Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is a type of therapy that aims to help clients accept what is out of their control and commit instead to actions that will improve their lives. It encourages people to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than fight them or feel guilty about them.
It may seem a bit confusing at first however, ACT and mindfulness-based therapy offers clinically effective treatment. ACT is used to work with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and OCD tendencies. And can work very well with any challenges that transitioning life events can pose.
ACT develops cognitive flexibility and is a form of behavioural therapy that combines mindfulness skills and the practice of self-acceptance. When we are aiming to be more accepting of our thoughts and feelings, commitment plays a key role. In this therapy framework we commit to facing the problem head-on rather than avoiding your stresses. Imagine committing to actions that help you facilitate your experience and embrace any challenge that arises.
There are six core processes of ACT that guide clients through therapy and provide a framework for developing cognitive flexibility:
Acceptance is an alternative to our instinct to avoid thinking about negative-or potentially negative experiences. It is the active choice to allow unpleasant experiences to exist, without trying to deny or change them. Acceptance is a method of encouraging action that will lead to positive results.
Cognitive diffusion in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy does not intend to limit our exposure to negative experiences, however it encourages clients to face them and come out the other side with a decreased fixation on these experiences.
Being Present is the practice of being aware of the present moment, without judging the experience. Simply experiencing what is happening without trying to predict or modify the experience.
Self as Context is the concept that an individual is not simply the sum of their experiences, emotions, or thoughts. It offers the alternative concept that there is a self outside of the current experience. We are not only what happens to us, we are the ones experiencing what happens to us.
Values, in reference to ACT, are the qualities we choose to work towards in any given moment. Each person holds values, consciously or unconsciously, that direct our steps. We use the tools in ACT to help us live our lives in accordance with the values that we place the most value in.
Committing to actions in ACT aims to guide clients to look at their long-term goals and live a life consistent with their values. Positive behaviour changes will not occur without awareness of how a certain behaviour affects us.
ACT emphasises acceptance instead of avoidance, and thereby, differs from many other forms of therapy.
If ACT is a form of therapy you would like to try, reach out and let’s have chat to see if we can use it to empower you in your life.