ACT: Acceptance Commitment Therapy


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps you accept the difficulties that come with life. ACT has been around for a long time, but seems to be gaining media attention lately. Categorically speaking, ACT is a form of mindfulness based therapy,theorizing that greater well-being can be attained by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings. Essentially, ACT looks at your character traits and behaviors to assist you in reducing avoidant coping styles. ACT also addresses your commitment to making changes, and what to do about it when you can’t stick to your goals.

ACT focuses on 3 areas:

Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
Take action.


Whether it be a situation you cannot control, a personality trait that is hard to change or an emotion that overwhelms, accepting it can allow you to move forward. Obsessing, worrying and playing things over and over keep you stuck. In this sense, asking why can leave you helpless. ACT invites you to accept the reality and work with what you have.

Some acceptance strategies include:

1. Letting feelings or thoughts happen without the impulse to act on them.
2. Observe your weaknesses but take note of your strengths.
3. Give yourself permission to not be good at everything.
4. Acknowledge the difficulty in your life without escaping from it or avoiding it.
5. Realize that you can be in control of how you react, think and feel.

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imageIt doesn’t matter who we are,  at sometime or other in our life we all experience negative self belief. It isn’t a mental health problem, but something ingrained in us throughout our life.   For example, you’re all dressed up for a job interview and then you think to yourself “why on earth would anyone want to employ me? I don’t even look the part “you try to go on a diet and do you think to yourself, “what’s the point? It never works” now I’ve just been reading the most fantastic book called the ‘Happiness Trap’ by Russ Harris, and in it he talks about a really good way of detaching ourselves from these negative belief patterns.  Let’s give it a try! Think about a negative thing you always tell yourself.  For example, I’ll never lose weight I’ve tried it before.   Now take a few minutes and put these words in front of your negative thoughts ….. (I’m thinking)  now, your negative belief becomes-I’m thinking I’ll never lose weight, I’ve tried it before.   Say it a few times to yourself, and now try putting these words before your negative phrase …. (I recognise).  So your negative belief now becomes, I recognise I’m thinking I will never lose weight I’ve tried it before .   Now do you see how different your negative belief feels? You’ve broken the link between self-doubt and taking a step back to see things from a clearer perspective. Another really good way Russ Harris talks about  breaking the negative self- belief cycle, is to sing your negative thought to the tune of happy birthday go on try it!   Can you see how your negativity has moved even further away? This is a brilliant tip for getting rid of self-doubt.

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