ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and is a relatively new effective form of cognitive behavioral therapy. ACT can help you live a rich and meaningful life by accepting what is beyond your control and by taking actions that are consistent with your values.
ACT assumes that unpleasant experiences and emotions, such as pain, gloom, uncertainty and sadness are an inevitable part of everyone’s life. Fighting or suppressing these feelings is ineffective, often counterproductive. The more you fight them, the more intense they get.
This therapy teaches you to accept negative thoughts and feelings as they are. This gives you space in your mind to focus on acting in the present. With therapeutic exercises you learn to deal better with the pain that is part of life. It gives you the strength to do the things that are really important to you.
This treatment is increasingly used successfully for anxiety and mood problems (gloom and depression) and low self-esteem.
Difference CBT and ACT
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and ACT are both behavior-based therapies, but they differ mainly in their perception of thoughts. While traditional CBT works by helping you identify and change negative or destructive thoughts, ACT states that pain and discomfort are a given in life. ACT encourages you to accept all thoughts instead of trying to change them – both the good and the bad thoughts.
Approches of ACT
The six topics covered within ACT are interrelated and aim to increase your mental flexibility.
When you are mentally more flexible, it will be easier for you to align your behavior with what it takes in the present to live in accordance with the values you care about and to be the person you want to be.
Acceptance means opening up and making space to experience the unpleasant thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t mean you want the pain or discomfort, but you just stop fighting it.
Defusion means looking at your thoughts objectively and not taking them so literally or seriously. You try to distance yourself from difficult thoughts, so that they have less impact and influence on you. You recognize their presence, but you realize that your thoughts are not reality.
You are aware of your thoughts, feelings and behavior. Through this mindfulness you are able to let go of ingrained beliefs about yourself. You can move away from painful thoughts and feelings so that you have more freedom to choose how you want to respond at a given moment.
Here and now
You concentrate on the here and now. You are focused on what is happening now and less on what happened in the past or what could happen in the future.
Take the time to discover what is really important to you in life. Values help you control your behavior towards what you find meaningful.
When it is clear what is important to you, you can set short, medium and long term goals that will take you in the desired direction. By acting in accordance with your values, you can have a rich and valuable life.
Contact Psychologen Amsterdam
Do you need help or do you just have a question about acceptance and commitment therapy? Then call for an appointment or send a message to practice Psychologen Amsterdam.