Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was developed in the 1980's and 1990's by psychologists in America led by Steven Hayes. They wanted to re-examine the causes of psychological suffering and develop treatment approaches for a broad range of problems. Over the last decade (2000 - 2010) ACT has become an important new CBT model, which is increasingly influencing the evolution of CBT. ACT is a Mindfulness based form of CBT, focusing on:
Neutralising and unhooking yourself from rigid, extreme, self-critical and self-limiting thoughts.
Learning to desensitise yourself from difficult emotions and sensations.
Increasing contact with the present moment.
Cultivating non-judgemental awareness of the ongoing stream of attention itself.
Learning to become more compassionate to yourself and others.
Clarify what you really want your life to be about.
Identify and take steps towards these freely chosen life directions.
Often when we have been struggling with challenging emotions, thoughts, urges and body sensations, our most important values and goals have been neglected. It’s as if we’ve been waiting to start fully living our lives once our problems have been eliminated, yet the longer we battle the demons in our mind, the more distant from our values we can often become.
Values can be cultivated in all areas of our lives, important values can often be about:
- Personal Development
- Career and Education
- Free Time and Leisure
Valued living is the real key to a rich, fulfilling life!
Small and consistent actions in the directions of values can be the beginning of larger patterns of meaningful activity. Values are not acted on because you ‘should’ do them, but because they are purposeful and enriching activities in themselves. How you do something is as important as what you do!