What is acceptance and commitment therapy?
A form of psychotherapy known as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) stresses acceptance as a strategy for coping with unfavorable thoughts, feelings, symptoms, or situations. Also, it promotes a stronger commitment to positive, healthy endeavors that support your ideals or objectives. This strategy has several advantages and may assist individuals in overcoming the tendency to routinely avoid particular emotions or thoughts, which can result in subsequent issues. To learn more, seek Online Counselling at TalktoAngel.
Techniques of acceptance and commitment therapy
The aim of ACT, in contrast to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is not to lessen the frequency or intensity of negative internal experiences such disturbing cognitive distortions, emotions, or drives. Instead, the objective is to lessen your battle to manage or eliminate unwanted experiences while also enhancing your participation in worthwhile life tasks.
There are six parts to this process:
Acceptance entails letting your inner ideas and feelings arise without attempting to alter or ignore them. A method of active acceptance.
Cognitive diffusion: Distancing yourself from your inner experiences is the process of cognitive diffusion. This allows you to see thoughts for what they truly are, thoughts, without the meaning that your mind gives them.
Learning to separate your thoughts about yourself from your actions can help you understand the self as context.
Being present: ACT advises that you learn to focus your attention away from your inner thoughts and feelings and instead, to be aware of your environment.
Your values are the aspects of your life that are significant enough for you to drive behavior in them.
Commitment: This phase entails altering your behavior in accordance with the concepts discussed in treatment.
Your therapist will teach you how to apply these ideas to your life during ACT. They might give you advice on how to exercise cognitive diffusion and acceptance, or they might encourage you to cultivate a different self that is apart from your emotions and feelings.
Moreover, sessions may involve mindfulness exercises that encourage healthy, nonjudgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and recollections that you would otherwise avoid. While assisting you in understanding which behaviors would be appropriate, your therapist may also help you identify instances when your actions didn’t align with your beliefs.
Your therapist might give you exercises in mindfulness, cognitive processing, or values clarity as homework to do between sessions. You and your therapist will decide on the homework, which can be changed to make it as individualized and practical as possible.
Acceptance and commitment therapy can help with
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Substance use
Benefits of Acceptance and commitment therapy
One of ACT’s key benefits is how it affects psychological adaptability. Psychological flexibility is the capacity to accept your thoughts and feelings when they are constructive and to ignore them when they are not. This makes it possible for you to thoughtfully react to your inner experience, abstain from making snap decisions, and focus on living a meaningful life. Psychological flexibility can improve your ability to accept and deal with the signs of disorders like anxiety or sadness. This increase in psychological flexibility frequently results in significant decreases in those symptoms.
Effectiveness of Acceptance and commitment therapy
ACT has been referred to as either “new wave” or “third wave” psychotherapy. The term “third wave” therapy refers to a variety of psychotherapies, including:
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Schema counselling
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
Nonetheless, it is now thought that a third-wave therapy option may be appropriate as a first-line therapy for some patients.
Things to consider
Despite the fact that ACT is a successful treatment for many different diseases, research suggests that it may not be as beneficial as other types of therapy like CBT. These results imply that a person who benefits from ACT may also have benefited from additional therapies. The fact that ACT is similar to other types of therapy has drawn criticism as well. Some CBT proponents assert that ACT is similar to other third-wave therapies and doesn’t represent a fundamentally distinct strategy.
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How should one get started?
ACT may be provided by a variety of mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors. If you want to learn more about this method, you can find an experienced ACT practitioner or inquire about your therapy provider’s training in it. Additional potential referral sources are the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) or the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) (ABCT). The ACBS also provides free ACT resources in the form of audio clips, movies, and mindfulness practices. A therapist with ACT training will be a guide as well as an active, empathic listener, encouraging deeper inquiry and non-judgmental awareness throughout the sessions.
Active involvement, homework assignments, and psychological or mindfulness training are typically included in ACT sessions. Because it enables you to learn new information and improve your psychological flexibility, completing these tasks is an essential part of ACT. Throughout therapy, your therapist will also want to talk about your values and objectives. This is an additional vital component of treatment because your future behaviors will be guided by these values.
For more information, feel free to seek help from the best Psychologist near me at TalktoAngel.