by Dr. Becky Spelman on 05/11/2020
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a proven form of cognitive behavioural therapy, is all about making the most of your potential for a full, happy and rewarding life. At its heart is the idea of learning how to accept the things that you can’t control, and to commit to doing things that will actively make your life better. While it is perfectly normal to find some aspects of life difficult or distressing, trying to avoid them to minimise upset can lead to an unhealthy cycle and a poor outcome. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy works by helping the patient to circumvent this through empowerment.
How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Work?
Using mindfulness techniques, your therapist can work with you to help you to learn new ways of dealing with feelings and thoughts that trouble you. You will learn to see and acknowledge these thoughts and feelings, while also learning how to live with them. The aim is not to completely eliminate all negative thoughts and feelings, but to find a way to accept and manage them as an unavoidable aspect of life. Acceptance, in this context, is a necessary precursor to change. For example, a lot of people say things like, “I would really like to change things in my life, but I am afraid of how difficult it is going to be.” An ACT approach changes this statement to the much more manageable, “Although I am afraid of how difficult it might be, I am going to change things in my life.” In this way, by acknowledging the fear, and accepting it, they become enabled to move on. Over time, by changing the way you react to negative emotions, and by accepting them, you may find that the emotions themselves start to shift and become easier to manage.
Your therapist will also work with you to help you figure out what really matters to you – what your core values and interests are. With this information, it will be easier for you to find the inspiration, motivation and guidance that you need. Next, your therapist can work with you to develop behavioural strategies, such as Mindfulness that will help you to make tangible steps towards the changes you would like to see in your life.
What is Mindfulness?
Put simply, mindfulness is an acquired skillset that enables us to see and acknowledge the things going on in our lives, and to accept them. In recent years, mindfulness techniques have been used in a range of psychotherapeutic treatments to help patients to manage difficult issues in their lives. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy uses mindfulness to help patients engage with the things that are troubling them, learn how to accept what cannot be changed, and how to acquire a greater degree of control over their own lives.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Helps you Get to Know Yourself
With Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, you will learn a lot about yourself – what really matters to you most, which thoughts and feelings have been holding you back in the past, and how you can separate yourself from those thoughts and feelings. With this enhanced sense of self, you will be in a much better position to make positive life changes.
Who Benefits from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Many people can benefit from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, including patients with borderline personality or other behavioural disorders, and people who just feel that they are stuck in an unhelpful rut and want to learn how to move on. It is applicable to both long- and short-term therapies.
Get in Touch to Discuss Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
If you would like to talk to someone about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: 020 3882 0684