Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an empirically based psychological intervention that utilized acceptance and mindfulness strategies, along with commitment and behavioral change strategies with the goal of increasing psychological flexibility. Therapists who practice ACT employ metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises to help clients learn to make healthy contact with feelings, thoughts, sensations, and memories that have been feared and avoided. ACT is based on the idea that psychologicalsuffering is usually caused by the interaction between language and cognition, and the control of behavior by direct experience. ACT helps clients and therapists to change the way difficult private experiences (thoughts, feelings, memories, etc.) function mentally rather than having to fully eliminate them. By doing this, ACT helps clients cope effectively with a variety of difficulties including anxiety, depression, stress, trauma and many more.
ACT commonly employs six core principles to help clients develop psychological flexibility:
- Cognitive defusion: Learning methods to reduce the tendency to reify thoughts, images, emotions, and memories.
- Acceptance: Allowing unwanted private experiences (thoughts, feelings and urges) 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. (e.g., mindfulness)
- The observing self: Accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is unchanging.
- Values: Discovering what is most important to oneself
- Committed action: Setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly, in the service of a meaningful life.