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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is practiced in Kitchener-Waterloo, Milton, Oakville, London and the surrounding areas. Anchoridge Counselling takes pride in the therapy practice offered to help clients with individual needs.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Asian woman in therapy doing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in London Ontario

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), is a new form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), that focuses on exploring who and what is important to us (values), and what kind of life we would like to be living (goals). As we move towards this, though, we may find that our challenging thoughts and feelings show up and that they may get in the way and, instead, we may behave in ways that actually take us away from our values and goals. The premise of ACTis that as humans we will inevitably experience pain, grief, disappointment, illness, and anxiety but what is important is how we respond to and adapt to these challenges.

How Does ACT Work?

The ACT approach is to notice what thoughts and feelings are showing up and to make room for them with feelings of curiosity, openness, and acceptance. We can then learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with the inner emotions we experience. As a result, we can then begin to accept that these emotions and feelings are how we respond to certain situations, and that our responses have a purpose. Instead of spending energy on struggling with thoughts and feelings, we are then able to take committed action towards what matters to us and, therefore, live a life that's more rich and meaningful.

ACT focuses on six core processes to help guide an individual through therapy.

The ocean and a blue sky. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Oakville Ontario

1. Acceptance

2. Cognitive Defusion

3. Being Present

4. Self as Context

5. Values

6. Committed Action

Acceptance refers to the active choice to allow unpleasant experiences to exist without trying to deny or change them. Cognitive Defusion helps to change how we react to our thoughts and feelings, while providing skills to face them head on. Being Present refers to experiencing what is happening in the moment without trying to change the situation. Self as Context aims to explore the idea that we can exist outside of the current experiences and it does not define us. Values are the qualities that we hold onto that may dictate our actions and ACT uses tools to help us live within those values. Lastly there is Committed Action, through ACT we learn to commit to our actions to complete our long term goals through positive behaviours. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy truly emphasizes the idea of acceptance rather than avoidance. The emphasis is placed on moving through the difficult emotions so you can then begin to focus on healing. Every behaviour we experience serves a unique and specific function, through ACT we can then explore the behaviours and understand why we react in specific ways.

What is ACT Used for?

3 white books stacked. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in London Ontario

ACT can be used for a range of concerns such as stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, addictions, chronic pain, or life transitions. ACT can be combined with different therapy approaches but can also be used as a stand-alone approach. The best course of action is to always discuss treatment plans with your clinician to determine if ACT is the best course of action.

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