Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is one of the recent mindfulness based behaviour therapies shown to be effective with a diverse range of clinical conditions.
The name of this therapy 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.
In acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) we talk about "clean" pain, which is what we feel when something hurtful happens to us. "Dirty" pain is the result of our thoughts about how wrong this is, how it proves we—and life—are bad, etc. The two kinds of responses occur in our mind; however, one response simply registers events, while another creates a continuous stream of thoughts about those events. The vast majority of our unhappiness comes from this secondary response—not from painful reality but from painful thoughts about reality.
Imagine if when we stop trying to control our mind—that verbose, paranoiac old storyteller—our thoughts become clearer and more intelligent; by not trying to control the uncontrollable, we get what we thought we'd get if we were in control. There can be enormous relief in detaching from our mental stories; the results which go well beyond mere feeling. Surrendering leads directly to our desired lives; our hearts' desires.
The goal of ACT is to open up to you a rich and meaningful life while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it. This therapy is about taking effective action guided by our deepest values and in which we are fully present and engaged. ACT is a type of mindfulness-based behaviour therapy that helps you become willing and able to let thoughts and feelings come and go while pursuing what matters most to you.
ACT offers techniques and ways of being which enhance psychological flexibility thus enabling a client to try out new behaviours which move them in meaningful and valued directions.
- Skill development areas:
- Mindfulness of breath, thoughts, emotions, sensations and urges
- Values work
- Goal-setting and achievement
If you’d like to know more about ACT please look at the links and articles I have provided on my website.