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24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice

Act Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Explained

Understanding Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a technique used to help overcome substance abuse issues by gaining control over experiential avoidance. By so doing, we can enhance every aspect of our lives. Different people need to concentrate on different parts of the model based on their specific circumstances. ACT evidence-based treatment works relatively fast, and the strategies learned by those who suffer from addiction can last for the rest of their lives.

Acceptance and commitment therapy makes certain assumptions about human nature that make it different from other commonly used methods, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). That’s because ACT’s aim is not to erase problems but to teach people how to live with them

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Six Principles of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Six basic principles form the basis of ACT. They work together toward the main objectives of efficiently dealing with painful thoughts or experiences and establishing a rich, meaningful life. They are:

  • Cognitive Defusion: It teaches the patient to perceive cognitions (e.g. thoughts, images and memories) for what they are — just bits of language and pictures — instead of what they usually appear to be: scary events, rules that must be followed or objective facts.
  • Expansion/Acceptance: With this skill, the person learns how to make room for unpleasant feelings, sensations or urges, rather than trying to suppress them.
  • Committed Action: In this last principle, the individual learns that the rich and meaningful life they desire is achieved by taking effective action.
  • The Observing Self: This involves accessing human consciousness. 
  • Values Clarification: This principle clarifies what is most vital in the deepest part of ourselves that we can reach. 
  • Contact (Connection) with the Present Moment: Here, people learn how to live in the present, focus on whatever they are doing and gain full awareness of the here-and-now with openness and interest. 

Why choose acceptance commitment therapy?

ACT is often used in drug addiction and alcoholism treatment to help incorporate different forms of mindfulness and acceptance techniques. Moreover, it can be used to help people identify valuable areas within their lives, such as goals and critical relationships

Acceptance commitment therapy seems to be most effective when used with people who have set beliefs/expectations about the chances of their symptoms coming back and are thus seeking to deal with persistent symptoms

When evaluating substance abuse from the view of a chronic illness approach, this can help a client working towards acceptance understand that symptoms like cravings are a reality that will need to be controlled over time

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When to go for acceptance and commitment therapy

ACT may be useful for anyone who is facing substance dependence or alcoholism. Drug rehabilitation through acceptance and commitment therapy helps addicted individuals face the reality of their problems without openly identifying with them or overly concentrating on them. A person who feels worthless because of chronic substance dependence could be helped by ACT to address such perceptions.

What happens during acceptance and commitment therapy?

An ACT-informed therapist aids a patient in exploring their values via a values exercise. This helps the person explore and assess in what ways they are living in their value system and which ways they might want to change. As a result, the client might find acceptance in their dissatisfaction and start to make shifts that can help them find more alignment between what they value and how they spend their time. All in all, ACT focuses on creating new, compassionate relationships with painful feelings or thoughts.

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How Effective Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

According to a study done by Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, ACT is effective in treating addiction, depression and anxiety disorders like any other established psychological interventions. (1). Another study by the Association for Behaviour Analysis International shows that ACT can effectively treat social anxiety, stress, psychosis, mixed substance abuse issues and chronic smoking.

The Role of Counselling in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

An ACT counsellor helps individuals handle difficult emotions and trauma. They provide therapy and coaching to guide the client in managing their difficulty, redirect disturbing feelings and set objectives for themselves. The acceptance and commitment therapy community doesn’t provide official certification for therapists who want to practice this therapy type. The Association for Contextual Behaviour Science upholds a voluntary registry of members who identify themselves as ACT therapists

Facts and Statistics about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACT was invented in 1986 by Steven C. Hayes, a college professor at the University of Nevada. The professor defines acceptance and commitment therapy as a psychological approach that works well when incorporated into a treatment programme with DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy), CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and stress-decreasing methods that concentrate on mindfulness.

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