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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

What does that mean? What is this therapy? In a sentence, ACT is learning how to accept what you can't change and committing to changing what you can. Just that description is a pretty good life mantra.

"ACT, which begins with the fundamental understanding that pain, grief, loss, disappointment, illness, fear, and anxiety are inevitable features of human life. The goal of ACT is not elimination or suppression of these experiences. Rather, ACT emphasises pursuit of valued life areas and directions, such as intimate relationships, meaningful work, and personal growth, in the face of these painful experiences. Increased engagement in meaningful life activities, even while experiencing negative thoughts and emotions or other difficulties, is accomplished in ACT by cultivating psychological flexibility." (

Rather than pushing the discomfort away, it's holding a space for it and finding action oriented approaches to dealing with the discomfort. ACT has a major emphasis on values, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, living in the present moment, and accessing a transcendent sense of self.

I have recently attended Dr Russ Harris' workshops and find ACT makes so much sense Check out his website for resources, more information and links to his books. The Happiness Trap pocketbook is a great start.

I now incorporate ACT into my counselling sessions.

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