DNA-V – the ACT model for children and adolescents

What is DNA-V?

DNA-V is a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and positive psychology, both underpinned by behavioural science. It’s designed to help young people cope with challenges, stress and with change. The model was created by internationally renowned researchers, practitioners, and best-selling authors: Joseph Ciarrochi, Louise Hayes, and Ann Bailey. DNA-V is deliberately designed to be simple and easy to understand and is very popular with psychologists, therapists, mental health professionals, teachers, counsellors and coaches.

There is a large and growing body of scientific evidence that ACT and DNA-V work with children, adolescents and adults and it’s increasingly being used by primary through to university teachers in school and college curricula, in mental health clinics for young people and with parents. DNA-V helps young people learn the vital life skills needed to thrive, grow and be the best that they can be. With adults it’s used in a wide variety of fields including professional athletes and managers in many workplaces to help them respond to difficult situations by improving their psychological strength in a changing world.

Steven C. Hayes, co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy states “DNA-V is one of most important innovations in ACT in the last several years and is arguably THE most important in work with adolescents.”

Benefits of the DNA-V approach

The whole purpose of DNA-V is to help people develop flexible strength – the ability to persist in important things that they value and care about, and to change behaviour that is making their life worse.

What does DNA-V stand for?

Diagram for DNA-V model

The letters D, N, and A stand for three types of behaviour that are embedded within our self and social contexts.

Discoverer refers to the trial-and-error behaviour that functions to expand and build skills, resources, and social networks.

Noticer refers to any behaviour that functions to increase the awareness of experience.

Advisor refers to verbal behaviour that functions to save people from the need for trial-and-error learning so they can navigate efficiently and safely through the world.

The model guides a practitioner to develop people’s skilled use of Discoverer, Noticer, and Advisor, to build values and vitality (V). The model improves their ability to flexibly shift behaviours, depending on what they value and what the situation permits and demands.

Visit our DNA-V resources page for a reading list and useful links about this very important ACT tool.

Upcoming live training

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