Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based therapy that focuses on acceptance and mindfulness strategies and commitment to behaviour change to increase your ability to adjust to the stresses in the present moment and act inline with your values.
ACT VS CBT
ACT is commonly compared against Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as both therapies are behaviour-based approaches. ACT differs from CBT as it focuses on individuals being able to accept instead of avoiding the situations they are facing, whereas CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative beliefs. ACT can be administered for both short and long term, but CBT is typically short term only.
Key points of ACT
- Acceptance – To allow negative experiences to exist without denying or trying to change them
- Cognitive Defusion – Reducing attention on the negative experiences
- Mindfulness – Ability to talk about the present situation without passing judgement
- Self as Context – Idea that you are not a sum of your experiences, thoughts or emotions but rather as a conscious being experiencing these thoughts and emotions
- Values – What you stand for
- Commitment – Taking effective action guided by values (both physical and psychological actions)
Through ACT, you will learn to listen to the way you talk to yourself, and experiences like traumatic events, problematic relationships, etc. You and your therapist will decide if immediate action to change the situation is necessary, or if accepting the situation and learning from it to make step-by-step behavioural changes. By analysing what had and had not worked before, your therapist can guide you to avoid repeating previously problematic thought patterns and behaviours. After facing and accepting your current issues, you can start to practice more optimistic behaviours following your values.
When will your therapist engage you with ACT?
Some of the most common mental illnesses that can be treated effectively with ACT:
- Substance Abuse
- Chronic Pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Accept your thoughts and feelings, Choose a valued direction, Take action
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