Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been developed by synthesising important elements of Behaviour Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. ACT helps clients to learn the important skills of accepting their feelings and emotions. With the help of ACT clients stop avoiding, denying and struggling with emotions. Instead they start accepting these feelings without judgement and take them as sound response to the situations prevalent in their lives. With acceptance of the situation and issues, they can then commit to make the changes in their behaviour that the situation requires, irrespective of their personal feelings about it and their circumstances.
What Happens in Therapy
Clients learn in therapy to become aware of and listen to their self-talk, ie, the way they talk to themselves about the traumatic events, relationship problems, their capabilities and other aspects of their lives. With awareness they are empowered to decide if a thorny issue requires immediate response or acceptance while they make the necessary behavioural changes to adapt to the situation. Clients also explore what has worked and what hasn’t in the past to ensure that they don’t repeat the same thought patterns and behaviours which caused problems in the past. Having faced and accepted their current issues without letting the past affect them, they then commit to practice more confident and optimistic behaviour that reflects their values and goals.
The Science Behind ACT
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is based on the premise that it is ineffective and counterproductive to control painful emotions and feelings, because doing so causes more distress. The team that developed ACT believes that alternative approaches such as mindfulness, awareness of personal values and committing to action are better alternatives to trying to control painful emotions and feelings. Clients experience in ACT that changing their behaviour and accepting their feelings and emotions can eventually lead to a change in their attitudes and mental state.
Use of ACT by Potentialz Psychologists
ACT is recommended by APS for use in adults exhibiting symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Psychotic Disorders, Hypochondriasis, Pain Disorder and Substance Use Disorder. It can also be used in Binge Eating Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. ACT can also be used with children for Pain Disorder (10-14 years).
Our Psychologists integrate aspects of ACT in treatment plan while treating clients exhibiting these symptoms.