Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
in Houston, TX and Online
What Is Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT, is a mindfulness-based counseling approach used to help individuals maximize their potential for a rich, full, meaningful life through values-based living. ACT helps people take action. Action on what matters most to you, how you want to treat yourself and others. how you want to behave and what you want to do. In ACT, you learn skills to face problems head-on instead of avoiding stressors. You learn psychological skills to handle difficult thoughts and feelings effectively.
What we resist, persists.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT, is a mindfulness-based counseling approach used to help individuals maximize their potential for a rich, full, meaningful life through values-based living.
ACT helps people take action. Action on what matters most to you, how you want to treat yourself and others. how you want to behave and what you want to do.
In ACT, you learn skills to face problems head-on instead of avoiding stressors. You learn psychological skills to handle difficult thoughts and feelings effectively.
Benefits of ACT
By adjusting actions to move in the direction of personal values—rather than fears—ACT contributes to a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
First developed by Dr. Steven C. Hayes in 1982, ACT was founded on the premise that psychological pain is a regular part of life that can be accepted and managed.
By shifting the way that they interpret emotional distress, clients learn to maximize the potential for a rich and meaningful existence.
ACT can help you focus on the behavior changes and action that move you closer to what matters most in life to you and reflects your authentic self.
Your quality of life can substantially improve.
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Used For?
Research Studies Show ACT Helps
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a science based therapeutic approach.
In fact, in over 3000 research studies ACT has been shown to be effective for a wide range of psychological problems including use in therapy for anxiety, and relationship and couples therapy.
It has also been shown to be effective in helping people adjust well to chronic illness, disability, and ongoing health issues.
Studies show that participants in treatment using ACT experienced reduced stress, decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improvements in their overall ability to accept adverse circumstances.
In addition to anxiety and depression, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can be used to treat symptoms related to:
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Chronic pain, illness and diabetes
- Stress management, chronic stress and burnout
- Eating disorders and binge eating disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder – OCD
- Relationship conflict
- Social anxiety
ACT therapy is also widely used to enhance health and well-being, reduce stress, improve performance, and increase resilience.
ACT provides practical tools and strategies to break unhelpful habits, overcome procrastination, motivate oneself to maintain healthy behaviors and build better relationships with others in our life.
How Does ACT Work?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is specifically designed to help individuals create a rich and meaningful life. ACT is about learning how to use mindfulness skills and self-acceptance to handle the various obstacles that life throws our way.
Inevitably we will face challenges that are out of control. Rather than focusing on those, we can shift our attention to actions and behaviors that support our core values. Goal setting and taking action on those behaviors can get us unstuck and lead to a rewarding life.
Building Psychological Flexibility
Psychological flexibility refers to ability to adapt to situations, shift perspectives, maintain balance in life domains and act on behaviors consistent with life values. In short, the greater the flexibility, the lower the stress.
There are six core principles of ACT that aid in fostering psychological flexibility:
- Cognitive defusion – a skill that allows clients to separate or create distance between themselves and the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and sensations they’re experiencing
- Acceptance – actively embracing difficult circumstances
- Remaining present – promoting nonjudgmental associations with thoughts and events as they occur
- The Observing Self – being aware of one’s experiences without attachment or investment
- Values – identifying core motivations and what gives clients a sense of purpose
- Committed action – authentically living in accordance with one’s values
Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT) FAQ's
Self acceptance is one of the primary goals in ACT therapy. And self acceptance may include the acceptance of our thoughts, feelings and internal sensations.
Experiential avoidance and emotional control are thought to create symptoms, such as in the case of an anxiety disorder.
Rather, the goal in ACT is to build psychological flexibility.
Psychological flexibility helps you accept what is beyond your control in your life so you can focus on moving towards the things that are most important to you.
When you work with a mental health professional you will learn skills from each of the six core processes in ACT. These processes incorporate acceptance and mindfulness skills, experiential exercises among others.
ACT is a third wave behavioral and cognitive therapy.
As a behavioral therapy ACT incorporates a focus on taking committed action or behaviors to create desired change in one's life.
As a third wave cognitive therapy, ACT also incorporates mindfulness exercises as change strategies, ie., living in the present moment.
Rather than changing thoughts, ACT emphasizes accepting them and letting go of trying to control them. By accepting and allowing one's thoughts, it reduces their impact on us.
Acceptance And Commitment Therapy At Eddins Counseling
Our practice began incorporating ACT upon working with clients who struggled with eating disorders and emotional eating. Because ACT allowed our clients to identify meaningful life values, they were able to build sustainable motivation to change their relationship with food, remain present and effectively cope in the midst of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and impulses.
Since then, we have applied Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to other specialties in our practice—including generalized anxiety disorder, depression, family systems, and chronic illness, stress and burnout—and found that it’s been successful among a wide range of our clients.
You Can Create A Rich And Fulfilling Life
If you struggle with obstacles to your mental health or are struggling with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy at Eddins Counseling can help you achieve greater psychological flexibility and profound, sustainable healing.
To schedule a free consultation or appointment with one of our ACT therapists, please contact us.
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