What do all these letters mean?: ACT

What do all these letters mean?: ACT

The therapy world is filled with so many acronyms and it can get confusing and overwhelming. Each week, I will break down several of the acronyms you may have heard or read about.

This week is ACT.

ACT stands for acceptance and commitment therapy. The goal of ACT is to move towards psychological flexibility do being present, open, and doing what matter. Unlike most acronyms where we say each letter, A-C-T, the creator of this form of therapy prefers simply saying the word ACT, because it goes along with what this style of therapy asks us to do.

ACT breaks down into several components.

·       Being present- being in the present moment without getting caught up in the past or obsessing over events in the future that haven’t happened. It is important to be in the present moment without judgment. We may call this mindfulness.

·       Acceptance- make room for your emotions, good bad and ugly. Instead of trying to avoid them, you feel them and allow yourself permission to feel that. It is not uncommon for individuals to run away from difficult emotions, so ACT challenges you to feel these emotions and the purpose they serve in your life.

·       Defusion- this made up word, challenges you to then look at the emotions you are experiencing objectively as though you are an outsider.

·       Observing self or self as context- as

·       Values- these are the guiding principles in life that are generally what mean the most to you. They help move us to goals and actions. Values are not goals in themselves, but a guide sign. Some common examples of values are family, friendships, adventure, education, and novelty.

·       Committed Actions- these are the ACTions that bring value into our life and lead us to meeting our goals. An example of a committed action would be to schedule dinner plans with your family in an effort to living in accordance with your value to family.

One reason I love using ACT in therapy is because clients and I can explore their values system, how they are living in accordance with it, or not, and work toward committed actions to live more congruently with they really feel inside and out.