Acceptance & Commitment

We provide Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is a proven method of effective, evidence-based psychological treatment.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an empirically validated treatment – which is to say that there are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate its benefit – that is designed to increase your psychological flexibility using acceptance strategies, mindfulness, and commitment to behavioural change. The goal of ACT is to create a rich and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it.

ACT has been demonstrated to be effective in treating many conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, chronic health conditions, persistent pain, and addiction.

The idea behind ACT is that our when we identify what we value and we work on behavioural change in line with these values we are taking “valued action”. This is possible even when symptoms (e.g. feeling low, anxiety, or persistent pain) are still there. This is using acceptance of these symptoms and committing nonetheless to the change we want in our lives.

How does ACT work?

The purpose of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is to make valued change in our life even when there are unpleasant emotions or physical sensations, or unwanted thoughts that we continue to experience. Ultimately, the goal is to help you “unhook” from these unpleasant sensations or thoughts to take action on the goals we want to achieve in our lives. We use mindfulness strategies to help soothe those unwanted sensations and thoughts as well.

The role of the therapist is to listen in a non-judgemental and empathetic way, to understand your difficulties, help you articulate your goals and what you value, and employ psychological techniques to help work through these difficulties.

ACT is considered to be a shorter-term therapy, usually in the range of 8 to 16 sessions. It is an active and collaborative therapy between the client and the psychologist. The idea is that the client and the psychologist work together to set the treatment plan and goals, the session agenda, and work together on mastering and applying the ACT skills.

What are the Benefits of ACT?

ACT helps clients explore and understand how to work with thoughts and emotions to make important behavioural change, even if we can’t get rid of the unwanted thoughts, emotions or sensations.

Sessions are typically focused on the present concerns, and involve developing skills and strategies to take valued action. The goal is to help you develop the skills you need to become your own therapist, so that you can effectively deal with the situation on your own.

The ultimate goal of ACT is to learn how to soothe unpleasant sensations, thoughts or emotions while committing to the behavioural change you want to make in your life.

Are there risks to ACT?

Since ACT can involve discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings including sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration and guilt.

How long does ACT last?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy typically lasts between 8 and 16 sessions. Sessions are 50 minutes in length, and are usually scheduled once per week.

Should more intensive treatment be required, the session length and frequency may be adjusted.

Treatment progress is regularly reviewed to ensure that your goals are being met. As treatment progresses, these sessions may be spaced out over time to allow you more time to practice the skills you have learned in session.

You always have complete control over the therapy process and have the right to discontinue treatment at any time.

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