Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based treatment that derives its name from what’s at the very core of its function: to accept and commit. Instead of pushing away or fighting with unpleasant emotions, ACT challenges people to focus on accepting them and more clearly understanding why they exist. Doing this can more effectively address the issues at the root of their addiction or mental health disorder, teaching individuals how to cope with their emotions in healthier ways.
How Does ACT Work?
- Acceptance: ACT teaches individuals the concepts of acceptance and flexibility. With these skills, individuals can work through their unpleasant emotions rather than resist them.
- Emotional Distancing: This encourages individuals to take stock of their emotions in a more objective manner.
- Presence: This is about living in the moment, being aware of what’s happening in the present, and practicing controlling thoughts and worries about the past and the future.
- Self-perspective: This component helps clients focus on a state of constant mindfulness.
- Identification of Personal Values: This component challenges individuals to identify their personal values and what’s important to them to live a healthier life.
- Commitment: A vital part of ACT, this component consists of individuals committing themselves to embodying the values they’ve chosen as meaningful to them
Utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Treatment
Since there’s no way to completely avoid life’s challenges, ACT aims to help clients regarding productive ways to respond when difficulties arise. With assistance from a skilled therapist, clients learn that it’s counterproductive to ignore their problems or suppress their emotions. They also learn self-compassion instead of always judging themselves harshly.
The benefits of ACT include allowing clients to give themselves permission to make mistakes and move on from them, as well as teaching them to control how they react in various situations.