Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Facts to Know:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on identifying what matters in life and uncovering core values.
- ACT is a behavioral therapy that fosters commitment to taking actions that align your life with your values.
- ACT is an evidence-based intervention that can help you live a life with meaning and purpose.
What is ACT?
ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. ACT is pronounced as the word “act” and not as the letters A-C-T because this type of therapy is about taking action. This treatment encourages acceptance of our vulnerabilities and commitment to behaviors based on values. ACT is an evidence-based treatment for a range of conditions including anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain. ACT can also help with work / life balance and living the kind of life you want to live. Research suggests that ACT helps people live more fulfilling lives because it teaches them how to get out of their minds and become present in their own lives.
How does ACT work?
ACT typically consists of meeting with a therapist individually or in a group setting once per week. Treatment duration can vary depending on a number of factors including the nature of the problem, treatment goals, and willingness to complete homework outside of sessions. In clinical trials, 12 – 16 sessions of ACT has been shown to be effective for treating anxiety, depression, and chronic pain as well as enhancing quality of life.
ACT focuses on core processes in order to live a life with purpose. The core processes include:
Acceptance means allowing ourselves to experience emotions as an alternative to avoidance. Acceptance includes willingness to experience thoughts and emotions irrespective of whether they are evaluated as positive or negative.
Commitment means taking actions to achieve both short and long-term goals in your life. Goals are concrete and obtainable and are guided by values. Examples of goals including have a better relationship with one’s parent or child, improving health, or developing a closer relationship with a spouse.
Values are chosen directions that guide the behaviors we take in life. ACT involves clarifying your values to understand what you want your life to be about. Your therapist works with you to uncover your values in many different aspects of your life including career, family, friendships, health and well-being, recreation, and spirituality.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with openness, compassion, and flexibility. Rather than running through life on “auto-pilot,” mindfulness helps you become present to life as it is happening.
How can I receive ACT at Columbia?
Here at ColumbiaDoctors, we offer individual and group ACT to help you live your best life. Additionally, the Columbia Day Program and the Smithers Center incorporate ACT into their treatments.
Search our providers for a therapist or psychiatrist with expertise in ACT.
To make an appointment, please call 212-305-6001 or submit our online form.