What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave psychological therapy which is a form of clinical behaviour analysis (CBA) used in psychotherapy. It is an empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways to increase commitment and behaviour-change strategies as well as increasing psychological flexibility. The approach was originally developed in the late 1980s by Steven C. Hayes, Kelly G. Wilson, and Kirk Strosahl.

ACT differs from traditional cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in that rather than trying to teach people to better control their thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories and other private events, ACT teaches them to "just notice," accept, and embrace their private events, especially previously unwanted ones.

ACT gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.

The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word 'act', not as the initials) does this by:

a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively - in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).

b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you - i.e your values - then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

Useful Resources:

ACT website facilitated by Dr Russ Harris: www.actmindfully.com.au

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