Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT (pronounced like the word “act”) is an evidence-based model of psychotherapy that aims to increase psychological flexibility. The basic premise of ACT is to work towards “acceptance” of what is outside of your control and to make a commitment to making changes that will improve and enrich your life. ACT does this by helping you utilize mindfulness skills to lessen the impact of painful thoughts and feelings that are an inevitable part of life, clarify values, and make conscious steps toward moving in the direction of those values.
To achieve psychological flexibility and move towards valued living, ACT uses 6 core processes:
- Contacting the present moment – This concept is related to mindfulness. It’s being aware of what is happening in the here-and-now, no matter what that is.
- Defusion – Defusion from thoughts means learning to take a step back and recognize what your inner self-talk is about internal and external events.
- Acceptance – Acceptance means making room for painful emotions and thoughts. Rather than struggling to get rid of difficult thoughts and feelings, the goal is to change the relationship with thoughts and feelings so that it’s easier for them to come and go without interfering in your life.
- Self-As-Context – This concept is related to meta-cognition. As humans, we have the ability to not only think thoughts, but we have the ability to think about our thoughts, actions, and feelings in an objective way. Understanding your internal process can be helpful in making meaningful change.
- Values – This is what you want in life or what you stand for. Figuring out what you want and what ultimately matters to you in big picture terms can help create motivation for making change.
- Committed Action – This is the doing part. It’s the digging deep down and finding the motivation to do what is necessary to move in the direction of your values, even if it’s difficult.
ACT is a contemporary form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has demonstrated effectiveness with many psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. At Life Changes Group, we recognize the importance of using research-based treatment methods for helping our clients live a valued life. Several of our clinicians are trained in ACT as well as complementary forms of psychotherapy.
If you would like to learn more about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, please feel free to contact our office at (617) 354-4450, or complete our online intake form.