What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

What Is ACT

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychological intervention that teaches mindfulness skills as an effective way to deal with painful thoughts and feelings. The aim of ACT is to encourage individuals to accept what is out of their control, and commit to taking action to improve their life. Rather than trying to control negative thoughts, feelings, memories, ACT teaches individuals to notice and accept these sensations with the use of mindfulness.

ACT has been found to be successful in treating a broad range of issues such as depression, panic, trauma, and pain.

The 5 Core Principles of ACT

  1. Acceptance. This involves learning how to make room for distressing thoughts, feeling and sensations, without struggling with them.
  2. Cognitive defusion. This involves learning how to detach from unhelpful thoughts, images, emotions and memories that cause distress. The goal of cognitive defusion is to become more aware of our thoughts, and chose how to best respond, rather than struggle with them.
  3. Contact with the present moment. This involves focusing our awareness on the here and now, and connecting with whatever is happening in this moment.
  4. Observing the self. This involves the awareness and attention we have over our thoughts and feelings and accessing a transcendent self of self.
  5. Values. This involves discovering what is important and matters to us. 6. Committed action. This involves setting goals that are based on our values, and most importantly, acting in accordance with our values.

When you put all these things together, you develop psychological flexibility. This is the ability to be aware and present in the moment, and take action based on your values. In other words, it means moving towards the things that matter most.

What Does ACT Involve?

When working with your Psychologist on ACT, they will guide you through a number of skills designed to help you learn psychological flexibility. These may include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Values

Like CBT skills, these strategies have strong long term outcomes as they can be practiced away from session and form the foundation of new habits. 

Start ACT With Cadence Psychology

Ready to start developing psychological flexibility and moving towards the things that matter to you in life? We’re ready to help you out. Just give us a call on 0478 876 678 or contact us using the form below to arrange an appointment.

You can also get more general information about Cadence Psychology’s approach to treatment, including costs and what to expect, on our Therapy page.