Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an empirically-based psychological intervention. ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness, together with commitment and behaviour change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility, which is the ability to experience all thoughts and feelings whilst moving towards the things that are important to us. More specifically, ACT illuminates the ways language can lead us into futile attempts to avoid or control our own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises ACT helps us to learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided. ACT then helps us gain the skills to re-contextualise and accept these private events, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behaviour change.
In short, ACT is about finding a way to say ‘yes’ to life and living it to the full.
ACT is a transdiagnostic approach. In other words, it is able to help anyone who is looking to enhance their wellbeing and not just people suffering from “diagnosable” disorders. The evidence base for ACT suggests that it may be useful in numerous contexts including; therapy, education, work contexts, sport, weight loss, rehabilitation, insomnia and others.
Professor Steven C. Hayes
“If you’ve been trying to win the war with your mind, with your anxiety, with your urges, with your moods, well, ACT is about letting the war roll on while you leave the battlefield”