Acceptance Commitment Therapy

Acceptance Commitment Therapy

Acceptance Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is a part of what is called the “third wave” of behavior therapies which include Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. These therapies have been developed over the last 25 years and are gaining a strong research base for a variety of mental illness.

The purpose of ACT is to create psychological flexibility and breaks its teachings in 6 parts:

The present moment focuses on being present in the moment and not ruminating on the past or obsessing over the future. Acceptance is making room for emotions, both good and uncomfortable. Allowing yourself to feel the emotions helps your work through them. Defusion, which yes, is a made up word, is about stepping back and looking at your emotion and concerns objectively. The observing self is practicing on observing your emotions and accepting experience as they change. Values are what direct our actions. Values are not goals themselves, but steps to help us achieve our goals by giving us meaning, motivation, and direction in life. This values base is a key component that sets ACT apart from many other therapies. Lastly, committed action is our action we take as directed by our values.

The creator, Russ Harris, makes himself very available and has several books to discuss ACT principles including The Happiness Trap, Getting Unstuck in ACT, The Weight Escape, ACT with Love, The Confidence Gap, ACT made Simple, and The Reality Slap. In addition, he also makes written, audio, and video resources available on his website

Written by: Kristina Zufall, M.Ed., LPC-Intern