Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Clients who choose Acceptance and Commitment Therapy learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept these deeper feelings as appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from living the life they want to.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (also known as ACT) is a mindfulness based therapy that aims to find the source of emotional suffering. As humans, we avoid negative feelings and uncertainties as a form of emotional protection. While protecting ourselves from negativity is natural, avoiding pain and feelings all together can become even more harmful. As negative emotions build up, it becomes more difficult to ignore them. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps to process these difficult emotions so that life can be lived in the present moment. Living in the present moment allows you to create more conscious choices about what is truly important to you!

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What to Expect with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a common method for treating eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, addiction, psychosis, chronic pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, including many others. An ACT therapist will focus on six main skills. Over the course of ACT, your therapist will work to strengthen each of these areas for optimal wellbeing. The six areas of focus are: 

Defusion : The act of being able to step back from our thoughts instead of getting lost or “caught up” in them. 

Openness : The willingness to allow emotional pain to be present without necessarily welcoming it. Openness is the alternative to avoidance.

Present moment : The mindfulness component. This does not necessarily refer to meditation but rather noticing what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste in the present moment.

Self as Context : The ability to see ourselves existing as independent of our struggles or stories. This skill is usually one of the hardest but also most rewarding ACT processes because it teaches us how to identify ourselves as a combination of all of our traits and not the roles we play or the struggles we face.

Values : The things that are important to us and inform all of our choices. ACT teaches us different ways to connect to our values and take actions based on those values.

Committed Actions are the choices we make based on the values we are connecting to in any particular situation.

What to Expect with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a common method for treating eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, addiction, psychosis, chronic pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, including many others. An ACT therapist will focus on six main skills. Over the course of ACT, your therapist will work to strengthen each of these areas for optimal wellbeing. The six areas of focus are: 

Defusion : The act of being able to step back from our thoughts instead of getting lost or “caught up” in them. 

Openness : The willingness to allow emotional pain to be present without necessarily welcoming it. Openness is the alternative to avoidance.

Present moment : The mindfulness component. This does not necessarily refer to meditation but rather noticing what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste in the present moment.

Self as Context : The ability to see ourselves existing as independent of our struggles or stories. This skill is usually one of the hardest but also most rewarding ACT processes because it teaches us how to identify ourselves as a combination of all of our traits and not the roles we play or the struggles we face.

Values : The things that are important to us and inform all of our choices. ACT teaches us different ways to connect to our values and take actions based on those values.

Committed Actions are the choices we make based on the values we are connecting to in any particular situation.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy at McNulty Counseling and Wellness

By strengthening these six skills through ACT, you can better manage thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, while reducing what feels like emotional suffering. This therapy incorporates mindfulness into your daily behavior, allowing you to live a more meaningful life that aligns with your values. At McNulty Counseling and Wellness, we believe that you should have a powerful and motivating relationship with your therapist. If you are interested in ACT, we encourage you to learn more about our team online, or give us a call to book an in-person or virtual appointment. 

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