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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - ACT

This Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, article offers basic information on Acceptance and Commitment therapy as far as where it was started and how it relates to other therapies such as; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Relational Frame Therapy.

Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is abbreviated ACT, which is pronounced like the word act.  It was developed by four psychologists: Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Spencer Smith, and Kelly G. Wilson from roots in Relational Frame Therapy and provides a special focus on language, mindfulness, and acceptance and recontextualization with the goal of increasing client’s psychological flexibility.

In addition to representing the name of the theory, ACT also represents an acronym for the healthy approach that replaces avoiding recollections of one’s experience, evaluating and giving reasons for one’s experience rather than simple acceptance, and becoming one with one’s thoughts, rather than being able to view them dispassionately. If one commits to ACT, one will:

  • Accept one’s reactions and simply be present to them;
  • Choose a response that has value; and
  • Take action arising from that choice, making a practical commitment to it.

In the process of taking these steps, people disentangle language assumptions, and regain psychological flexibility.

It is viewed by some as a type of Cognitive-behavioral therapy, but it differs from them in identifying language as a source of pain.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy’s Underpinnings

Relational Frame Therapy (RFT) aims at providing an empirical account of cognition, with particular attention to the ways that human beings learn language by means of interacting with their environment, allowing, in turn, for an understanding of how to change in order to effect changes in cognition and language capability. It was developed by Steven C. Hayes, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada.

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Used For?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has been empirically tested in the treatment of depression and has some research support. ACT has also been shown to have important (but short-lived) results in a family training effort for parents of children with autism, and has been proposed as an adjunct to EIBI, Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention—another therapeutic approach used with children with autism—by Robert Remington.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has also be studied as a tool for helping children who have chronic pain. In a 2009 report of a study in Sweden, it was found that children between 10 and 18 who experienced 10 weeks of ACT therapy particularized to their situations reported less daily pain and higher functionality that the control group who were provided with a more standard type of talk therapy and prescription medication.



Related Article: Behavior Modification >>

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