Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a useful therapeutic approach that encourages acceptance of negative thoughts, feelings, and events and promotes mindful participation in life. It combines the practices of acceptance and mindfulness to equip individuals with tools that will help them face life’s inevitable difficulties.
Rather than trying to avoid the experiences of pain, illness, grief, anxiety, and disappointment, ACT teaches psychological flexibility and resilience, which enables people to face them head-on. Clinicians use ACT to help individuals living with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. It’s also used occasionally for other conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, or psychosis.
What are some of the main benefits of acceptance and commitment therapy techniques? How do these types of mental health therapy help people overcome their symptoms and live happy, fulfilling lives?
1. Learning to Live in the Present
A primary focus of acceptance and commitment therapy techniques involves learning to live in the present. Living in the present is a challenge for everyone, regardless of whether they live with mental illness. It’s common practice to go through days preoccupied with the past or looking far into the future. Unfortunately, people miss out on the gift of the present moment when they do this. Learning to live in the present moment helps people release the anxiety and depression that stem from a fixation on the past or the future.
2. Accepting (Not Avoiding) Difficult Feelings
Most people want to avoid negative feelings. Sitting with difficult emotions is not an easy thing to do. But avoiding troubling thoughts and emotions only leads to lasting turmoil and more struggles down the line. ACT encourages individuals to sit with and work through their difficult feelings rather than avoiding them.
3. Identifying Core Values and Beliefs
Lack of direction and purpose often contributes to poor mental health. Acceptance and commitment therapy techniques focus on teaching individuals to identify their core values and beliefs. By recognizing these inherent values, they can work to live in alignment with what they truly believe and feel more authentic and fulfilled as a result.
4. Keeping a Balanced Perspective on Life
Keeping things in perspective can be tough when living with a mental health condition that operates on extremes. ACT teaches individuals to practice finding the middle ground in life rather than the black-and-white thinking of “all good” or “all bad.” Life offers a wide range of experiences, and ACT empowers people to be present through all of them.
5. Enriching Your Relationships with Others
Building strong relationships with others is an integral part of maintaining positive mental health. Acceptance and commitment therapy techniques enable people to strengthen and enrich their interpersonal relationships with friends, family members, and partners. The stronger these relationships are, the more support they will find for their mental health.
Finding a program that offers ACT among its types of mental health therapy is a good solution for anyone experiencing mental illness. Steps to Recovery is a mental health and addiction treatment center that understands the difficulties of mental illness and works with people to find the approach that works for them.
Call us today at 866-488-8684 or fill out our online contact form and speak with an admissions specialist who will help you identify the right program and path to recovery for you.