Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
When you’re trapped in a struggle with your own mind, it’s a sign you need to try something different. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT (pronounced like the word, not A-C-T), is an effective behavioural therapy that works. Just how does it work?
The word ‘acceptance’ can be off-putting. “So, have I just got to put-up with my own suffering?” Doesn’t sound very tempting, but ACT is about something much more powerful.
Control is the problem
Have you ever heard the saying, “control is the problem and not the solution”? Well, its right on the money. Its natural to avoid thoughts and feelings you don’t like. We escape situations that seem overwhelming. We put off things that we don’t understand or appear boring. We try to fix negative thoughts by being rational, reassuring ourselves it will be OK or by thinking positive. And, we try to push away fear, guilt, shame, hurt and anger by distracting ourselves, keeping busy or through addiction. The trouble is, these strategies often backfire.
When you spend too much time and energy trying to control your thoughts and feelings, you end up in a far worse situation than when you started. Not only, do you waste incalculable hours on stuff that cannot be controlled, you also neglect the people around you. You stop focusing on living the life you want while you try to fix what’s going on inside your mind. And, with just one life in this world, that is a risk you cannot afford to take.
Learn to let-go
Just like CBT, ACT teaches you new strategies. You’ll learn how to reduce your worry and switch-off from unpleasant thoughts. ACT shows you how the control-strategies you’ve been relying on, in fact, make the problem worse. ACT teaches you new strategies that mean you can let-go of unhelpful thoughts and get better at having painful emotions. Instead of continuing to turn-away from intrusive thoughts and unwanted feelings, you move-in closer to them. When you do this, you become much more powerful. You get to decide what happens in your life, not your thoughts.
This distinction between ‘you’ and your mind is central to ACT. Whilst it might not make much sense to you right now, with just a small amount of practice, you’ll discover that the ‘you’ who can notice everything is a worthy companion. They’ll be with you everywhere you go. They’ll help you connect with people. They’ll help you have more fun. And, they’ll help you push yourself outside your comfort-zone.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BOOK IN TO SEE AN ACT THERAPIST?
ACT IS A POWERFUL APPROACH THAT CAN TEACH YOU THE KEY COPING STRATEGIES THAT ARE MISSING FROM YOUR TOOLBOX.