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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (pronounced ‘ACT’ for short) is a well-researched and theoretically coherent form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). It has been developed and researched over the last 20 years, but has become more widely available only in the last five years or so. The goal of ACT is to you make your life ‘workable’. By ‘workable’, I mean that you can consistently choose to act effectively even when you are experiencing difficult or distressing thoughts or feelings. ACT does not assume that all problems can be resolved, but rather that unwanted experiences need not paralyse you or make you incapable of experiencing any happiness or peace.

Try an ACT exercise! You can download or play a 10 minute audio file of a typical exercise by clicking here or here.

Here’s how a colleague, Dr Jason Luoma describes ACT:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is about the problem of human suffering, and it’s also about much more than that. It’s about reaching beyond suffering to the larger purpose of people’s lives and helping them get active in really living. ACT is centered on such questions as “What do you really want your life to be about?” or “If you lived in a world where you could have your life be about anything, what would it be?”
ACT (said as one word, not the letters) is a new cognitive-behavior therapy that has gained increasing attention in recent years. ACT emphasizes such processes as mindfulness, acceptance, and values in helping clients overcome obstacles in their lives.

A basic assumption of ACT is that suffering is a normal and unavoidable part of human experience and that it is actually people’s attempts to control or avoid their own painful experiences that leads to much long-term suffering and what doesn’t work in people’s lives. ACT helps people learn ways to let go of the struggle with pain, be more mindful, get clarity on what really matters to them, and to commit to living full, vibrant lives. The goal of therapy is not to eliminate certain parts of one’s experience of life, but rather to learn how to experience life more fully, without as much struggle, and with vitality and commitment.

Further information about ACT can be found in the Links and FAQ pages.

Counselling starts with me listening to you as you relate your concerns. I’ll often ask questions for clarification. I do this because I’m trying not only to understand what has been or is happening to you, but also how you see the world. I’ll often ask questions that are aimed at finding out what resources and strengths you have available in your life. A resource can be anything from a friend to a skill to membership of a religion, club, family or culture. Once I’ve asked enough questions – and sometimes well before then – we’ll start generating solutions to your problem. A solution can take several forms, depending on the problem, the person and the environment in which the problem shows up. For some people the solution will be that the problem stops showing up. For others it will be that the problem shows up in a different way – it seems to be no longer a problem. For yet other people the solution may be that they show up in a different way – as more resourceful, skilful, patient, graceful, confident, peaceful or happy. What counselling isn’t. Counselling is not teaching, giving advice, coaching, sympathising, psychoanalysing or making someone do what they should do or what is good for them. However, at different times these things may happen in a counselling session. But always in a context of respect and with the intention of reducing suffering. To understand more about my approach to counselling email or call me.


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Time: March 11, 2011, 10:20 am

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