Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is entirely action-based. The principal approach of this therapy type focuses on accepting your thoughts and emotions, negative or positive, and learning to navigate through them to build a wholesome life. The therapy type also has a mindfulness-based approach, which urges you to focus on the here and now. The name stands true to the nature of the therapy type as it guides you to take the initiative of acknowledging your emotions, especially those you find challenging to deal with, rather than turning a blind eye to them.
The numerous incidents and experiences you go through in your life govern your mental well-being, and certain instances can be a bit more challenging to relive. It is also human nature to avoid difficult emotions to save yourself from hardships. Although by disregarding your feelings, you further aggravate the issue that is the cause of your concern. Think of it as a cup almost filled to the brim with water, and instead of drinking out of it, you just keep adding more water into it, drop by drop. In the end, it is inevitable for the water to spill. If you wish to better deal with your emotions, you must let them pass through you. You don't always have to give a judgment to it or let it build inside you. Instead, just accepting and adapting to your challenges might help you deal with them in a much more productive manner.
This therapy can help treat a wide range of mental disorders and concerns. And your therapist may incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with other behavioral therapy, like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). You can expect ACT therapists to be empathetic and non-judgmental, a professional that guides you to become aware of your situation.
Steven C. Hayes, the creator of Relational frame theory, developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 1986. An American clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology in the Behavior Analysis program at the University of Nevada, Hayes gravitated toward the impact psychology can have on mental well-being. He attended college in the 1960s and had some significant influences from the hippie culture in his life and ideologies. His personal experiences led him to form the core ideas that shape ACT. Incidents related to ostracization and his history of panic attacks elucidated him to accept his true self and not hide from it.
This treatment approach is an evidence-oriented form of psychotherapy that is factually the first of the "third wave" psychotherapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The "first wave" of therapies that came into existence in the 1950s to 1960s relied on apparent behavioral changes and used classical conditioning principles. The "second-wave" therapies incorporated cognitive interventions as treatment strategies. Cognitive Behavioral therapy is the most significant "second wave" to date.
Similar to other "third-wave" psychotherapies, acceptance and commitment therapy includes concepts of mindfulness, acceptance, and value-based methods. The fundamentals of the theory behind this treatment approach rely on the principal belief that every emotion is equally important. And sentiments like anger, grief, pain, dismay, or anxiety are generally considered negative. However, these feelings are inevitable aspects of life. Strong emotions like distress are as pure as optimistic emotions like happiness. They emerge from the effects of numerous facets and incidents of human life. However, it is in human nature to avoid and suppress them. The primary goal of acceptance and commitment therapy is to encourage people to build a constructive perspective toward emotional experiences. It helps build psychological flexibility, which enables people to take effective action for any negative thoughts that come to mind instead of trying to get rid of them or bury them away, which is ineffective and detrimental to their emotional state.
"There are only a few skills in life as important as the skill of acceptance. Whether it comes to your mental health, the quality of your relationships, your physical fitness, your career success, or your expertise in playing any instrument on the planet… all of it (and much more) depends on your ability to feel uncomfortable while doing the things that matter," writes Hayes in his blog, The Bittersweet Art of Acceptance.
ACT sessions aim to offer a transcendent sense of self, a state of awareness where individuals can detach themselves from their emotions to reach the potential to simply observe emotions and not try to control them but learn how to navigate them constructively. Even in the most unfavorable of situations, avoiding it can seem like the easiest way out. The prevalent notion of socially acceptable behavior accounts for challenging experiences as something that needs treatment. However, accepting them is much more beneficial.
One of the central core values of acceptance and commitment therapy is that it is beneficial in building better psychological flexibility. In clinical psychology, psychological flexibility refers to the capability of constructively managing your emotions, the power to accept your feelings when they are productive graciously, and to let unproductive thoughts pass through you. It offers you the competence to assess your private experiences and avoid impulsive reactions that can only prove detrimental.
Furthermore, this therapy offers a perspective to better deal with unwanted private experiences or symptoms of certain mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression. This therapy type's mindfulness and humanistic approach allow you to pursue an optimistic and meaningful life.
ACT practitioners primarily focus on destabilizing the idea of emotional control. Various practices like mindfulness activities, meta-analysis, and systematic review allow professionals to offer better compassion and empathy to their clients. Every fundamental step entails a significant set of procedures—a mental health professional guides their patient with the help of different activities and homework. Additionally, this treatment allows therapists to form and use metaphors unique to each patient. These metaphors are generally derived from an individual's personal values and private events that have taken place in their lives. After the individuals learn acceptance, they are introduced to six fundamentals of ACT principles, which help them develop psychological flexibility. And they are:
These six principles represent that these techniques can significantly decrease symptoms without it being the core objective of the therapy type.
ACT is suitable psychotherapy to treat various mental and physical ailments. Such as:
It is essential to gain awareness about your mental state and how you can better care for yourself. ACT offers a refreshing outlook on receiving therapy treatments, where you are not solely focused on getting rid of the unwanted thoughts but instead creating a positive and meaningful perspective of life.
Finding a professional that caters to your unique issues is essential for a wholesome therapy experience. Get counseling from a trusted therapist with DocVita today! Here, you can access and select a professional according to your preference and opt for an easy booking process.