What is Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)?

What is Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help individuals develop psychological flexibility and achieve a greater sense of well-being by learning to accept their thoughts and emotions rather than trying to control or eliminate them.

ACT is based on the idea that many of the problems people experience in life are a result of their attempts to avoid or control uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, or sensations. These avoidance strategies can actually make the problems worse, and can create a sense of being “stuck” in a negative cycle.

ACT uses a combination of mindfulness, acceptance, and behavior change techniques to help individuals become more present and engaged in the present moment, and to develop a more flexible and values-driven approach to their lives. This can help them to cope more effectively with difficult thoughts and emotions, and to take action towards their goals and values, even in the presence of discomfort or uncertainty.

Some of the core principles and techniques of ACT include:

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully present and aware in the moment, without judgment or resistance.
  • Acceptance: developing a willingness to experience uncomfortable thoughts and emotions without trying to control or eliminate them.
  • Defusion: learning to recognize and distance oneself from unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, rather than getting caught up in them.
  • Values: identifying and clarifying one’s most important values and using them as a guide for behavior.
  • Committed Action: taking concrete steps towards one’s goals and values, even in the face of discomfort or uncertainty.

ACT has been shown to be effective for a wide range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and chronic pain.

Shervan K Shahhian

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