A bit about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
ACT is an evidence-based therapy that teaches us to “accept what is out of our personal control and commit to action that improves and enriches our lives” (Harris, 2020).
As a mindfulness-based therapy, ACT “consciously brings awareness to [the] here and now experience with openness, interest and receptiveness” (Harris, 2006).
ACT is different to other therapies as it assumes mental processes are harmful and create distress. ACT does not aim to remove all mental health symptoms. Instead, symptom reduction is a positive side-effect. This therapy has a focus on values, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and living in the present moment (Harris, 2006).
ACT is effective in treating various mental health conditions including schizophrenia, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anorexia, drug abuse, workplace stress, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and chronic pain to name a few (Zettle & Raines, 1989; Twohig, Hayes & Masuda, 2006; Bond & Bunce, 2000; Dahl, Wilson & Nilsson, 2004).
How can I be more mindful?
-Engage fully in the task in front of you
-Don’t get lost in your thoughts
-Notice your feelings for what they are, let them ‘wash over’ you or 'come and go' instead of trying to regulate them
Bond, F. W. & Bunce, D. (2000). Mediators of change in emotion-focused and problem focused worksite stress management interventions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 156-163.
Branstetter, A. D., Wilson, K. G., Hildebrandt, M., & Mutch, D. (2004). Improving psychological adjustment among cancer patients: ACT and CBT. Paper presented at the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy, New Orleans.
Dahl, J., Wilson, K. G., & Nilsson, A. (2004). Acceptance and commitment therapy and the treatment of persons at risk for long-term disability resulting from stress and pain symptoms: A preliminary randomized trial. Behavior Therapy, 35, 785–802.
Twohig, M. P., Hayes, S. C., Masuda, A. (2006). Increasing willingness to experience obsessions: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. Behavior Therapy, 37:1, 3–13.
Zettle, R. D., & Raines, J. C. (1989). Group cognitive and contextual therapies in treatment of depression. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 438-445.