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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, is a branch of cognitive-behaviour therapy and is an empirically based psychological intervention. ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies together with commitment and behavior change strategies to increase “psychological flexibility”.  ACT is different from conventional cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in that instead of trying to teach people how to better manage their thoughts, feelings, sensations, private moments, memories and behaviours, ACT instructs them to notice and acknowledge what is occurring internally and to embrace or accept these private events, especially previously unwanted ones.

ACT supports the individual to act as somewhat of an external observer to themselves, to observe and experience themselves in the moment, while achieving a sense of distance from his or her own thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories. The aim of ACT is to then help the individual clarify their personal values and use the skills of mindfulness and acceptance to take action on these values, bringing more energy, purpose and meaning into their life in the process, increasing their psychological flexibility and emotional well-being.