Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) combines aspects of acceptance and mindfulness approaches with behavior-change strategies, in an effort to help clients develop psychological flexibility. Therapists and counselors who employ ACT seek to help clients identify the ways that their efforts to suppress or control emotional experiences can create barriers. When clients are able to identify these challenges, it can be easier to make positive and lasting changes. Think this approach may work for you? Contact one of TherapyDen’s ACT specialists today to try it out.

Meet the specialists

I have been practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) since 2015 and have been a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), a community of professionals focused on ACT. Using ACT, I assist clients with acceptancing circumstances they can't change, identifying their strengths, and pursue valued experiences in their daily life and long-term goals.

— Kristen Beck, Counselor in Gresham, OR

ACT is a simple concept: accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. It's an extraordinary tool to help clients reframe their choices and behaviors and learn to redirect energy away from fighting with themselves to living their true values and purpose. It can be lifechanging for clients, and it's a great, useful tool to manage day-to-day life.

— Stacy Andrews, Mental Health Counselor in Colorado Springs, CO

My primary framework is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (known as ACT), which is an evidence-based approach. ACT emphasizes mindfulness and the present moment, identifying personal values, increasing flexibility in the way we relate to our thoughts and emotions, and becoming unstuck from unhealthy patterns. I very much value my clients and I prioritize tailoring the therapy approach to what they want, need, and hope for. I take client's multicultural and systemic factors into account as well.

— Simrin Jaglan, Clinical Psychologist in Newport Beach, CA

ACT can be used in such a diverse and flexible way because the skills can apply to so many situations. I am passionate about using ACT because I am an advocate for living a meaningful life. ACT is more about releasing your struggle on certain things and accepting them before making meaningful changes in line with your values. I also like to help individuals become more self-aware through mindfulness. Having more insight is important for change.

— Stephanie Wang, Licensed Professional Counselor

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an action-oriented approach that stems from traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It utilizes acceptance and mindfulness strategies to help the client accept the difficulties that come with life.

— Paula Kirsch, Clinical Social Worker in Detroit, MI

ACT is my favorite treatment modality. It is probably because it has a Buddhist philosophy integrated - "pain is inevitable". We all have pain, when what we want and what we have are not the same. I will not try to convince you that your emotional pain is not real. However, we can work on "accept" this difficult fact with coping skills and still "commit" to take actions to be who we really are.

— Ayako Aizawa, Counselor in Tacoma, WA

All of us have parts that we don't like and that hold us back. Together we spend time finding these thoughts and feelings and learning to make friends and value these parts of us. In order to reduce our anxiety, we first have to acknowledge, recognize the value it brings to us, and accept that it will always be with us. Only then can we take control and make choices about our future instead of allowing the anxiety to take control.

— Elizabeth McGinnis, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Palo Alto, CA

I have received additional training in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, including a full-day workshop led by one of ACT's earliest developers, Kelly Wilson, and an 8-week foundational intensive course led by another influential ACT practitioner, Russ Harris.

— Kimberly Mathis, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN

Very simply put ACT is a cognitive treatment orientation that encourages participants to acknowledge their thought processes and implement behavioral and mindfulness based strategies to improve overall functioning.

— Sally Stone, Mental Health Counselor in Brooklyn, NY

I have been conducting, developing, and researching ACT for 20 years. I am a Peer-Reviewed ACT Trainer and a Fellow of ACBS, the organization that serves the ACT Community. I have seen over 100 clients from an ACT perspective and have supervised many more clients than that. I have written articles, chapters, and books on ACT as well.

— Amy Murrell, Clinical Psychologist in Cordova, TN

Rather than assuming we are meant to be happy all the time, ACT acknowledges all humans suffer. We can have food, shelter, money, love and yet still struggle with Depression. Exploring insights to how understanding suffering and happiness are connected can help bring about change.

— Monica Cagayat, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Woodinville, WA

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps you accept the difficulties that come with life. ACT has been around for a long time, but seems to be gaining media attention lately. Categorically speaking, ACT is a form of mindfulness based therapy, theorizing that greater well-being can be attained by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings. Essentially, ACT looks at your character traits and behaviors to assist you in reducing avoidant coping styles. ACT also ad

— Jessica Sullivan, Psychologist in Sarasota, FL

This kind of therapy focuses on thoughts and behaviours and requires you to take action (commit to it) to live out your values. We explore your values together (and I help you figure them out, if you're uncertain) to create a more satisfying life for you. Additionally, mindfulness training is a part of this kind of therapy. I teach my clients the skills necessary to stay present if they choose to do it (on purpose) and without unnecessary judgments.

— Zofia Czajkowska, Psychologist in Montreal, VT

I have extensive post-graduate training in ACT. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy integrates mindfulness, values exploration, and strategies to "unhook" from unhelpful thoughts, so that we can focus our attention on what is truly important to us.

— Yzobela Hyett, Therapist in Toronto,

I fully embrace "Third-Wave" Cognitive Therapies which support the use of Mindfulness practices in symptom relief. I received and completed comprehensive ACT training through Russ Harris ACT Mindfully Workshops.

— Maria Liguori, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Larchmont, NY

Uses acceptance, mindfulness, and behavior change strategies to improve mental wellbeing and increase psychological flexibility. ACT uses in-session experiences such as exercises, metaphor, language, and movement to focus on living a valued life instead of getting stuck in needing to “get rid” of suffering and negative experiences. Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with inner emotions and, instead, choose to begin accepting challenges and hardships.

— Danielle Wischenka, Clinical Psychologist in Campbell, CA

I trained in ACT in 2019. Ever since then, I use this as my first top-down approach. The psychological flexibility, mindfulness, and compassion incorporated in ACT fit with my other training and knowledge. I find ACT has simple practices to incorporate into your everyday life.

— Kristi Keding, Counselor in Ogden, UT

I use ACT to help clients first love themselves, treat themselves well, think healthy thoughts, learn to set proper boundaries. Then, learning to accept others as they are, not as we might wish them to be or, worse insist, leads to healthy relationships with all areas of our lives. Self, others, money, self image, work, play, spirituality...all are areas where learning to accept and commit to healthy thoughts lead to healthy actions in life successfully.

— Linda Cash, Counselor in Greensboro, NC

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a more modern and culturally sensitive approach to the popular Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This therapy integrates mindfulness and present moment based skill development with a focus on your values and moving towards actions that are consistent with those values.

— Meg Blattner, Psychologist in Lutherville-Timonium, MD

I completed a postgraduate workshop in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

— Dr. Laura Simonelli, Psychologist in Harleysville, PA

What I appreciate about ACT is that we can honor what the thought is and decide whether or not it serves us and move forward accordingly. Telling myself that I'm disorganized and irresponsible will not help me to become more organized and more responsible. ACT helps us to figure out how to honor the thought, disconnect from it, and shift our language and thought processes to something more helpful to move us forward.

— Lauren Hartz, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bridgeville, PA

We must identify what’s under the surface and what’s driving us. Not understanding what’s beneath the surface is like allowing someone to take the steering wheel while you’re in the back seat.You don’t know where you’re going and have no control where you’ll end up. By defining what matters to us, we have a framework to make our decisions and guide our life. This allows us to eliminate things that prevent us from healing and reaching our goals.

— Amber Alexander, Licensed Professional Counselor in San Antonio, TX