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ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

What is it? ACT is a creative empirically-based psychological intervention that uses mindfulness skills of acceptance/allowing and noticing thoughts and feelings in different ways with behaviour-change strategies in moving towards identified values; the model is used for both therapy and coaching and leads towards a healthy increase in psychological flexibility and better life-balance.

A key ACT principal is the perspective that we experience distress when we become psychologically ‘stuck’ (rather than psychologically damaged) and so offers effective methods and guidance in becoming ‘unstuck’: this is usually experienced as a gentle, effective, at times humourous, process which involves developing psychological tools, cultivating mindfulness skills and attitudes and engaging with and acting in line with your own personal values. Change often feels uncomfortable and it can sometimes be challenging to move forwards, even as you rediscover your inner resources to grow, strengthen and heal…. ACT enables you to move forward anyway without needing to fight or get rid of the unpleasant side of change first.

ACT, MBCT and other acceptance- and mindfulness-based approaches are commonly grouped under the name, "Third wave CBT” (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Both ACT and MBCT incorporate many of the strengths of CBT by becoming aware of our thoughts and the power of thinking to affect our mood, wellbeing and capacity to function, but engage mindfulness as a mechanism of relating differently towards thoughts and feelings; noticing them with no need to engage further, of having a choice in your next act…