Acceptance and Commitment therapy or ACT

The goal of ACT is to create a rich and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that goes with it. It is only through mindful action that we can create a meaningful life. ACT is a mindfulness based behavioural therapy that utilises a mix of metaphor, mindfulness skills along with a wide range of experiential exercises and guided interventions.

The six core therapeutic processes of ACT: 

Defusion - Defusion means to step back or detach from your thoughts, images and memories. Instead of getting caught up in our thoughts or being pushed around by them, we see them as for what they are; nothing more or less than words or pictures.

Acceptance - It means opening up and make room for painful feelings, emotions and sensations. Instead of fighting them or resisting them we simply allow them to be as they are.

Self as context - This refers to the difference of thinking self, the part of us which is always thinking, generating thoughts, memories judgments and the observing self. This is the part of us that is aware of whatever we are thinking , feelings or sensing.

Values - Clarifying values is an essential step to create a meaningful life.

Committed action - This means doing what it takes to live by our values even if this brings up pain or discomfort.

Be here and now - This means to be connected with the present moment by bringing our awareness to the physical world around us or the psychological world within us.

These six processes are not seen as a separate processes, but it's useful to think of them as six facets of one diamond which itself is psychological flexibility.

Psychological flexibility is the ability to be in the present moment with full awareness to our experience and to take action guided by our values.

The  acronym that encapsulates the entire model is ACT:

A= accept your thoughts and feelings and be present.
C=choose a valued direction.
T= take action.

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Written by Gherardo Della Marta MBACP counsellor in London WC1B, NW1 and Bedford MK40

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As a counsellor, I offer a non judgemental space where you can discuss issues, concerns and feelings you may experience. I can help you to clarify choices you are about to make and to allow you to develop a deeper understanding of any aspects of your life you might find problematic or confusing.
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Written by Gherardo Della Marta MBACP counsellor in London WC1B, NW1 and Bedford MK40

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