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Do you have problems with anxiety, stress or pain? Then Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) may be a treatment that can help you. Here we explain what ACT is and how it works.

What is ACT?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a newer form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviours just like CBT but adds elements of acceptance and mindfulness.

It aims to increase the client’s psychological flexibility so that they have more choices to live their life the way they want. ACT is helpful for various conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety and pain.

At Lavendla, we have psychologists and therapists who can help you if you would like to try ACT therapy.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk

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What is ACT therapy?

ACT is based on a theory called Relational Frame Theory (RFT), which focuses on language, how it is developed and learned. Language and thinking can create significant suffering and mental health problems, and changing the way you relate to thoughts can reduce these problems. Act therapy focuses on:

  1. Acceptance: Instead of resisting or suppressing unpleasant thoughts and feelings, they are accepted as a natural part of life.
  2. Cognitive defusion: This is specific to ACT and involves observing thoughts to create distance from them rather than seeing them as truths. It can create flexibility and choice.
  3. Mindfulness: Practicing being aware of and present in the moment without judging or evaluating.
  4. Values-based action: Seeks to find the client’s values and live by them, even if it means facing discomfort.
  5. Commitment: “Commitment” in ACT stands for making a commitment to work towards one’s personal goals and values, despite obstacles and difficulties.

This is what Lavandla therapist Marco Thiele says about working with ACT: “Treating with ACT with my clients is an inner journey, where we explore together the courage to accept their current situation, to work on the changes they want, to find which thoughts are really helpful and to dare to increase actions in line with their personal values.” Similarly, the Irish Association of Social Workers recommends ACT as “ACT aims to help us move toward what matters most while practicing acceptance of what is outside our control”.

The value-based approach is an important part of ACT treatment and is a hopeful way to move forward in therapy. Marco Thiele also says: “When we live in line with our values, our well-being increases for the better. And in the end, our thoughts are just thoughts that cannot be controlled. But we can change our actions”. If you are interested in attending ACT therapy, feel free to contact Marco or any of our therapists who work with the treatment method.

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ACT anxiety

ACT is an effective treatment method for conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain. It uses various techniques and exercises to promote these principles and support clients in making meaningful changes. Individual treatment with ACT is available, but group treatment is also possible.

Focused ACT (FACT)

Focused ACT is a shorter form of ACT treatment that focuses on a specific problem. It can be similar to counseling and a FACT treatment is around 1-5 sessions. It takes a positive view of people, believing that most people can deal with the problems they face with a little support. This may involve learning acceptance strategies, practicing mindfulness and finding ways forward based on valued direction. FACT is a simpler way of working with ACT that can be helpful for lighter problems.

ACT therapy online

It is possible to work with ACT online via video and most of our psychologists and therapists at Lavendla are available for digital sessions. You are welcome to book a visit if you are curious about online ACT therapy.

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12 common questions and answers about ACT

What is ACT?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a newer form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviours but has added elements of acceptance and mindfulness.

How does act therapy work?

Act therapy involves working with the therapist to set goals and work from a valued direction. It uses techniques based on acceptance, mindfulness and cognition to reduce avoidance and live the life you want to live.

What is the purpose of ACT?

In ACT treatment, the aim is to help the client overcome their problems or conditions and live according to what is important in life.

How long is an ACT treatment?

The length of an ACT treatment can vary depending on the complexity of the problem, but ranges from 1-20 sessions. In Focused ACT (FACT), the treatment is shorter.

What exercises and techniques are used in ACT?

ACT uses different exercises and techniques to change thoughts, feelings and behaviors. These include cognitive defusion, acceptance and mindfulness exercises.

What is the basis of ACT?

ACT is based on Relational Frame Theory (RFT), which focuses on language, how it is developed and learned. Language and thinking can create suffering and by changing the way you relate to thoughts you can reduce problems.

Can you get ACT online?

It is possible to take ACT online via video.

What is the difference between ACT and CBT?

The difference between ACT and CBT is that ACT does not focus on changing the thoughts, but rather on accepting them and living in a valued way. There is also more work on mindfulness.

What is Focused ACT (FACT)?

FACT is a shorter counseling form of ACT that focuses on one problem. The therapy is usually shorter, between 1-5 sessions.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a tool that involves practicing being in the present moment without judging or evaluating.

What is ACT helpful for?

ACT is helpful if you suffer from stress, anxiety, depression and pain, among other things.

Where can I turn if I need help?

At Lavendla, we have experienced psychologists and therapists who work with ACT and can help you feel better. If you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, contact 112, 999 or the nearest emergency room.

Written by Produkt