Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy is an approach that develops acceptance and awareness strategies alongside methods for supporting changes in behaviour. The key idea is to accept what is out of your personal control while committing to action that will improve the quality of your life. This can help people to live a meaningful life while handling the pain and stress that is an inevitable part of existence. ACT teaches you psychological skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively and helps you understand what is truly important and meaningful to you.

When using ACT we will work collaboratively with you using a range of exercises and techniques to help connect with that which is important to you and work with the barriers you come up against. Sometimes these barriers are practical involving people and situations around you but often there are also internal barriers in the shape of difficult thoughts, emotions or body sensations. Within this approach we will encourage you to explore these difficulties through talking about them and experiment with responding differently to them. Part of this process can include understanding why we have fallen into unhelpful habits and behaviours. This understanding can then be used to make changes and move towards a more fulfilled life.

There is an extensive and growing evidence base for ACT and it has proven effective in treating a wide range of conditions including anxiety, depression, stress and chronic health conditions. Although relatively new (around 40 years old) it is an established treatment of choice within the NHS.