(ACT) ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY

Thrive Psychology Group - Los Angeles

ACT OVERVIEW

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (“ACT”) is an empirically supported treatment that is part of the “third wave” of cognitive and behavioral therapy. ACT uses mindfulness, acceptance, and behavioral strategies to help individuals connect to the present moment, increase awareness and acceptance of thoughts, feelings, and memories, and take committed action towards their values. When we are caught in a struggle of controlling our thoughts, feelings, and memories, we shift our attention toward avoiding or fixing pain and away from what really brings us meaning. The goal of ACT is to take committed action towards creating a full, meaningful life. We accept that pain is an inevitable part of life AND it does not have to control our lives.

Core Processes of ACT

  1. Contact with the Present Moment: paying attention to the here-and-now. Mindful awareness means noticing the physical world around us as well as our internal world, without trying to change or make judgments about our experience. 

  2. Acceptance: being open to our internal experiences, which includes painful thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This doesn’t mean we have to like or want them; we simply let them be there. Rather than engaging in a struggle, avoiding, resisting, or giving our thoughts, memories, feelings, and urges undue attention, we make room for them to come and go. 

  3. Cognitive Defusion:stepping back and detaching from our thoughts. Instead of letting our thoughts dictate our behavior, we see them for what they really are-- words or images that we do not need to cling onto so tightly. 

  4. Self-as-context: recognizing that we are not our experiences, thoughts, or emotions. We are observers and our essence is far greater than the sum of our experiences. 

  5. Values: knowing what matters. Values are the directions we want to go: what is most important to us, what we want to stand for, what we want to do, and how we want to be in this world.

  6. Committed Action:doing what matters. Taking committed action entails setting concrete goals and taking effective action in the direction of our values, even when pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and feelings arise.  


What the be Benefits of ACT?

ACT has been found to be effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, obsessive- compulsive disorder, psychosis, substance use, chronic pain, workplace stress, smoking cessation, weight control, self-management of diabetes, and psychological adjustment to other medical conditions. 

 

ACT is suitable for anyone who is looking to be more present, to make room for the inevitable pain of life, to defuse from unhelpful thoughts, and to clarify values and take action towards creating a meaningful life.