If you’ve long struggled with addiction, eating disorders, or major depression, and often feel tired out and defeated then you’re not alone. These are well-established diseases that take their toll on the emotional and physical health of so many people every year. In light of this, a new form of therapy has been making ways and can offer a measure of comfort to some patients.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – or ACT – offers a way of encouraging individuals to acknowledge their thoughts and feelings rather than compartmentalize, feel guilty, or fight them. If you feel that some of the conventional therapeutic approaches have not worked well for you, then ACT may be worth looking into. The following are four key things to understand about ACT.
The Origins of ACT
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – or CBT – is seen as the original progenitor for the ACT. However, its focus on acceptance is where it diverges from CBT. ACT was developed in the early 1980s and was meant to target specifically those who suffer from substance abuse or are in the beginning stages of addiction recovery. Combined with overall mindfulness approaches to mental health, it has been proven to be one of the few clinically effective treatments available to people in need of help.
Proponents of ACT stick to six key processes established by this particular form of therapy. They can be boiled down to Acceptance, Cognitive Defusion, Feeling Present, Understanding the Self as Context, and Committed Action. These different stages form the backbone of this particular form of therapy and the ways in which practitioners approach new patients. What truly differentiates this commitment therapy from others is the focus on action. It is not only about strengthening people mentally in a loose, conceptual sense, but it also takes seriously the need for them to follow up with actions that best serve them on a daily basis.
Understanding Triggers and Payoffs
Considerable time is spent getting the patient to become more aware of the situations, feelings, and individuals that may trigger an episode. These triggers are then balanced against a certain set of behavioral patterns the person ends up engaging with time and time again, which in turn relates to the perceived payoffs. Better understanding the relationship between triggers and expected outcomes is one of the things that makes ACT so successful in identifying and modifying problematic behavior.
Action Plan for Crises
Another key component of ACT programs is that patients will work with the professional to come up with an actionable plan to help carry them in moments of crisis. The tips are practical, useful, and include a step-by-step plan to help the individual combat their more self-destructive instincts. This is done once the professional is able to accurately assess the psychological inflexibility of the patient, and the extent to which they are able to walk away from certain troubling situations that can trigger their addictive behaviors.
ACT is a powerful wellness tool that allows people to become more in tune with their psyche. It helps them better pinpoint their weaknesses, become mentally strong, and push through difficult moments by training themselves to respond in a positive way to different situations. It has been proven to help with addiction and substance abuse a great deal, and it is worth speaking with your doctor to find a specialist if you feel that you’ve exhausted all other options.