• Mary

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - the basics

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a relatively new area in psychology practice and has seen significant growth in use and popularity in the past few years. Although it is a new field, there are studies that prove that it is effective in managing mental health disorders and psychological problems.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an approach that teaches a person to accept the hardships of life in order to enhance one's overall quality of life. This differs from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) because it teaches the patient how to accept the bad emotional and feelings rather than try to manage them. It teaches the patient not to try to control everything but accept those things that are beyond his or her control.

This therapy was birthed from the discovery that many people are suffering because they do not engage in life because of fear, anxiety and frustration. ACT encourages people to understand that these emotions are part of life and when they try to avoid them; they become immobilised and struggle to move forward in life. So accepting these bad feelings empowers a person to move beyond them to achieve his/her goals and this helps to improve the general quality of life of the person.

How Does ACT Work?

Acceptance Commitment Therapy works in three stages: Accept the negative emotion and be mindful, choose the direction you want to go and finally make the necessary changes. The first stage means that you have to accept that there are things that you cannot control. Psychology experts have found that if you focus on things that you cannot control you become more distressed and can slide into depressive mindset. The second and third stages involve you taking charge of your life and taking action to go forward instead of remaining stuck in a place and being overwhelmed by negative emotions.

How does mindfulness fit in with ACT?

Mindfulness simply means living in the present. Most times people are in a place but their mind is filled with so many thoughts that they are not even aware of their immediate environment. But with mindfulness, you will wade off those negative thoughts that take your mind off of your surroundings and become aware of what is happening in the now. As you do this, you should begin to feel better, lighter and you gain control of your body and your thoughts. Being mindful clears your mind and brings you to the present so you can focus on what is important.

The commitment bit of ACT

Commitment is not something you pick up along the way, it starts from the beginning. From our own experiences with our mental health changing how we approach things is very difficult. ACT offers a framework to tackle difficult situations, especially when there are things outside of your control such as a medical illness or work situation. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps brings you to a point of calmness where you decide what really matters to you and what is important to you. From this point, you can now set up new goals and create the life you want to live going forward.

At Epsychiatry we have psychologists who are trained in ACT, if you are interested please get in touch with us. Our phone number is 08 9467 2272.


​T: 08 9467 2272 

F: 08 6313 0920

​E: support@epsychiatry.com.au

This is not an emergency service. Same day consults are not available. If you are in distress please contact your nearest emergency department, your local area mental health service triage or dial "000".  

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