Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is part of the ‘Third Wave’ of psychological therapies focused on mindful and accepting therapeutic approaches. ACT seeks to promote psychological flexibility by encouraging acceptance of unpleasant thoughts and a focus on our values (Hayes et al., 1999).
Rather than focusing directly on symptom reduction, ACT has an aim of changing the way we experience distress, by teaching acceptance of that which we cannot control, and reorientation towards the pursuit of what’s really important in our lives, being our values (Gaudiano & Herbert, 2006). Indeed, unlike Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, ACT does not focus on directly changing private experiences or symptoms, rather, it directs us towards acceptance and orients us towards worthwhile goals in spite of our negative experiences (Veiga-Martinez et al., 2008).
ACT is an evidenced based therapy in the treatment of depression (Bohlmeijer et al., 2011), anxiety (Arch et al., 2012), mixed depression and anxiety (Forman et al., 2007), psychosis (Bach & Hayes, 2002) and chronic pain (Dahl et al, 2004).
For more resources and information on ACT, click here
By Dr Eliot Goldstone, Clinical Psychologist
Dr Goldstone presented on ACT at the Australian and New Zealand Association Cognitive and Behavioural Sciences conference in Melbourne in November 2016.