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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Understand Your Values

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) combines elements of cognitive therapy with behavioral therapy and mindfulness approaches.

The primary goal of ACT is to help individuals create a rich, full, and meaningful life while effectively handling the pain and stress that inevitably come with it.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has been applied successfully to various mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, and stress. It is known for its flexibility and adaptability, making it applicable to a wide range of individuals and concerns.

Both ACT and CBT are effective for various mental health concerns, and the choice between them may depend on individual preferences, the nature of the issues being addressed, and the therapeutic goals. 

Some individuals may find that aspects of both approaches are beneficial for their unique needs.

Image by Nathan Dumlao
Image by Patrick Perkins

What it ACT

Developing Psychological Flexibility

Psychological flexibility is a key concept in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Psychological Flexibility represents the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands of life while staying true to one's values and goals.

 

Psychological flexibility involves a set of processes that enable individuals to be open, aware, and engaged in the present moment, even in the face of difficult thoughts and emotions.

 1. Acceptance:

  • ACT emphasizes the acceptance of one's thoughts and feelings rather than struggling against or trying to eliminate them. Acceptance involves acknowledging and making room for all internal, unpleasant experiences.

2. Cognitive Defusion:

  • Instead of being dominated or overwhelmed by thoughts, ACT encourages cognitive defusion, which involves objectively viewing ideas. Techniques such as observing thoughts without judgment or visualizing them as passing clouds are used.

3. Mindfulness:

  • ​​Mindfulness practices are integrated into ACT to help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings in the present moment. Mindfulness encourages non-judgmental awareness and being fully present in each moment.

4. Values Clarification:

  • ACT helps individuals clarify their values, representing what is truly important and meaningful to them. This step involves identifying what matters most in various life domains, such as relationships, work, health, and personal growth.

5. Commitment to Action:

  • The "Commitment" in ACT refers to taking committed action in line with one's values. This involves setting goals and making choices that align with one's values, even in discomfort or difficult emotions.

6. Self-as-Context:

  • This involves fostering a transcendent sense of self and recognizing that individuals are not defined solely by their thoughts or feelings. It encourages individuals to see themselves from a broader perspective.

Develop Psychological Flexibility

ACT focuses on promoting psychological flexibility, which involves being open, adaptable, and able to act in ways that align with one's values. The goal is not necessarily the elimination of symptoms but the development of a richer, more meaningful life despite the presence of distress.

Learn To Be Present

Mindfulness is a fundamental aspect of ACT. Mindfulness practices are integrated throughout the therapy to increase present-moment awareness and acceptance.

Commit To Action

Behavioral activation is a component that encourages individuals to engage in activities that bring them closer to their values. This involves breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps and taking consistent action.

Common Myths

Common misconceptions about ACT

1. ACT is just about accepting everything and giving up on change.

 

Reality: While acceptance is a crucial component of ACT, it doesn't mean passive resignation. ACT emphasises accepting the presence of complex thoughts and emotions to create space for effective action in line with one's values. The goal is to change the relationship with internal experiences rather than eliminating them.

2. ACT is just positive thinking.

 

Reality: ACT is not solely about promoting positive thinking. Instead, it focuses on changing the relationship with thoughts, whether positive or negative, to foster psychological flexibility. The goal is to act in ways that align with one's values, regardless of the nature of internal experiences.


3. ACT is only about mindfulness.

Reality: Mindfulness is indeed a significant component of ACT, but it's not the sole focus. ACT incorporates a range of processes, including cognitive defusion, values clarification, committed action, and self-as-context. Mindfulness is used as a tool to enhance present-moment awareness and acceptance.

How ACT Can Help

Values Clarification

ACT places a strong emphasis on values clarification and committed action. It encourages individuals to identify what is truly important to them and to take steps aligned with those values, even in the presence of discomfort.

Set Goals

Goal setting in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is approached in a way that aligns with the broader principles of the therapy, emphasizing values and committed action. In ACT, the goal-setting process involves clarifying one's values, identifying meaningful objectives, and taking steps toward those objectives while being mindful of potential challenges. 

Regular Reviews and Reflections

Reflecting on your goals for therapy will allow you to assess progress, make adjustments as needed, and ensure that your goals align with your evolving values.

Self-Growth

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) places a strong emphasis on promoting personal growth and facilitating individuals in living more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Individuals can foster personal growth and create a more meaningful and satisfying life by developing psychological flexibility and aligning actions with values. Our Psychologists at Ikigai Psychology Clinic are trained in ACT and can provide guidance and support on your journey of self-discovery and growth.

Learn More About Therapy 

We vary in our needs, personalities, and the issues we face.

Different therapies address this diversity and provide practical approaches for each individual's unique situation.

Depending on your conditions and concerns, some therapies may be more suitable for you than others. 

Get the support you need

Book an appointment online for supervision 

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