Evidence Based Therapies
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is an active, experiential therapy that involves collaboration with your therapist to work towards your goals
ACT helps you identify your personal values and determine how to live a life consistent with these values
ACT helps you gain skills to allow and accept your internal experience, whether that experience be pleasurable or painful
The TAP clinic currently offers individual ACT therapy
What ACT is: Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique, evidence-based intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. “Psychological flexibility” refers to behaving adaptively and effectively in the face of difficult thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations and in service of one’s chosen values. While ACT builds upon well-established cognitive-behavioral treatments, it further engages issues and interventions that have often been associated with the existential and humanistic psychological traditions. A basic premise of the ACT model is that problems in living arise from the way in which we interact with our internal experiences. Rather than observing and responding to our experiences as they unfold in the present moment, we tend to be over-attached to the content of our thoughts and inflexibly work to avoid painful feelings. While this is completely normal and natural, it often leads us to behave in ways that are problematic and inconsistent with our personal values.
When working from this model, you can expect:
• A therapeutic relationship that is genuine, warm and present, and based on the assumption "That which is most personal, is most general" (Carl Rogers).
• Conversations about your personal values: who or what is important to you, and how you want to live the moments of your life
• Compassionate curiosity about what has or has not been working in your life.
• Strategies to unhook from unhelpful thoughts and open up to painful feelings.
• Structured or semi-structured sessions with agenda setting and home practice.
• Though ACT is a "talk therapy", sessions are often experiential and include exploring new ways of responding to thoughts and feelings, or learning new skills.
What ACT treats: Researchers have done a considerable amount of research demonstrating that the individual processes within ACT can be helpful across diagnoses or concerns. In fact, recent studies have demonstrated that ACT is useful for treating substance use, depression, anxiety, chronic stress, and trauma, as well as in the treatment of stress and distress of individuals with medical conditions, such as terminal cancer, chronic pain, and type 2 diabetes. It has even been used with success in reducing stigma and prejudice.
The evidence database for ACT is rapidly expanding and as of August 2019, there were over 300 ACT Randomized Controlled Trials and over 45 peer reviewed assessments of the ACT evidence base. The American Psychological Association (APA) listed ACT as an empirically supported treatment for Depression, Mixed Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Chronic Pain, and Psychosis. In 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence Based Programs listed ACT as an empirically supported treatment for numerous concerns related to co-occurring substance use and mental health concerns. The Department of Veterans Affairs has also begun training psychotherapists across the U.S. in ACT to treat both post-traumatic stress and depression.
For more information on ACT please visit the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science website.
Act for Life Group: We are currently offering an ACT group for individuals with substance abuse difficulties. More information about the group can be found here.