Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT is a form of CBT that looks at how you can get stuck in rigid and inflexible patterns of thinking and behaviour that can unintentionally result in increased levels of distress and suffering. These rigid patterns can disconnect you from the people and things in your life that you hold as important and meaningful.

ACT focuses on increasing psychological flexibility, which is the abililty to be in the present moment with full awareness and openness,  to respond flexibly and effectively to difficult, painful or unhelpful thoughts and feelings, in order to engage in values guided actions. Russ Harris, an ACT therapist and author (The Happiness Trap; The Confidence Gap) describes psychological flexibility as the ability to:

"be present, open up, and do what matters"


Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

ACT focuses on training two related skills: Mindfulness & Values Based Action. These two skills are intimately related and when combined have been found to help improve people's well-being and behavioural effectiveness.

Mindfulness skills: This involves learning psychological skills which help you to handle painful thoughts and feelings more effectively. The aim it to reduce the unhelpful impact and influence these thoughts and feelings have over your actions. Mindfulness skills involve present moment awareness training, developing the ability to step back from, and not get entangled or absorbed in, unhelpful thoughts and feelings.

Values Based Action skills: This involves identifying and defining your personal values (what is important and meaningful to you), using your values as a guide to your actions and goals, and mindfully engaging in values based actions.

ACT Acronym

A = Accept your thoughts and feelings, and be present.

C = Choose your valued direction.

T = Take action

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