Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Anxiety Treatment Review

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)? | Principles and Process | Client Version | Effectiveness | References

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of CBT or Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy that is a research and evidence based therapy for fear, cialis usacialis usa nursenurse anxiety and nervousness. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is itself based on relational frame theory (RFT) and is a form of mindfulness where the client is taught to just observe or notice their thoughts, viewview physicianphysician feelings, doctordoctor onlineonline and emotions and learn not to judge them. In this way negative emotions, thoughts and feelings become less impactful for the individual.

Unlike most other forms of CBT or Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is not based on reframing the issue, but rather on observation and acceptance.


Principles and process

ACT is founded on six principles which form the therapeutic process:

  1. Cognitive diffusion: Learning to perceive thoughts, images, emotions, and memories as what they are, not what they appear to be. Observing the emotions and thoughts.
  2. Acceptance: Allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without struggling with them.
  3. Contact with the present moment: Awareness of the here and now, experienced with openness, interest, and receptiveness as opposed to using our imagination or memory.
  4. Observing the self: Accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is unchanging.
  5. Values: Discovering what is most important to one's true self.
  6. Committed action: Setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly and ecologically for the individual in the context of other people.

Client Version

An acronym for ACT (pronounced act like the word for acting) is often presented to clients as a simplified aide-memoir for the process:

  1. Accept your reactions and be present
  2. Choose a valued direction
  3. Take action


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is usually very effective for panic attacks and stress and can be effective for depression, addictions, anxiety related issues. It appears also to have some impact on psycosis, pain management and diabetic conditions.

Go to A-Z list of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

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Eifert, G.H., & Forsyth, J.P. (2005). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: A Practitioner's Treatment Guide to Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Value-Guide Behavior Change Strategies. Oakland CA: New Harbinger.

Forsyth, J.P., &  Eifert, G.H. (2007). The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free From Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland CA: New Harbinger.

Harris, R. (August 2006). Embracing your demons: an overview of acceptance and commitment therapy. Psychotherapy in Australia, 12, 4, 2-8.

Hayes, S.C., & Smith, S. (2005). Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications. ISBN.

Hayes, S.C., & Strosahl, K.D. (2004). A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Springer.

Hayes, S.C. Strosahl, K.D., & Wilson, K.G. (2003). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy : An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change. The Guilford Press.

Martell, C.R., Addis, M.E., & Jacobson, N.S. (2001). Depression in Context: Strategies for Guided Action. New York: W. W. Norton.

Öst, L. G. (March 2008). "Efficacy of the third wave of behavioral therapies: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Behaviour research and therapy 46 (3): 296-321.


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