Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an action-oriented form of psychotherapy that focuses on embracing the difficulties that come with life. It is based on the premise that one should not run away from their hardships. Because running away only increases your distance from the solution. Instead, the easiest way to solve a problem is to confront it and accept what’s in your control.
ACT focuses on improving the psychological flexibility of a person. It combines mindfulness skills, traditional behavioral therapy and self-acceptance practices to help a client develop psychological flexibility. When you focus on accepting your emotions, thoughts, and circumstances instead of avoiding them you learn to see your problems as they are and most importantly what you can control and what you can accept.
Suffering from life is a natural and inevitable part of human beings. We can never avoid it. If we try to suppress our emotions, run away from our problems, and try to control everything, we often find ourselves in a downward spiral.
How to find an Acceptance and Commitment Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect ACT therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find an ACT therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
How does ACT work?
Trying to control your negative emotions is not only ineffective but it often achieves the opposite of what you are trying to do. Thinking that we can overcome our painful emotions or psychological experiences only leads to more distress because not everything in life is within our grasp.
ACT adopts the fact that there are valid alternatives in life for changing the way you think. These include mindful behaviors, attention to personal values, and commitment to action. When you take steps to change your behavior while at the same time learning to accept your experiences your attitude and emotional state changes to a more comfortable condition.
The ACT approach can help patients with mental disorders such as anxiety or depression without the use of any medications. It teaches you to change the way you relate to your negative experiences so they don’t take over you. You learn not to repeat the same patterns that cause you consistent problems in the long run. You learn to make behavioral changes that can affect the situation. You see what hasn’t worked for you in the past and works towards developing a mindset that helps. You learn to practice confident, optimistic, and practical behavior based on your personal goals.
What are the core concepts of ACT?
ACT primarily uses six core principles to guide patients throughout therapy and help them develop psychological flexibility. These are:
Unlike our instinct to control everything, acceptance is the active choice to allow unpleasant experiences to exist without trying to deny or change them.
Cognitive diffusion refers to the techniques that are intended to change how an individual reacts to their behaviors, thoughts, and circumstances. ACT does not push us to fixate on negative experiences, rather it makes us face them with more acceptance and less fixation.
This can be understood as the act of being conscious of the present moment without judging or criticizing the experience. It’s allowing us to see what is going around us without trying to change or predict our experience.
Self as context
We are not only what happens to us in life, instead, but we are also the ones that experience what happens to us. It offers us the context that there are a self outsides of our mere experiences.
Values are the qualities we choose to work towards. These are the motivators that push us towards action. In the ACT, we use tools to help us live our lives in light of our values that we hold dear.
Commit to action
The final goal of ACT is to help individuals commit to actions that will help them in their long-term goals. It teaches us how we can live our life consistently in accordance with our values. It shows us how behavioral changes cannot occur without realizing how behavior affects us.
Who can benefit from ACT?
People with certain issues can benefit a great deal from Acceptance and Commitment therapy. Individuals undergoing the following conditions can use ACT for their advantage.
- Generalized Social and Anxiety Disorder
- Chronic pain
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Eating Disorders
- Substance abuse
- Workplace Stress
ACT is not limited to only complex disorders. Anyone that feels that they are stuck in their circumstances and find it difficult to move on with life can benefit from ACT.
What to expect in an ACT session?
While attending ACT sessions, you will undergo the following procedures.
- Your therapist will assess the primary areas of your life. Like your family, career, educational endeavors, religion, or spiritual influences. After the assessment, you will work with your therapist to understand and create goals for your treatment and values systems.
- You will learn to practice different techniques with your therapist during your therapy sessions. Together with your therapist, you will observe and analyze different ways with which you look at life and how you can accept them and what action you can take to improve your situation. You may be asked to complete worksheets in the office or journal in front of your therapist.
- After your therapy sessions, you will be assigned further homework that you can perform in your own time after you leave therapy.
- You will be taught different mindfulness practices and how you can be more present in situations. These techniques will help you in and out of the office.
- Your sessions will usually occur once a week and their duration will be around 50 minutes per session.
Acceptance and commitment therapy can produce extremely positive and practical results. If you find yourself suffering from the pain that is inevitable in day to day life, then ACT can help you look at your problems not as problems but as different perks that come as a part of living. And most importantly, how you can accept and work towards living a more meaningful life according to your values.
Further Readings on ACT
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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