Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness processes, and commitment and behaviour change processes to produce psychological flexibility. In simple terms, it is about initially accepting that pain and suffering are normal and that deliberately trying to get rid of them will add to the distress.
This therapy is not a quick fix for mental illness but it is about coping with the distress while living a more fulfilling life. They liken a mental illness to fighting a way, the theory suggests that if you remove yourself from the war and watch it, rather than taking part in it, you can start living your life (and the war may also subside). Here are a few important concepts which one should be aware of for starters.
- Mindfulness – A way of being present moment, seeing our thoughts for what they are, without judgement. This enables us to look at our pain from a different perspective.
- Acceptance – A way of accepting that pain is part of the life, not in a self defeating or having to put up with it way, but in an active way that’s about embracing the moment. Also accepting that we are unlikely to be able to solve our problems in the way we’ve been doing so far (by avoiding or fighting).
- Commitment – Values based living, thinking about the dreams we have and what we value most in the world, also looking at what traps and barriers we put up in a form of self sabotage.
- Committed Action – At this last principle the persons sets goals and takes action, but not just any action. Here the person understands that the rich and meaningful life they desire is created by taking effective action, which is that guided by the chosen value.
Read more on yourwillbearwitness.com