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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Therapy in the greater Gosford and Central Coast areas

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) teaches us to accept what is out of our personal control, and to commit to action that improves and enriches our lives. ACT explains the core of most problems using the FEAR acronym:

Fusion with your thoughts – taking your thoughts too literally.
Evaluation of the experience – especially judgements.
Avoidance of your experience. – being unwilling to have certain thoughts or feelings.
Reason-giving for your behaviour – believing that you don’t have to do certain things until certain thoughts and feelings disappear.

The healthy alternative is to ACT:

  • Accept your reactions and be present.

  • Choose a valued direction.

  • Take action.

What does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy look like in practice?

Therapy will be based on three main techniques. These include:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is about connecting with ourselves and appreciating the fullness of each moment of life.

  • Acceptance: Allowing feelings and memories to come and go without struggling to control or avoid them.

  • Commitment: Taking action guided by your values.

An ACT therapist will use metaphors and experimental exercises to help you contact with the thoughts, feelings, physical sensations as well as memories that you might previously have feared or avoided. We can help you recognise, reconceptualise and ultimately, accept all of your experiences. When the struggle to control, change or avoid feelings ceases, your values become clearer and you’re more likely to commit to behaviour changes that will result in a better quality of life.

What issues is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy best at addressing?

There is broad scientific support for the use of ACT for depression, anxiety based disorders, pain, substance abuse and stress. Through the use of double blind clinical trials there is growing support for ACT with other disorders and difficulties too.

More information on ACT can be found here.