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 is an acceptance based model created by Steven Hayes that teaches about the importance of living in accordance with values and accepting what we cannot change. As a client participating in ACT therapy, you would be expected to identify values, discuss barriers that prevent you from living in accordance with values, practice acceptance of things outside of your control, and make lifestyle changes.

— Amanda Roberson, Counselor in Beaverton, OR

Acceptance of things as they come, without evaluating or attempting to change them, is a skill developed through mindfulness exercises in and out of session. ACT does not attempt to directly change or stop unwanted thoughts or feelings, but instead encourages people to develop a new and more welcoming relationship with those experiences. This shift can free people from difficulties attempting to control their experiences and help them become more open to actions consistent with their values.

— Kevin Condon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Atlanta, GA

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

I find ACT to be espeically useful for clients who have tried to actively fight anxiety and pervasive thinking, without success. Rather than trying to resist negative thoughts, this modality instead changes our relationsip to it, often bringing a sense of peacefulness.

— Alexandra Hinton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

ACT is my foundational practice. This is what I use the most. It is based on six principals: Cognitive Defusion, Contact with the Present Moment, Radical Acceptance, Self-as-Context, Values, and Committed Action. The practices outlined in ACT help clients improve self-esteem, take action toward values-based goals and reduce getting caught in cycles of negative thoughts and emotions. It is a well-suited practice for anxiety and trauma and works well for clients of all ages.

— Mark Best, Clinical Social Worker in Vancouver, WA

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

I think of ACT as a more naturalistic way of integrating behavioral principles into treatment. In ACT, we help define your core values and tune your behavior toward those values on a daily basis, in the service of better mental health. I integrate CBT principles into treatment to help relieve symptoms but do so in a larger context of helping you build the life you want to live. We can do ACT both online and in person!

— Katie Playfair, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

This approach works by first helping you get very clear on who you want to be in the world and what you want your life to be like. This therapeutic method then provides a tool box of cutting edge skills and techniques to help you detach from problematic repetitive thinking, render intense emotions harmless and to get you closer to the best version of your life.

— Branden Barnett, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Pinellas park, FL

I have both formal and informal training in ACT and have been utilizing this approach for over a decade. This third-wave CBT is the core of how I conceptualize clients concerns and formulate treatment. Its emphasis on the functional analysis of behavior provides an evidence-based approach to treat the fundamental mechanisms that perpetuate and exacerbate suffering and clinical concerns like anxiety disorders, OCD, and depression.

— Michael Heady, Licensed Professional Counselor in Towson, MD

ACT is a beautiful reflection of what happens when you take thoughts, emotions, and behavior, and spin them into beliefs, values, and committed action. Our focus with ACT is transitioning from engaging in what is known as the struggle-suffer cycle, to taking committed action in the awareness-acceptance cycle. It’s kindof like scientists and Buddhists got together and wrote a bunch of metaphors.

— Ginelle Krummey, Counselor in Asheville, NC

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an evidence-based therapy devised from how the brain works. It has been clinically proven to work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues. Very simply, the role of ACT is to help you to accept what is outside of your control and commit to actions that are connected to your values to enrich your life.

— ClaireMarie Clark, Clinical Psychologist in Fircrest, WA

I gravitate towards Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) because I specialize in working with individuals who are grieving the loss of a loved one or are coping with major life transitions, which is fertile ground for such a nuanced modality. ACT allows for a present moment acceptance of our thoughts and feelings; it urges us to identify our personal values; and then motivates us to move in the direction of our chosen values. It is a modality that I resonate with personally & professionally.

— Thad Frye, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Broomfield, CO

ACT helps us see the truth from the fantasy. It is empowering to know what is real from what is unreal so that we can focus our energy on changing what we can. The commitment is to change what we can and make peace with the rest.

— Sandy Demopoulos, Clinical Social Worker in White Plains, NY

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

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy offers skills and perspectives from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Eastern spiritual traditions. At the core of ACT are offerings that help people envision and build a bigger life based on clarity around who and what they love. I see people's vitality replenished as they engage in ACT principles and exercises.

— Tamara Dyer, Counselor in Seattle, WA

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