Acceptance and commitment therapy

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on increasing psychological flexibility by helping individuals accept their thoughts and feelings, identify their values, and take action based on those values. It is often used to treat various mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. ACT is based on the idea that psychological suffering is caused by our attempts to avoid or control unwanted thoughts or emotions and that by accepting them and focusing on what we truly care about, we can lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a relatively new form of cognitive-behavioural therapy developed in the 1980s by psychologists Steven Hayes, Kelly Wilson, and Kirk Strosahl. It is based on a theoretical model called relational frame theory (RFT), which suggests that language and the ability to create and maintain relationships are key components of human cognition.

ACT differs from traditional cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in that it places less emphasis on changing thoughts or behaviours and more focus on accepting thoughts and emotions and then taking action based on personal values. ACT often uses mindfulness techniques to help individuals observe and get their thoughts and feelings without judgment, and to stay focused on the present moment.

In ACT, the therapist and client work together to identify the client’s values, which are the most important and meaningful to the client, and then set goals based on those values. The therapist also helps the client identify patterns of behaviour that are inconsistent with their values and helps them develop strategies to take action in alignment with their values.

ACT has been shown to be effective in treating many mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders. It is often used in combination with other forms of therapy or as a standalone treatment.