Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence based model that is recognized on the SAMHSA NREPP website that demonstrates effective outcomes for individuals with mental health conditions.

The aim of ACT is to create a rich, full, and meaningful life while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it. We all experience frustration, disappointment, rejection, loss, and failure. We will all experience illness, injury, aging, and eventually death. ACT teaches individuals how to be with their hurts and do what works – to live well, richly, and meaningfully, without first having to defeat or eliminate sources of emotional and psychological pain. This work can be challenging because it calls on us to stand in difficult places and open up to that difficulty, without struggle or resistance, and to carry that forward into a life that is meaningful.

The primary goal of ACT is to support individuals in feeling and thinking what they directly feel and think already, while also helping them move in a chosen, personally valued direction.

ACT establishes psychological flexibility by focusing on six core processes:

  1. Acceptance of private experiences- creating a willingness to experience uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations;
  2. Cognitive defusing or emotional separation/distancing- observing one’s own uncomfortable thoughts without automatically taking them literally or attaching any value to them
  3. Being present- being able to direct attention flexibly and voluntarily to present external and internal events rather than automatically focusing on the past or future;
  4. A perspective-taking sense of self -being in touch with a sense of ongoing awareness
  5. Identification of values that are personally important;
  6. Commitment to action for achieving the personal values identified.

As a primary psycho-educational program of the Prime Time Peers Program at Mental Health America of Greater Tarrant County, ACT is offered with three different curricula: 1) Dealing With Depression, 2) Living With Worry and Anxiety, and 3) Life With Anger. Each series meets for 90 minutes in eight progressive sessions.  Devoting time to learning new information and skills, as well as providing time for group discussion about issues that arise while reviewing program materials are key elements.  Active participation is important to maximize participants’ benefits.

Please contact Stevie Hansen, LCDC at 817-569-4452 or stephanie.hansen@mhmrtc.org for more information about ACT.