Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Mindfulness, Empowerment, and Action
ACT, as one might expect, rests on a foundation of acceptance (of unpleasant or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings) and comittment (to action that enriches and improves one’s life).
Rather than focusing on changing one’s thoughts and feelings, the ACT philosophy encourages us to look instead at learning how to co-exist with the discomfort of negative internal experiences (i.e., our thoughts and feelings) and learn how to reduce their impact on us and our lives (i.e., our behaviour).
ACT focuses on mindfulness strategies, an exploration and clarification of values and goals, and on practical strategies that improve the ways that we manage our problematic thoughts and feelings. Ultimately ACT helps guide and motivate us towards a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
I use ACT frequently in my practice and find that it appeals to all kinds of individuals and is appropriate for all sorts of therapeutic concerns, from anger to anxiety, depression to stress. ACT is a strategy that seems to be simple, but not necessarily easy. It is beautifully clean and straightforward and is quickly learned in layers that build as insight and new ways of thinking are learned. The benefits of ACT are usually noticed very quickly to clients (often within 1-3 sessions) but there is a depth to it that develops further over time.