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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT is a cognitive–behavioral model of psychotherapy.

What is Acceptance and Commitment therapy(ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment therapy is an empirically-based psychological intervention which uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways with commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.

Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

This approach was originally called comprehensive distancing.

ACT is based on Relational Frame Theory, a comprehensive theory of language and cognition that is an offshoot of behavior analysis.

How does ACT differ from cognitive behavioral therapy?

ACT teaches people to "just notice," accept, and embrace their private events, especially previously unwanted ones, where as the traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teachs people to better control their thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories and other private events.

Where ACT differs from CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is that you DO NOT FIGHT THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.

What is the objective of ACT?

The objective of ACT is not happiness; rather, it is to be present with what life brings us and to "move toward valued behavior".

Noam Shpancer describes acceptance and commitment therapy as getting to know unpleasant feelings, then learning not to act upon them, and to not avoid situations where they are invoked.

Its therapeutic effect according to him is a positive spiral where feeling better leads to a better understanding of the truth.

What is the aim of ACT?

ACT helps the individual get in contact with a transcendent sense of self known as "self-as-context" the you that is always there observing and experiencing and yet distinct from one's thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories.

ACT aims to help the individual clarify their personal values and to take action on them, bringing more vitality and meaning to their life in the process, increasing their psychological flexibility.

What is the core conception of ACT?

While Western psychology has typically operated under the "healthy normality" assumption which states that by their nature, humans are psychologically healthy. ACT assumes, rather, that psychological processes of a normal human mind are often destructive.

The core conception of ACT is that psychological suffering is usually caused by experiential avoidance, cognitive entanglement, and resulting psychological rigidity that leads to a failure to take needed behavioral steps in accord with core values.

What is the core of many problems according to ACT?

ACT views the core of many problems to be due to the concepts represented in the acronym, FEAR:

* Fusion with your thoughts.

* Evaluation of experience.

* Avoidance of your experience.

* Reason-giving for your behavior.

What is the abbreviation of ACT?


* Accept your reactions and be present

* Choose a valued direction

* Take action

What are the core principles of ACT?

ACT commonly employs six core principles to help clients develop psychological flexibility:

* Cognitive defusion: Learning methods to reduce the tendency to rectify thoughts, images, emotions, and memories.

* Acceptance: Allowing thoughts to come and go without struggling with them.

* Contact with the present moment: Awareness of the here and now, experienced with openness, interest, and receptiveness.

* Observing the self: Accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is unchanging.

* Values: Discovering what is most important to one's true self.

* Committed action: Setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly.

How does defusion work in ACT?

Lets understand defusion through an example:

Step 1: Bring to mind an upsetting and recurring self judgment like "I am X" such as " I am stupid" or "I am a loser" ect.... whatever negative dialog you experience. (most helpful if you use the ones that trigger anxiety). The hold that thought in your present for as long as necessary to believe it (perhaps 5-10 seconds) while noticing how it affects you (very important part of the step).

Step 2: Now immediately take that thought "I am X" and insert this phrase in front of it: I am having the thought that notice what happens?

In this step you can notice a distance from the thought. The idea that "thoughts are nothing more or less than transient private events-an ever changing stream of words, sounds and pictures."

Once I learned this i became less of a slave to negative thoughts, as i learned further with this process that words and thoughts are not law in my head, and I began to benefit from the less impacting nature of this perception of negative thoughts.

Who does ACT help?

Anyone who struggles with painful emotions, thoughts, memories, or urges (known in the ACT world as “behavioral predispositions”) of any kind.

ACT encourages the acceptance (The “A” in ACT) that these are private mental experiences over which we have no control, and promotes taking committed (Commitment is the “C” in ACT) action guided by our authentic values. The result is a more fulfilling and vitalized life, in which the struggle to relieve ourselves of inevitable painful experiences doesn’t dictate our every move.

Which conditions can be helped through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

The evidence-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) model is a powerful treatment for clients struggling with depression, anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive symptoms, chronic anger, eating disorders, chronic pain, panic attack, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and anger management and other problems.

Research has also shown success by those suffering from psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusional thoughts, in applying the principles of ACT to their experience.

It can also help for the relationship improvement, professional advancement and in the treatment of children with special needs.

How does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy work?

In ACT, clients develop mindfulness skills , (both traditional techniques, and many modern, innovative ones) which enable them to fundamentally change their relationship with painful thoughts and feelings.

When clients practice these skills in everyday life, painful feelings and unhelpful thoughts have much less impact and influence over them. Therefore, instead of wasting their time and energy in a fruitless battle with their inner experiences, they can invest their energy in taking action to change their life for the better - guided by their deepest values.

How to start with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

1. ACT can be started by undergoing therapy from a therapist trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and

2. By self learning ACT skills and using them for self improvment or for improving others. ACT can be learned for self practice under the guidance of a therapist or through online courses.

What are the resources to understand the basics of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Introduction to ACT provides an entire Acceptance and Commitment Therapy workshop in a DVD with groundbreaking experience.

This professional training DVD will show you how to:

• Conceptualize cases from an ACT perspective

• Use all six ACT treatment processes

• Help clients change the patterns at the root of emotional disorders

• Experience key ACT techniques and interventions for yourself

• Develop an order of treatment tailored to your client

• Combine ACT processes for maximum outcomes

Can we learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by ourself?

There are many resources for self learning Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life: The New Acceptance & Commitment Therapy is the best resource for learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

This resource makes us learn life-enhancing behavior strategies that work to further the goals you value most. You'll learn to engage with and overcome painful thoughts and feelings with step-by-step acceptance and mindfulness-based techniques.

You'll find out how to let go of control, and develop compassion and flexibility. The realization that painful feelings cannot be controlled will open you to the possibility of fully emotional living. Once present, engaged, and aware, you can begin to build new lives for yourself filled with significance and meaning.

How to use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Personal Development?

ACT helps in the area of personal development by clarifying one's values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment). to escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT book presents the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology.

The techniques presented in The Happiness Trap will help readers to:

• Reduce stress and worry

• Handle painful feelings and thoughts more effectively

• Break self-defeating habits

• Overcome insecurity and self-doubt

• Create a rich, full, and meaningful life

Through The Illustrated Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living ACT is made even more accessible in this fun and easy-to-understand volume that illustrates all the principles with entertaining cartoons.

How to use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Professional Development?

The Mindful and Effective Employee: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Training Manual for Improving Well-Being and Performance offers an evidence-based workplace training program based on acceptance and commitment therapy.

This program is specifically designed to improve employees psychological health—as well as their effectiveness at work and in their personal lives—through a combination of mindfulness and values-guided behavioral skills.

This book is designed for use by psychologists, coaches, occupational health practitioners, and human resource professionals who are interested in improving employee well-being, performance, and quality of life.

The training program described in this book is designed to:

• Promote employee self-awareness

• Help employees find purpose, direction, and meaning

• Offer new ways to improve work and life effectiveness

• Help employees identify and pursue valued goals and actions

ACT Resources