Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a mind-based form of psychotherapy.  ACT teaches mindfulness skills to cope with painful feelings and thoughts in order to reduce their impact and influence.  It helps in clarifying what is important and meaningful and how to apply this knowledge to motivate and guide you to change your life for the better.

ACT was developed by psychologists Steven C. Hayes, Kirk Strosahl and Kelly Wilson. It was the first of what are known as “third wave” therapies.  These therapies are at the forefront of a movement in psychology that regards mindfulness and acceptance as an important part of change-oriented treatments.

One of the core messages of ACT is to accept what we cannot control and act on that which improves and fulfills our lives.  The aim of ACT is to maximise our human potential for a meaningful life.  

Mindfulness is a state of awareness that allows us to engage fully in the present moment.  In this state, negative thoughts and feelings have significantly less impact.

ACT breaks mindfulness into 3 categories:

  • Defusion: accepting and letting go of negative beliefs or thoughts
  • Acceptance: allowing painful feelings and emotions to come and go without a struggle
  • Contact with the present moment: engaging in the here and now.

ACT is very effective for the treatment of anxiety disorders, chronic pain, depression, PTSD and substance abuse.  It is also used for life and executive coaching.   Psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists can offer more information on ACT therapists in your area.

Specific Techniques


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