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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

According to the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is defined as Veehof et al., (2016, pp. 5-31) A novel scientifically supported psychological intervention that increases psychological flexibility via the use of acceptance and mindfulness tactics in conjunction with commitment and behaviour modification strategies, Brooke, et al., (2010).


There are six core processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)- Being Present, Cognitive Defusion, Acceptance, Values, Self as Context, and Committed Action. Each of these steps contributes to the establishment of change or persistence associated with selected values. Unwanted emotional experiences are not classified as symptoms or issues in ACT theory. Rather than that, it seeks to combat the inclination for some to perceive those seeking therapy as broken or imperfect and tries to assist individuals in experiencing the richness and vigour of life. This richness encompasses several human experiences, including the inevitable suffering associated with some circumstances.

  1. Acceptance: Acceptance is derived from the term to receive what is provided. Acceptance should not be confused with passive and fatalistic concepts such as tolerance or resignation. Acceptance is adopting a nonjudgmental attitude and actively accepting the experience of ideas, emotions, and body sensations as they occur. This treatment fosters acceptance by bringing awareness to control costs when misused for private occurrences. Clients are promptly and experientially exposed to paradoxical control events involving ideas and emotions.

  2. Cognitive Defusion: This treatment modifies the environment in which thoughts arise to diminish the effect and significance of complicated private occurrences. Cognitive defusion works by altering the circumstances that enable harmful functions that develop from relational learning to take precedence over the process s outcomes. As therapists, we aim to educate clients to view thoughts for what they are: thoughts, memories, bodily sensations and emotions for what they are. Disturbing thoughts and sensations often emerge as a threat to one s sense of self.

  3. Self as Context: A Transcendent Sense of Self: While this treatment views excessive fusion with the conceptualised self as a danger to psychological flexibility, we actively seek to increase touch with different forms of self-experience. A sense of self serves as a backdrop for private occurrences such as thoughts, emotions, memories, and sensations.

  4. Being Present: This treatment encourages direct, undefended, and effective interaction with the present moment. Two distinct characteristics characterise this procedure: The first is that clients are taught to watch and notice what is present in their surroundings and private experience. The second is that clients are taught to identify and describe what is there without resorting to excessive judgement or criticism. They work together to build a sense of self as a continuous process of awareness of events and experiences. A broader range of treatments is employed to reorient clients into the present moment, eliminating the two principal causes of interference, fusion and emotional avoidance (Hayes S. C., 2011).

  5. Values: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy defines values as selected attributes of purposeful behaviour that may be instantiated rather than processed as an object. This treatment teaches clients how to differentiate between choices and reasoned judgements and how to choose values on their own. Clients are prompted to explore their values in several life areas, including profession, family, romantic relationships, friendships, personal development, health, and spirituality. Values serve as the compass bearings for developing an enticing set of life patterns.

  6. Committed Action: Once the psychological hurdles of avoidance and fusion are recognised and an introductory course of action is identified, establishing and maintaining explicit and often public commitments becomes beneficial. Commitments in this treatment include identifying precise objectives along one s desired path and then pursuing them while anticipating and accommodating psychological impediments.

ACT has been found to be effective in treating various psychological issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, substance abuse, and stress-related problems. It can be conducted in individual or group therapy settings and is often combined with other therapeutic approaches. It's important to note that ACT is a nuanced therapy, and working with a trained mental health professional is recommended for proper application and guidance.

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