Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Positive Change
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a modality of action-oriented cognitive-behavioral therapy, designed to help individuals accept challenges, and commit to making positive changes to successfully navigate through hardships. ACT was developed more than 40 years ago and assumes that negative human emotions don’t necessarily need to be “fixed.” Rather they are simply one spoke on the wheel of a whole life experience. Individuals commonly seek acceptance and commitment therapy for help with:
- Chronic pain
- Eating disorders
- Family stress
- Obsessive or compulsive behaviors
- Social anxiety
- Unhealthy substance use
- Workplace stress
At its root, ACT aims to help individuals to accept and embrace emotions and feelings, rather than feeling ashamed or guilty about having these feelings. The truth is that life can be awfully hard, and it’s ok to admit that things are hard. However, learning tools, techniques, and modifications to help you cope with stress, conflict, and mental health struggles is an expected outcome of acceptance and commitment therapy.
Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Right for Me?
ACT may be right for you if you’re struggling with intrusive or unhelpful thoughts that may be holding you back from a healthier, happier life. In ACT, you won’t be expected to suddenly stop feeling the way you feel. Instead, you’ll be guided towards more helpful actions and thoughts that can bring about greater mental health. Instead of fighting feelings, you’ll learn to accept them and discover new techniques for positive, healthy behaviors. During therapy sessions, you may learn techniques including mindfulness, flexibility, value clarification, and acceptance.