If you have found this webpage, you are most likely wanting an answer to the question: What is ACT and what can it do for me?
While many of us choose to suppress or avoid psychological events, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on the belief that acceptance and mindfulness are more adaptive responses to the inevitabilities of life.
ACT has six central processes:
1: Acceptance – Sometimes called ‘Expansion’, this process is about making space for difficult emotions and feelings (like anger) that we might otherwise suppress or avoid.
Avoidance and suppression can take an incredible amount of energy; making space for them allows us to move on more easily.
2: Cognitive Diffusion – By learning to look at our thoughts and feelings more objectively, we create distance and perspective, rather than getting caught up in them as threats or even realities.
Our feelings, therefore, are simply feelings and not omens of impending doom. Thoughts are thoughts and not necessarily true, clever, or important. Guided meditations and scripts are useful for cognitive diffusion.
3: Being Present – To actively focus our awareness on how we are currently feeling both physically and emotionally, and to park our thoughts safely on past events or worrying about future. Connecting with the present is about engaging completely with the ‘here and now’: concentrating on what are we thinking, touching, seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling – using all of our senses. There are many mindfulness exercises that are helpful in this respect; you might like to try the one I have outline in my other article on this website, “Mindfulness and Self-Awareness“.
4: Self as Context or ‘The Observing Self’ – Instead of allowing our feelings – both physically and psychologically – to define us, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy encourages us to view them as more peripheral and dynamic.
5: Values Clarification – A process to help you identify what is most meaningful to you. Through self-reflection and discussions with your therapist, the values clarification process helps you to find motivation and direction.
6: Committed Action – Once your values have been identified, they are useful in guiding you to set goals for the various areas of your life.
If you are interested in working with an experienced ACT practitioner to help you develop your resilience and achieve your goals, I welcome you to make an appointment with me.
Author: Vishal Patel, M Social Work, AASW, AMHSW.
Vishal Patel is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, with significant experience in working with victims of trauma, abuse and violence. His area of interest includes addressing significant complex and challenging behaviours in children under the age of 12 years. He is able to provide therapy in English, Gujarati, Hindi and Urdu.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129.