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    What is ACT?
    ​About Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) pronounced as one word rather than as separate letters, is a relatively new third wave therapy. It pursues various forms of experiential and emotional avoidance that keep humans stuck and suffering. The basic goal of ACT is to help the client become better at living a full, rich, and meaningful life, rather than becoming better at feeling good (i.e., being symptom free) in an attempt to have such a life.

    ACT is a unique behaviour therapy approach that aims to address human concerns about such feelings as anger, anxiety, and fear in a mindful, compassionate manner, while encouraging people to pursue what really matters to them.

    ACT has three major goals:

    1. Fostering acceptance of unwanted thoughts and feelings who’s presence and disappearance clients cannot control
    2. Commitment and action toward living a life that they value and may have been longing for
    3. To compassionately produce more psychological flexibility by helping clients contact the costs of psychological inflexibility

    The three core steps in the ACT approach are:

    1. Accept thoughts and feelings
    2. Choose Actions
    3. Take Action

    It’s ironic that ACT, finds itself in the vanguard of psychotherapy because many of the techniques it relies on are thousands of years old. Mindfulness training, for example, is a key component of ACT, and this draws from Buddhist practices that have endured for over two thousand five hundred years.

    ACT blends Eastern and Western approaches to reducing suffering by approaching life with all its pain and potential. It begins with developing non-judgmental acceptance of thoughts and impulses, and then directs you to understand what you truly value and how you can commit yourself to activities and goals reflecting your values. In this way, ACT blends a Buddhist sense of harmony with the world with the Western ethos of self-direction.

    Unlike its antecedent, cognitive behavioural therapy, ACT does not seek to change negative or self-defeating thoughts. Rather, it’s goal is acceptance without judgment of those thoughts.

    How ACT can help clients

    Over the past 30 years, a body of research has studied how this behavioural training can be used effectively. ACT can not only to improve the mental health of clinicians but of those clients they work with.

    ACT is particularly effective with anxiety and depression, obsessive – compulsive disorder, pain management, psychosis, grief and loss, relationship issues and alcohol and other drug addiction. Our therapists can assist you with how suffering is affecting your life and gently move you to a life you deserve.

    ACT emphasises acceptance of internal experience while maintaining a focus on positive behaviour change. This approach is designed to address maladaptive avoidance of internal experiences associated with many problems in functioning while also focusing on making and keeping commitments. ACT uses a variety of verbal, experiential and homework techniques to help clients make experiential contact with previously avoided private events (thoughts, feelings, sensations), without excessive verbal involvement and control – and to make powerful life enhancing choices.