Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) What is it and how it helps?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a powerful form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It is an evidence-based intervention that uses values based acceptance and mindfulness approaches with commitment to develop psychological flexibility (Hayes, Strosahl and Wilson, 1999)

Psychological Flexibility = Doing things that matter, even when psychological barriers are present.

The ACT name comes from one of its key themes:

Learn how to accept those things that are out of your control and commit to changing those things that can be changed to make your life better.

This is a very active therapy. It’s not one of those therapies where we just talk about your problems. It’s a therapy in which you actively learn new skills to improve your quality of life.

For example, whether you are communicating with family or friends, working with the public or generally getting caught up in your own unhelpful thoughts and emotions.

Sequoia Psychology teaches skills that will help regulate your behaviour, to fully focus on the here and now. 

Focusing on the present, restarts your mind so you can respond thoughtfully, rather than automatically. Instead of lashing out in anger, not doing what you want due to fear, or mindlessly indulging a overwhelming craving, you get the chance to say to yourself…”This is the emotion I’m feeling. How will I respond in the most helpful way?”

As a simple way to summarize the ACT model, ACT views the core of many problems to be due to the beliefs signified in the acronym, FEAR:

F – Fusion with your thoughts (stuff your mind tells you that gets in the way when you get caught up in it, especially, reason giving. e.g. I can’t do it, it hurts, it makes me anxious)
E – Expectations (Excessive goals, your goal is too big, or you lack the skills, or you lack the resources)
A – Avoidance (Avoidance of discomfort/experience, unwillingness to make room for the discomfort this challenge brings)
R– Remoteness (From your values, losing touch with – or forgetting – what is important or meaningful)

Sequoia Psychology implements ACT processes and skills to give you a healthy alternative to FEAR:

A – Accept your internal reactions and be present
C – Choose a valued direction
T – Take effective action

To learn more about ACT, see self-help guides and practitioner resources page for more details