Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based behavioural therapy, which at it’s core is about accepting what is out of your personal control, and committing to taking action that will improve your life. It has been proven to be effective in treating a wide range of psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, anorexia, chronic pain, and work place stress.
The Aims of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
The primary aim of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is to help you create a rich, full and meaningful life and take action by your core values. What do you want to stand for in life? What is important to you deep in your heart? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy calls these “values”, and part of the ACT process involves spending time clarifying your core values.
This information is then used to help you to set treatment goals, and begin taking action that will improve your life. Values help an individual to create a sense of purpose, vitality and meaning.
Additionally, in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy you will learn skills to help you handle painful thoughts and feelings more effectively, and so that they have less influence over your life. These are called ‘mindfulness skills’.
Mindfulness involves living in the present moment by engaging fully in what we are doing, rather than getting lost in thoughts and feelings. You learn to let thoughts and feelings come and go, rather than attempting to control them. Learning mindfulness skills will allow you to handle even the most difficult thoughts and feelings. Skills taught will require you to practice in between sessions as the more you practice, the more you will benefit.
How is ACT different to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Unlike CBT, ACT does not attempt to control or eliminate unwanted thoughts and feelings. The main focus is to develop a new relationship with those thoughts and feelings, so you no longer get caught up in them.
People often ask how many sessions of ACT will be required before they see any changes, which can be difficult to answer as everyone is different and the number of sessions needed varies from individual to individual. However, an initial commitment of 6 sessions is recommended, with more sessions added if needed.
Author: Angela Bromfield, B Sc (Hons Psych), B Ed (Primary), M Ed Psych.
Angela Bromfield is a registered psychologist who is skilled in a number of therapies including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She will ensure you get the right treatment for you and get you back on track to leading a rich full and meaningful life!
To make an appointment, freecall 1800 877 924 or book Angela Bromfield online today!