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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Updated:

Jul 8, 2023

Reviewed by:

Ben Pearson, LCSW

"Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an evidence-based approach that helps individuals develop psychological flexibility, increase values-based action, and effectively cope with distressing thoughts and emotions." - Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS)

Overview

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of psychotherapy that combines mindfulness, acceptance, and behavioral change strategies to help individuals develop psychological flexibility and live a meaningful life. It emphasizes accepting uncomfortable thoughts and emotions while committing to actions that align with personal values.

Process

How Does ACT Work? What is the Process?

  • Mindfulness: You learn to observe and accept their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judgment which helps to create present-moment awareness.


  • Values Clarification: You work to identify and clarify your deeply held values to determine what truly matters.


  • Acceptance: You practice accepting and allowing your thoughts and emotions to arise without struggling against or trying to control them.


  • Cognitive Defusion: You learn to distance yourself from your thoughts, recognizing that thoughts are not necessarily facts and can be observed without attachment.


  • Commitment to Action: You identify and commit to actions that align with your values and take steps towards living a meaningful and purposeful life.


  • Behavioral Change: You engage in behavioral exercises and homework to practice new skills and behaviors that support your values.

process

Benefits

Physical Benefits

  • Improved stress management and reduced physiological arousal

  • Enhanced overall well-being and quality of life

  • Reduced physical symptoms associated with stress and anxiety