Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) treatment relies on six different processes that make up the framework that therapists use when utilizing ACT to treat clients. They are listed (and simplified) below:
- Awareness: Becoming better aware of the present moment through the use of mindfulness. When you are aware of the present moment, you will often find that you are missing out on so much because our minds have been designed to constantly think and plan and ruminate—all of which are natural and normal, but sometimes it gets in the way, and it goes to unhelpful places.
- Acceptance: Bringing about willingness to experience whatever feeling or thought that you are experiencing, without judgment or criticism. This doesn’t mean that you have to like your current experiences, but just that you can bring the willingness to accept that you are feeling this way right now.
- Defusion: Learning how to recognize the process of thinking as it is: a process that is taking place in our minds. In other words, our thoughts are not absolute truths. Defusion allows us to take a step back and notice this process of immersion, instead of taking part in it. Mindfulness practice can also enhance this defusion skill.
- Self as context: This is the idea that you are not your thoughts and feelings; you are the consciousness that experiences the internal experience such as thoughts and feelings. It is about learning that there is a part of you that is the “observing self” that notices all of your experiences in your inner and outer world.
- Values: An important part of ACT is recognizing your values in life: what is important to you? Values are different than goals in that a goal is reachable, like a destination; whereas a value is not, like a direction. Recognizing these values is an important step to living a fulfilling life.
- Committed action: This last part of the ACT model builds on the Values component and takes it one step further. It is the process of taking steps (small or large) to inch closer to our values—to start to move in that direction that we find important—despite the presence of discomfort and anxiety.
If you like this approach and would like to hear more about how it might help you, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us.