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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an action-oriented approach to talk therapy; ACT belongs to the umbrella of behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. 

 

ACT holds the tenet that many of the psychological issues that individuals face will reduce when they learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions. ACT was developed in the 1980s by psychologist Steven C. Hayes, a professor at the University of Nevada who proposed that acceptance of deeper feelings against adverse events or situations is an appropriate response. With this understanding, individuals begin to accept their life challenges and commit to making the necessary changes in their behaviour, regardless of their circumstances and emotions towards them.

 

Therapists who employ ACT work with clients to accept complicated feelings, thoughts, sensations, and internal experiences. ACT works on the assumption that the avoidance of difficult feelings, thoughts, and emotions will lead to more problems. The therapist's role is to guide their clients towards psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility encompasses the capacity to be present and fully aware of one's internal experiences and the ability to adapt them to better align with the individual's values and goals.

 

Six Core Process

ACT works on the six core processes that promote psychological flexibility, which include:

  1. Acceptance: Acknowledge and embrace the full range of one's emotions and thoughts instead of trying to avoid, deny, or alter them.

  2. Cognitive Defusion: Distancing and changing the way individuals react to distressing thoughts and feelings. 

  3. Being Present: Being present involves being mindful in the present moment and observing thoughts and feelings without judgment or attempting to change them. 

  4. Self as Context: The idea of self as context purports that individuals are more than their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

  5. Values: Values are different from actions. According to ACT, values encompass choosing personal values in different domains and making plans or attempting to live according to those principles. 

  6. Committed Action: It involves the individuals taking concrete steps to incorporate changes that align with their values and lead to positive change. The concrete steps include goal setting, exposure to difficult thoughts or experiences, and skill development.

 

Restoring Peace provides counselling and psychotherapy for individuals with anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges. To enquire about our clinicians who employ ACTS in their therapy approach, please email contact@restoringpeace.com.sg.

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