Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT Therapy)
If you, or someone you care for, is suffering from anxiety, depression, psychosis, stress, or other mental and physical concerns, ACT Therapy may be a helpful treatment option. In this article we’ll look at what is involved in ACT Therapy. We’ll also explore who can benefit from this mental health treatment.
What is ACT Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT Therapy) was developed to help people focus on the moment that they are in, not on any negative thoughts or feelings they are having. The intent of this therapy is to help people acknowledge those feelings and emotions but not let them control their actions.
ACT helps a person to develop skills to become more psychologically flexible. Ultimately, a person undergoing ACT will learn how to move their negative thoughts and feelings aside so they can successfully continue forward in life.
Six Core Processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy utilizes what psychologists call the “Six Core Processes.” These aren’t “stages” or a rigid structure to treatment. Instead the processes can be seen as guides. They provide mental health professionals with a way to plan and develop individualized treatment plans.
The six core processes of ACT are Acceptance, Cognitive Defusion, Being Present, Self as Context, Values, and Committed Action.
Many people who experience negative or depressive thoughts or feelings will try to avoid or alter them. Through acceptance, a person learns to acknowledge that those thoughts and feelings are a part of who a person is but they don’t define the person.
We each have certain reactions to those negative and depressive thoughts. What can be learned in ACT is that by changing the way we react to those thoughts and feelings we can create distance with them. This can keep a person out of a negative cycle of thinking and lessen the effects of those thoughts.
An example of this is giving the negative thoughts a shape, such as a book. A person can learn then to put that book away or turn the page when those thoughts occur.
This is a type of mindfulness practice. During this core process, participants are encouraged to step outside of their thoughts and instead of reacting to them, observe them. The goal is to try and better understand the trigger for a thought or feeling and then, after recognizing it, change it.
Self as Context
In ACT, therapists reinforce the idea that a person is more than their feelings or thoughts or experiences. The idea is that once all of those things are removed, a person can accept their core personality.
For a person to be successful with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, they will need to develop a system of values (sometimes called principles). This means deciding what they want to see as the outcome of this therapy and then, no matter how uncomfortable it might become, always moving forward with those values as a guide.
This process often involves setting goals in increments in order for a person to develop progress as they move forward in therapy.
Who Benefits from Acceptance Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance Commitment Therapy has been beneficial to patients with a wide range of diagnosis both mental and physical. It has shown to be an effective treatment therapy for people dealing with:
- Stresses (incl. PTSD)
Therapists have also used it to treat chronic pain conditions and long-term medical concerns like diabetes.
Who offers ACT Therapy?
Therapy experts at the Williams House at Lindner Center of HOPE have a successful history of treating patients using ACT. By using Acceptance Commitment Therapy, medical professionals at Lindner have been able to help patients change their relationship with pain, stress, and anxiety.
Remember, there is hope, and seeking help is the first step toward a brighter future. For more information, call 1-888-537-4229 or visit us online. If you believe that you or someone you know could benefit from ACT Therapy contact the professionals at the Lindner Center of HOPE today.