Identifying values

Clarifying values is an important process for individuals who are seeking to improve their well-being and personal growth. This process is rooted in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which emphasises the importance of emotional and cognitive flexibility for human flourishing.

What are values?

Values can be defined as ‘what is most important and meaningful in an individual’s life.’ Values function as a guide in making important decisions and motivate an individual to take effective action towards value driven goals. These are known as ‘towards’ and ‘away’ moves from the vision/version an individual wants to create for themself, relationships, and life. Values can be difficult to identify because they are often hidden beneath everyday behaviours and routines. Clarifying values involves learning to identify core values that are personally meaningful, and that reflect what gives life purpose and vitality.

Working with a Psychotherapist who specialises in clarification of values can help, click here to make contact

Identifying values

The difference between goals and values

Accessing values is important for well-being and personal growth and allows individuals to make choices that are in alignment with intrinsic deeply held beliefs and goals. When an individual is operating in a way that is consistent with their values, they experience a sense of authenticity and purpose in life. Additionally, living in alignment with values often leads to feelings of fulfilment and satisfaction, providing a sense of meaning and purpose that enhances overall well-being.

Through the process of clarifying values in treatment, individuals are guided to begin to make conscious choices that reflect what is most meaningful to them in life. This process promotes self-awareness and enhances the ability to take effective action towards personal growth and development. As such, clarifying values is a deeply meaningful and transformative process that can facilitate psychological healing and enhance overall well-being.

Identifying values

In sessions, individuals will be supported with identifying their values with,

  1. Reflection on past experiences: Thinking about times in life when the individual felt most alive, fulfilled, and connected, a sense of purpose. What values were engaged with in this experience?
  2. Considering what is important: Taking time to reflect on what is most important to the individual in life. What is valued in relationships, work, hobbies, and personal life? What kind of in-person does the individual want to be?
  3. Identify what the individual wishes to stand for: What causes or issues are the individual passionate about? What do they want to contribute to the world?
  4. Explore different values: Take some time to explore different values and consider how they align with the individual’s own sense of purpose and meaning. Some common values include compassion, courage, creativity, freedom, honesty, integrity, justice, love, loyalty, and wisdom.
  5. Implementing values: Once values have been identified in treatment, a plan can be put into place to assist the individual to live in alignment with these values and make them a priority in life.


Identifying values is an ongoing process. Values can shift and evolve over time as an individual engages with new experiences and gains insights. Working with a Psychotherapist can allow an individual to identify, prioritise and explore different values.

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