acceptance & Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique and creative model for both therapy and coaching, based on the innovative use of mindfulness and values. The aim of ACT is to maximize human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life; to cultivate health, vitality and well-being through mindful values-based living.
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.
Psychological Inflexibility: An ACT View of Suffering
The core conception of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is that psychological suffering is usually caused by the interface between human language and cognition, and the control of human behavior by direct experience. Psychological inflexibility is argued to emerge from experiential avoidance, cognitive entanglement, attachment of a conceptualized self, loss of contact with the present, and the resulting failure to take needed behavioral steps in accord with core values. Buttressed by an extensive basic research program on a associated theory of language and cognition, Relational Frame Theory (RFT), ACT takes the view that trying to change difficult thoughts and feelings as a means of coping can be counter productive, but new, powerful alternatives are available, including acceptance, mindfulness, cognitive defusion, values, and committed action.
The ACT Model
Six core processes of ACT guide patients through therapy and provide a framework for developing psychological flexibility (Harris, 2011). These six core processes of ACT include the following:
Self as Context
Technologically, ACT uses both traditional behavior therapy techniques (defined broadly to include everything from cognitive therapy to behavior analysis), as well as others that are more recent or that have largely emerged from outside the behavior tradition, such as cognitive defusion, acceptance, mindfulness, values, and commitment methods.
Research seems to be showing that these methods are beneficial for a broad range of clients. ACT teaches clients and therapists alike how to alter the way difficult private experiences function mentally rather than having to eliminate them from occurring at all. This empowering message has been shown to help clients cope with a wide variety of clinical problems, including depression, anxiety, stress, substance abuse, and even psychotic symptoms. The benefits are as important for the clinician as they are for clients. ACT has been shown empirically to quickly alleviate therapist burn-out. In addition, we are learning that these same processes help us understand and change a variety of other behavioral problems, including such areas as human prejudice, work performance, or the inability to learn new things.
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Setting s.m.a.r.t. goals
An integral part of the ACT model is the focus on values and goals.
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to get the most out of your life.
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