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life
  • the amount represented by a letter or symbol


In ACT therapy speak there can be confusion about this too.. Yes, Family could be important in your life, but that is not a value.. Family is a Life Domain (more about that later) and Family Values are Values, although that does not say much about you.. What are your family values? What kind of mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, grandmother, grandfather, step-something, something-inlaw etc. do you want to be? For me personally, a sister needs to be supportive – so I am supportive as a sister (or aim to be), which also means that I want to be supportive towards myself (how can I be that to others, if I cannot lead by example and be supportive of myself?) and I hope that my sisters are supportive in return (which they are!), although I do know that that might not be their ‘being a sister value’.

One of the aims in ACT is to live a full and meaningful life (a meaningful life is a construct having to do with the purpose, significance, fulfillment, and satisfaction of life wiki). By living according to my values I achieve this, with the added satisfaction that I am me, are being me and become a better version of me. So, when either of my sisters calls, I remind myself that I want to be supportive and enjoy our conversation even more – it has more meaning. I call or text more frequent, being pro-actively supporting. When I realise that I am not too supportive of myself, I give myself a shake (catch myself) and re-adjust, with self-compassion.

Now of course above is only one example.. Want to know more?

For (trainee) counsellors and life coaches we are organising a full residential weekend of Introduction to ACT, on the weekend of the 14th of October, whereby we discuss values and how to work with them effectively in depth. You are most welcome on Friday from 4pm, although we officially start at 7pm with dinner. Saturday and Sunday are full of experiential learning and on Monday morning at 9am you are kindly urged to go home, assimilate, and put the weekend into practice! Full board, coffee, tea, water, training materials and The Happiness Trap 2ed included. £249 per person. Contact us for a booking form and payment options.