What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

By Kara Ferreira

ACT, also known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, is a transformative approach that empowers individuals to embrace change, accept their thoughts and emotions, and commit to values-based actions.

What is ACT?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness and acceptance strategies. Developed in the 1980s by Steven C. Hayes, ACT is rooted in the belief that suffering arises from attempts to control or avoid unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Instead, the therapy encourages individuals to accept these internal experiences without judgment and commit to actions that align with their values.

How It Works

  1. Mindfulness and Acceptance: ACT emphasizes mindfulness, which involves non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. By cultivating mindfulness, individuals learn to observe their thoughts and emotions without getting entangled in them. Acceptance, on the other hand, involves acknowledging and allowing these internal experiences to arise without resistance or avoidance.
  2. Cognitive Defusion: ACT helps individuals recognize that thoughts are not facts, but merely mental events. This process, known as cognitive defusion, enables individuals to distance themselves from unhelpful thoughts and gain perspective. 
  3. Values Clarification: ACT focuses on clarifying an individual’s core values and aligning their actions with those values. Identifying what truly matters to them provides a guiding compass for making meaningful choices.
  4. Committed Action: In ACT, individuals are encouraged to take committed action toward their chosen values, even in the presence of discomfort or difficult emotions. This involves setting goals, breaking them down into manageable steps, and actively engaging in actions that bring them closer to their desired outcomes.


Who Can Benefit from ACT?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a versatile approach suitable for a wide range of individuals and mental health concerns. It has been found particularly effective in addressing:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression
  • Chronic Pain and Illness
  • Substance Abuse

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can also be a valuable tool to help anyone create positive change and make more meaningful choices. Even those without any mental health concerns can use ACT to accelerate personal growth.

ACT offers a transformative path toward finding inner peace and leading a life of fulfillment. By embracing change, accepting our thoughts and emotions, and committing to actions aligned with our values, we can navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience. With the guidance of a trained therapist, this empowering therapy can help individuals move toward a brighter future.

If you’d like to explore working with a therapist, contact us at (734) 323-4897 or info@galvingrowthgroup.com for more information. Our practice, based in Novi, Michigan, is home to a team of psychologists with a wide range of expertise. We also offer teletherapy and can see anyone in the state of Michigan.


Psychology Today, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

VeryWell Mind, What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Kara Ferreira is a G3 Contributing Writer