Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Do you get entangled in your mind, lose touch with the present, and engage in futile battles with your own thoughts and feelings; repeatedly lose touch with your core values and act in self-defeating ways? We all will encounter many similar struggles in our lives, including disappointment, rejection, failure, betrayal, loss, loneliness, sickness, injury, grief, resentment, anxiety, insecurity and death. This is all part of the human experience. ACT can help you deal with life struggles and painful feelings by developing mental flexibility and resilience .
So what is ACT?
ACT is a scientifically based behavioural therapy that is derived from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and similarly assumes that our thought processes influence our feelings and, in turn, our behaviour.
ACT is derived from one of its core messages: to ‘accept’ what is out of your personal control and commit to taking action to improve your life. The aim of ACT is basically very simple; to help you create a rich, full and meaningful life while effectively handling the pain and stress that goes with it.
Who might find it useful?
ACT is a valuable therapy to use in developing positive mental health and is also successful in treating a variety of disorders. For example:
.... and more
How does ACT differ from CBT?
In CBT it is the content of thoughts that are felt to be problematic and the aim is to change these thoughts. ACT differs from CBT in that it does not try to change the content of thoughts but our relationship with the thoughts.
In ACT the problem is considered to be our fusion with thoughts. I.e. If we become consumed by a thought by really becoming hooked into it, to the point that it has a negative impact on the way we act and feel and restricts us from living the life that we want to lead.
The aim of ACT is not to reduce symptoms but to fundamentally change your relationship with your symptoms.
How does ACT work?
Firstly it helps you develop psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings more effectively in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you.
You will be encouraged to notice what is actually happening in the here and now around you. Human beings have an amazing capacity to get themselves lost in thoughts and feelings and live in their heads. Using Mindfulness you will learn to step back from negative thoughts and observe your thoughts.
Acceptance, rather than resistance, allows thoughts and feelings to flow in and out more freely, instead of struggling with them. It is important to note that acceptance does not mean liking or wanting the thoughts but learning to live with them so they no longer impact negatively on your life.
Secondly ACT helps you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – your values. We then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you when making changes in your life.
ACT gets you in touch with what really matters in the big picture: your hearts deepest desires for whom you want to be and what you want to do during your brief time on this planet.
You can then use these core values to guide, motivate and inspire behavioural change.
Accept what is out of your personal control
Commit to taking action that enriches your life
Mindful valued living
Who wouldn’t benefit from being more psychologically present; more in touch with their values, more able to make room for the inevitable pain of life; more able to defuse from unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories; more able to take effective action in the face of emotional discomfort, more able to engage fully in what they’re doing; and more able to appreciate each moment of their life, no matter how they’re feeling?