Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) purports that modern day society has unhelpfully conditioned us to believe that we ought never to experience negativity. Therein lies the problem, because, when we, as humans, inevitably experience negative and unwanted thoughts, we feel bad about feeling bad and we criticise ourselves for thinking negatively, thus effectively doubling our issues.
ACT holds that rather than insisting on getting rid of all negative thoughts and feelings, we ‘accept’ that these are a part of the human condition. It draws on mindfulness strategies to help us change our relationship to, and even ‘make room’ for difficult thoughts and feelings.
ACT doesn’t stop with accepting – a second key aspect is commitment, commitment to taking action so that we live by our own values whatever these may be. Our values (e.g. honesty, kindness, openness, determination, patience) are like the direction we want to continue to head in. It’s important that we know what our own unique values are, and that we strive to live by them as we know that the larger the gap between the way we live our lives and our values, the more we will struggle with accepting ourselves.
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