May 15, 2023
Table of Contents
If you are the type of person who avoids painful or upsetting emotions or experiences, you are not alone. Our bodies and brains work in tandem to help us avoid pain, both physical and emotional. We also make conscious choices to avoid pain. What if that avoidance is flipped on its head and you decide to face the pain?
Facing this pain is the foundation of acceptance and commitment therapy, also known as ACT. ACT can help you face painful or upsetting emotions or past events and commit to moving forward in your healing.
What is acceptance and commitment therapy?
Acceptance and commitment therapy is an approach designed to help you learn how to stop avoiding, denying or struggling with your inner emotions. It is a psychotherapy or talk therapy. ACT helps you learn to accept that your feelings are valid. It helps you learn to listen to your internal voice about traumatic events, problematic relationships or any physical limitations you may have.
Acceptance and commitment therapy can help you shift your focus of categorizing your emotions as good or bad and help you learn to accept them as simply part of the complex human experience. In ACT, you can learn to look at the problem you’re facing and determine if it requires immediate action or change. Your therapist can also help you look through what has or has not helped your healing in the past. ACT is an innovative therapy and can be used on its own or with other types of therapy.
6 benefits of acceptance and commitment therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy focuses on six principle techniques. These six principles work together to help you on your healing journey:
- Practicing mindfulness — Mindfulness helps you to focus on your present thoughts, feelings, actions and physiological reactions. Knowing and naming these sensations can help ground you and allow you to work through them.
- Balancing your perspective — You are more than your feelings. Your feelings don’t control you. Just because you feel something doesn’t mean it needs to be acted on.
- Identifying your goals and values — Identifying what is most important to you will help you live your best life. This gives you specific targets to work for in life.
- Committing to your goals and values — ACT can help you learn the best way to put your goals and values to work. Wanting something to happen doesn’t make it happen, it involves working for it.
- Accepting unwanted emotions — Don’t let your fear of challenges keep you from achieving your goals. ACT will help you to learn to fight for your dreams and not against yourself due to emotions.
- Practicing cognitive defusion — When you are overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions, cognitive defusion can help you take a mental step back and reframe your perspective.
Acceptance and commitment therapy can help treat multiple mental health issues
Enriching your life regardless of your symptoms will allow you to take small steps to better your life. It will help you see that you are more than your diagnosis. Flexible psychology learned from the six principles can help shift your frame of mind on thinking and living. A typical ACT session lasts 30 to 60 minutes over a course of six to 12 weeks. During your sessions, you can tackle issues like:
- Anxiety — While ACT cannot rid you of anxiety triggers, it can teach you the best techniques to allow you to respond to your anxiety instead of avoiding living your life.
- Depression — ACT can help you learn that you don’t have to put off life until happiness returns. It can teach you to distance yourself from depressive thoughts and emotions in order to best enjoy life.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — ACT can help teach you how to overcome your obsessive thoughts and emotions while helping you to create new relationships with them.
- Psychosis — ACT can help teach you how to decrease avoidance of things and to increase your focus on the present.
- Eating disorders — ACT can help teach you how to accept and cope with using food to avoid pain and help you learn to have a healthy relationship with food.
- Substance use — ACT can help you focus on how and why you may have used illegal drugs or alcohol to avoid or numb your pain or experiences, which can impact you by keeping you from your fullest potential. By facing why you used substances, ACT can help you accept and cope with the pain without numbing yourself or avoiding thinking of experiences.
- Workplace stress — ACT can help you see that you are more than your negative experiences at your place of employment.
Lightfully can help you on your acceptance and commitment therapy journey
Our mission at Lightfully with people is to show compassion and help change their lives. We work hard to provide our clients with top-notch care. We are proud to offer a variety of services to best serve the needs of our clients. Our therapists can offer their extensive experience of helping clients improve their life through acceptance and commitment therapy.
Mental health treatment is a tool to help you make sure you have what you need to work through your struggles with your mental health and achieve a better future. ACT can help you learn to make choices based on achieving objectives instead of allowing your fears to hold you back. Our licensed, clinical expert therapists see more than a diagnosis, they see the whole complex human. Through ACT, our therapists can help you accept that what you’re feeling and going through is part of the human experience and not a sign something is wrong with you.
Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step to achieving your goal of moving toward a meaningful life, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together toward the fullest and brightest version of you.
Contact our team today to find out all the ways we can help you live brighter.