Have you struggled with anxiety, intrusive thoughts and habits for years, maybe a lifetime? What have you tried to get rid
of them? Maybe lots. You probably would not be reading this if those methods had been successful. ACT is different to
other strategies in that it does not aim to reduce the symptoms that you are experiencing but rather to build awareness of
the way our minds hook us into seeing ourselves as our thoughts and symptoms. We learn to be compassionate with ourselves
and treat the problems counter intuitively.
Ballina Bar Aug 11
ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT)
Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical
framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a
unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses
acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with
commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase
psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means
contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human
being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or
persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.
Based on Relational Frame Theory, ACT illuminates the ways
that language entangles clients into futile attempts to wage
war against their own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox,
and experiential exercises clients learn how to make healthy
contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical
sensations that have been feared and avoided. Clients gain the
skills to recontextualize and accept these private events,
develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to
needed behavior change. (Compliments ACBS website)
Now that is a mouthful! What about a simpler description?
ACT (pronounced as the word 'act') can be described using
the following acronym:
A = Accept and be present in your thoughts and feelings
C = Choose a valued direction
T = Take action (ACT Made Simple - Dr Russ Harris)
The ACT process aims to create psychological flexibility
through the following three main exercises;
Be Present - Establish contact with the present moment and
develop the ability to become an observer of your thoughts
Open Up - Work creatively with your thoughts, realising
that a full and rich experience can be compatible with
thoughts which may seem unpleasant. Learn strategies to
avoid 'locking into' or 'fusing' with your thoughts.
Do What Matters - Identify your values and commit to
actions which will realise them.
Do you remember the old movies, how the bad guy falls into the
quicksand, struggles and drowns? The goodie knows to do the
counter intuitive thing and relax, spread his arms and float. ACT
can work like that. Certainly worth giving it a try!