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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is acceptance in commitment therapy?

    What is it used for and what is it meant to achieve?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Emma Webster

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a warm, supportive and compassionate therapist, committed to assisting my clients to connect to their inner wisdom and strength, to develop mindful awareness … View Profile

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core messages: Accept what is out of your personal control and commit to action that improves or enhances your life. The aim of ACT is to maximize human potential for a rich and meaningful life. ACT does this by first, teaching you psychological skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings more effectively, and in such a way that they have less impact and influence over you. One way they do this is through mindfulness skills. Second, it helps you to clarify what is important and meaningful to you, for example, your values, and you can use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate your life. The aim of ACT is to create psychological flexibility, that is your ability to be present, open up and do what matters.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    To some extent Acceptance and Commitment Therapy overlaps with CBT though there are some differences.

    This link (and links therein) is a fair summary: .

  • 2


    Often enough, we do not know our own mind. In the process of dialogue with another person, we are able to clarify what we think … View Profile

    Acceptance and Commitment therapy is a counselling/coaching approach that has gained popularity in the past few years. Emma has given a great overview of it above. I would just add that accepting what is out of your personal control can take a while and we shouldn't see this as a simplistic step at all, its actually quite complicated depending upon what it is that you're being asked to accept, and requires quite a bit of practice.

    Most ACT therapists are experienced with mindfulness practices which can help our busy minds practice staying present in the now. A lot of what causes us pain and suffering is our thinking, and ACT aims to help deal with our endless streams of unhelpful thoughts in creative and lasting ways.

    In relation to what ACT is meant to achieve well that is as varied as the people that seek its help. Essentially though a valued meaningful life is the goal of ACT which is a life of colour and texture with acceptance of all of the ups and downs that being alive brings.

    If you want to read more about ACT - I would suggest getting a copy of Russ Harris' book ‘The Happiness Trap’ - it has a lot of the key concepts of ACT contained within.

    Good luck.

  • 1


    Jennifer Grant


    New practice opened Feb 2018. Seewebsite I'm passionate about working with people from all walks of life to help them create a more vital, … View Profile

    I’d like to expand on Emma, Simon and Charlotte’s contributions above, by quoting from the website of the international association for ACT and related therapies (The Association for Contextual Behavioural Science):
    “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has developed as a behavioural intervention to help people learn strategies to live life more in the present, more focused on important values and goals, and less focused on painful thoughts, feelings and experiences. ACT teaches people how to engage with and overcome painful thoughts and feelings through acceptance and mindfulness techniques, to develop self-compassion and flexibility, and to build life-enhancing patterns of behaviour. ACT is not about overcoming pain or fighting emotions; it's about embracing life and feeling everything it has to offer. It offers a way out of suffering by choosing to live a life based on what matters most. ACT has developed within a scientific tradition, and there continues to be a thriving research community that examines the basic science underlying ACT and the effectiveness of applying ACT techniques to numerous life problems such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, chronic pain, psychosis, eating problems, and weight management, just to name a few.”
    There’s plenty of self-help resources on the ACBS website at Or, if you want to learn about ACT through direct experience consult an ACT therapist. There’s a therapist list at

  • 3


    Chris Larkin


    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT (pronounced like the word “act”, not “A – C – T”) is an evidence-based development of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. ACT uses mindfulness techniques to offer clients a more effective way of dealing with painful emotions and unwelcome thoughts.

    ACT works from the understanding that the normal processes of a healthy human mind may themselves cause suffering and dysfunctional behaviour, especially when a person is attempting to avoid painful experiences at any cost, and to “shut out” all unwelcome thoughts and emotions.

    ACT aims to help clients move towards valued and purposeful living, while acknowledging that a certain level of pain and discomfort is a natural consequence of living a full, rich and meaningful life.

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