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

ACT (pronounced “act”) is an evidence-based model of psychotherapy that is a branch of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is similar to CBT in it's structure, with an intentional focus on goals and treatment plans and the use of homework. However, ACT differs from traditional CBT in that it is more focused on mindfulness and aims to increase psychological flexibility. The goal of ACT is to work towards “acceptance” of what is outside of your control and to make a commitment to change things that are inside your control, in order to improve and enrich your life. ACT does this by helping you utilize mindfulness skills to lessen the impact of painful thoughts and feelings that are an inevitable part of life, clarify values, and make conscious steps toward moving in the direction of those values.

— Allison Karthaus, Psychologist in Boston, MA

I have extensive training and experience utilizing ACT to support individuals struggling with Anxiety, Depression, & other problems of living.

— Reed Balentine, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in North Little Rock, AR

ACT compliments my work in CBT, and although some view the philosophies of each model as conflicting, I synthesize both models and feel both perspectives are of great value. In ACT, we explore what most matters to you, what offers your life the greatest satisfaction and meaning. Later, we learn how to manage painful thoughts, emotions, and sensation in order to promote psychological flexibility.

— Justin Less, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Burnsville, MN

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 Kirkland, 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

I discovered ACT about a year ago and fell in love with it. The trainings I have since received have shown me that a lot of what I did in my work was ACT, I just didn't know what it was called. During training, ACT encourages therapists to practice and use the techniques on themselves and I have seen ACT make a wonderful difference in my own life. ACT combines some aspects of CBT with mindfulness. Mindfulness has the power to help you tolerate emotions and feelings that normally feel too overwhelming. My favorite thing about ACT is that it isn't about getting rid of negative thoughts and feelings but instead learning ways to acknowledge them and make peace with them.

— Anne Rice, Licensed Professional Counselor in Avondale Estates, GA

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT for short beleive that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. This is a type of therapy I was introduced to when I found that CBT did not give people reasons to work on themselves. ACT focuses on helping you re-connect with your personal values and make sure that your life lines up with them. My favorite ACT book on anxiety is The Worry Trap.

— Maria Carrington, Therapist in Lakewood, WA

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of therapy that helps people accept the difficulties they are experiencing as a part of life, identify their values, and take action that aligns with these values. The premise of ACT is that struggle is a part of life, and fighting against it gets us nowhere, and can sometimes make things worse. If we accept the struggles we face but decide to move forward in spite of these struggles, we can achieve our goals and live a life with more meaning and purpose. I incorporate compassion-focused practices into my ACT work, helping you acknowledge the ways in which you are being hard on yourself, and how being a little bit kinder might help you move towards a life of valued action and meaning.

— Ashley Hamm, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

I help people develop psychological flexibility (of of the goals of ACT) so that my clients can spend more of their time living life and engaging in what matters most to them. I have been practicing ACT for several years, and it's one of my favorite types of therapy as it can really help people get unstuck.

— Kathryn Tipton, Counselor in Houston, TX

Classes Completed: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: 2-Day Intensive ACT Training, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression, Anxiety, Phobias and Panic Attacks. These two modalities (ACT and CBT) are at the top of my list for teaching the skills of managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

— Debbie Yoro, Clinical Social Worker in Beaverton, OR

After training and working in CBT for many years, I took additional training courses in ACT. I found myself drawn to the idea that identifying and living up to one's values can lead to a more fulfilling life experience. I appreciate the thoughtful and experiential nature of ACT and find it is particularly helpful for people dealing with anxiety, depression, or relationship stress.

— Sari Chait, Psychologist in Newton, MA

We teach clients to notice thoughts and behaviors and cultivate non-judgmental, self-compassionate choices that lead to greater psychological flexibility, openness and loving relationships.

— Julie Noble, Clinical Social Worker in Bethesda, MD

Completed the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: 2-Day Intensive ACT Training. ACT, CBT and mindfulness are at the top of my list for teaching the skills of managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Using metaphors in teaching ACT skills can help clients use the concepts when they are not in the session. Discussing and clarifying values is key when learning about how clients want to change and why.

— Debbie Yoro, Clinical Social Worker in Beaverton, OR

I have received specialized training in this modality.

— Pressley Cox, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Raleigh, NC

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a wonderful contrast to CBT. Practicing being mindful and inviting of our thoughts and feelings is especially useful for working through the things we cannot change, and in making sure our actions stay in alignment with our beliefs and values as much as possible.

— John Millett, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Hinsdale, IL