It may be confusing but there are a number of different types of psychological therapy. Many people have heard of counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy. Another exciting therapy that is gaining popularity has the long winded title of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Mostly, it is called ACT for short, (as in the word ‘act’). It is exciting because there is growing research evidence suggesting that this treatment can provide benefit for a wide range of problems, such as anxiety, depression, addictions, insomnia and chronic pain.
So what does ACT do? Basically there are two main aspects. First, it tries to help people clearly identify what gives their lives value and to help them move themselves in that direction. This is important because there is often a gap between the life we would like to be having and the life we actually have! Consciously choosing to live a life ‘on purpose’ and to make it more meaningful and vibrant is a key part of this process. Secondly, ACT is concerned with helping people to deal with the internal obstacles that stop them from living this valued life. These are often difficult feelings, (like anxiety or discomfort), or sometimes our own thoughts can get in the way. Thoughts like, “I can’t do that”, or “I am so useless, I always fail whatever I do” can undermine our self-confidence and self-esteem. Often we are our own worst enemy in sabotaging our lives! ACT uses skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to help people develop ways of increasing their acceptance of difficult feelings and to have a different relationship with their negative thoughts.
For information about ACT, phone (01208) 871905.