Request an appointment by clicking here or by calling 704-444-0087


Values Exercises in

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

by Dr. Jan Newman

Many of our psychologists use ACT when working with teens and adults online in throughout the United States

North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Florida, and several other states under PSYPACT.

“Hold your values lightly, but pursue them vigorously.”
Dr. Russ Harris talks about the difference between values and goals.
Who and how do you want to be at home, at work, in your community, and in the world?

As a parent, partner, friend, daughter, or son? How do you want to be in your workplace, team, community, or other groups?

Values Exercises in

According to Russ Harris, values are “desired qualities of action: how you want to behave; how you want to treat yourself, others, and the world around you.”

They are the principles that guide and motivate us throughout our lives, and they require ACTION to live and move in the world.

Written / Online Exercises
Assessment Measures
Podcast Episodes
Videos / Ted Talks
Values-Focused Mindfulness Exercises
“Hold your values lightly, but pursue them vigorously.“Psychological flexibility is the ability to adapt to a situation with awareness, openness, and focus and to take effective action, guided by your values.” ”
— Russ Harris, Happiness Trap
What Values Are and Aren’t

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, values form the why and the how of action. Here are some important rules about values:

  1. Values are not goals. They can’t be accomplished. You can’t check them off a checklist. There’s no end game. As Dr. J tells her clients, values are the “infinite end game.” My values as a parent can never be attained. There’s no point where I will say, “There you go. I’m done acting like your parent.” A goal is different. My parenting value of being loving could guide a goal for an action of taking 10 minutes a day to give my child special time with minimal interruptions and active listening and specific labeled praise.


  2. Values are not feelings. Sometimes people will say that a value as a feeling like “being happy” or “feeling successful.” As much as we want control over our feelings, we don’t have it. Has anyone ever told you to calm down? How did it work? You feel what you feel. As my grandmother used to say, “it is what it is.” And, as I often tell my clients, the feelings that come along with following your values look less like the scene from Wizard of Oz with the happy munchkins and more like the part where they walked through the dark forest with flying monkeys, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! If I spend time taking care of my partner on the weekend when he is sick, I will be sacrificing things that might be more fun. In the long run, though, following my values may create more positive emotions.


  3. Values are about your actions, not other people’s. Sometimes when my adult clients ask for help on their dating profiles, we will discuss the qualities they are looking for in a partner. When we move to values, people often will say “my value is having someone who treats me with love and respect.”

    If you can’t control the actions behind it, it’s not a value. A value of loving would be “to express love and care in my actions towards others.” If I value being loving as a parent and hug my child to express my value of being “loving” and he doesn’t return it, I didn’t fail at my value. There’s no end game, remember? So, then it’s what can I do right now to be loving towards my son in this moment? It could be checking in with him, “Can I check in with you about what happened? . . . everything ok, honey?”


  4. Values are context-driven. Your values depend on what’s going on in your environment. When your partner raises their voice at your child, you will notice that there is a conflict between values for your child and your partner. In this situation, you may honor your value of compassion and loving towards your child but checking in with your partner which can be done in a way that empowers and respects him or her yet reflects the teamwork you value in your co-parenting?


As an online or virtual therapy practice, our mission is to offer a variety of online therapy services to help you focus on your needs. We take the stress out of getting the treatment you deserve with our flexible, convenient, and easy-to-use therapy and assessment services. We offer online therapy in several states including North Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Washington DC, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennesee, Texas, Virginia, and Utah, and all PSYPACT states, and we new states added to our list on a regular basis.

We specialize in working with high-performing professionals, executives, lawyers, entrepreneurs, physicians and other healthcare professionals, creatives, athletes, and students (college, graduate, and professional programs). We will soon be offering for high-achieving teens who want and are a good fit for online or virtual therapy. Our therapists are all doctoral-level psychologists.  Depending on the therapist you see, we can offer help with stress and burnout, anxiety, trauma and PTSD, ADHD, and depression as well as vicarious trauma, life transitions, and relationship problems. Learn more about the cost of online therapy on our investment page. Getting the best therapist for your needs no matter where you live and being able to fit it into your busy schedule might be the secret. Online therapy may be the answer you’ve been looking for! We use evidence-based treatment methods including ACT, DBT, RO-DBT, CBT, ERP, and trauma-informed therapies.

Please contact our office and request an appointment to hear about the many ways we can help you thrive and be successful in work and life, and hopefully all the way around.


Please subscribe to our email list for updates on psychology and wellness topics, events, workshops, and blog updates. Please visit our blog which offers mental health information on relevant topics. We have also curated recommendations on books, apps, videos and Ted Talks, and some products to help you thrive. You can also check out some of our podcast interviews and article interviews here. If you are interested in high-performance habits and behavior change, check out our founder’s executive coaching page and podcast called Mastering Momentum!