What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? – An Overview

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on the idea that struggling with and trying to change your thoughts and emotions actually increases your distress.  It focuses on learning to accept difficult thoughts and emotions without believing or drowning in them, and helps you work toward committing to living a meaningful life in alignment with your deepest values.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT—pronounced as the word “act”) is a mindfulness-based behavioral therapy.  ACT uses a mix of metaphors, stories, paradox, acceptance skills, and mindfulness techniques, along with experiential exercises and values-guided interventions.

The core ACT interventions focus around two main goals:

(1) cultivating acceptance of unwanted private experiences, and

(2) committing to action towards living a valued life.

ACT does not focus on reducing symptoms but instead encourages you to accept your inner distress instead of trying to control it.  Many people find their symptoms decrease faster as a result!

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