Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core principles – maximise your potential for a full and meaningful life by accepting what is out of your personal control and cultivate vitality through living mindfully and committing to actions that are consistent with your values.

What is ACT?

ACT teaches clients practical and accessible psychological strategies to respond to distressing thoughts and emotions in a way that reduces their negative impact (these are referred to as mindfulness skills). In this approach clients are supported to clarify their values and connect with what really matters to them, so that they can then make positive life changes that are in line with these values and that enrich their life.

ACT is a mindfulness based therapy, and mindfulness skills are separated into three categories:

  • Defusion: techniques to distance from and let go of unhelpful thoughts and memories
  • Acceptance: learning to make space for and let go of struggling against uncomfortable and painful emotions, urges and physical sensations
  • Engage fully with the present moment: consciously connecting with your here-and-now experience with an attitude of curiosity and openness

ACT is a practical and creative therapeutic approach that uses rich metaphors and experiential exercises to engage clients and help them make significant and lasting changes. It tends to be a short to medium term therapy.

Does It Work?

ACT was developed in the early 1980s by Prof Steven Hayes and is considered one of the ‘third wave’ of psychological therapies that were developed after traditional behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). A growing body of research is demonstrating that ACT is highly effective for the treatment of many psychological issues, including depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse.

Find out More

Contact us to find out more and to arrange an initial consultation.

These short videos by Dr Russ Harris, a respected ACT therapist and trainer, demonstrate the use of metaphors in ACT to help us approach difficult experiences in a more adaptive way.

Ready to feel heard?

We have in-person appointments in Sydney and online appointments available. We can work with your schedule and lifestyle.