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What is ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy)?

Embracing yourself and engaging with change

When we have uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, it is natural to want to bury them or push them away. Sometimes we can also develop habits to soothe these thoughts and feelings, such as eating, drinking alcohol or spending time on social media. However, this can sometimes end up as a source of distress in itself.

ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) can help you to observe and accept difficult thoughts and feelings instead of seeing them as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. This is because ACT turns your attention to ​why​ you are having certain emotions, rather than focusing on the emotions themselves or trying to ignore them. This way, you can gain greater self-awareness and learn to experience your feelings as the teachers that they are.

How does ACT work?

ACT uses mindfulness skills to help you embrace every part of yourself (acceptance) and deal with problems instead of avoiding them (commitment). So instead of feeling trapped by unwanted thoughts like ‘I am worthless’, you can turn your attention towards dealing with the issues that lie at the root of those thoughts.

Defining personal values is also another important part of ACT. This means that you will be encouraged to develop a life organised around your core values, rather than a life organised around avoiding distress.

Overall, ACT is about learning greater self-acceptance while at the same time, taking those first steps towards change.

What can ACT help with?

Anxiety, depression or low mood, chronic pain, eating issues, obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction, stress, psychosis, sleep, relationship issues.

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