Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based therapy that combines classical behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) into an action-oriented approach. Clients learn to recognize that their deeper sentiments are reasonable responses to particular events and should not impede them from moving forward in their life.
Acceptance and commitment therapy goals involve moving through uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to focus your energy on healing rather than negativity.
ACT was developed by psychologist Steven C. Hayes, a professor at the University of Nevada, in the 1980s. Hayes’ experiences, particularly his history of panic attacks, sparked the principles that became ACT.1
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- How Does ACT Work?
- What Can Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Treat?
- Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Covered by Insurance?
- Signs ACT is Right for Me
- How Effective is ACT?
- How to Find an ACT Therapist in Tennessee
How Does ACT Work?
While working with a therapist, you will learn to listen to how you speak to yourself about traumatic events, dysfunctional relationships, physical restrictions, or other challenges. You can then decide if an issue necessitates immediate action and change or if it must be accepted as is. You’ll then learn to make behavioral changes that help transform the circumstance.
ACT employs intelligent, imaginative, and frequently amusing exercises. It also aids clients with analyzing whether their actions are effectively resolving the problem and pushing them closer to their beliefs and objectives.2
The primary goal of ACT is to increase psychological flexibility. Emotional openness and the ability to modify your thoughts and behaviors to better sync with your beliefs and values are examples of psychological flexibility.
The following are the six core processes of ACT:
- Acceptance: Rather than trying to avoid, reject, or change your thoughts and feelings, you should acknowledge and embrace them.
- Cognitive Defusion: Distancing yourself from upsetting ideas and feelings and adjusting how you react to them will help to lessen their negative impact.
- Being Present: Observing and not criticizing your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without trying to alter them
- Self as Context: The theory that humans are more than their thoughts, feelings, and experiences
- Values: Personal values in various domains are established while striving to live according to those ideals
- Committed Action: Taking meaningful actions to incorporate changes that are in line with your values and will result in positive change
Analogies, paradoxes, and experiential exercises are frequently used techniques in applying the six core processes.
What Can Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Treat?
Aside from being useful as a life-affirming and inspiring self-determination mindset,3 ACT therapy can aid in the treatment of a range of mental and physical health issues, including:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Substance Use Disorder
Acceptance and commitment therapy techniques include mindfulness exercises. These exercises help you develop a new, more sympathetic relationship with challenging situations, which aid in breaking free from excessive negative thoughts.4
Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Yes, some insurance carriers provide coverage for acceptance and commitment therapy.
Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans. Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the best method to determine if your acceptance and commitment therapy is covered.
Let our highly experienced, expert care coordinators handle the difficulties of contacting your insurance carrier for more information about ACT. After completing the form, a care coordinator will review your policy and thoroughly explain your options. Rest assured, all submitted and discussed information is kept confidential.
Signs ACT is Right for Me
Nearly everyone can benefit from acceptance and commitment therapy. ACT has proven beneficial whether you’re dealing with grief, grappling with an obsessive compulsive disorder, or simply want to practice being more present.5
How Effective is ACT?
ACT is sometimes known as a “third wave” or “new wave” psychotherapy. This is because third-wave treatments were especially useful for those who had failed to respond to previous treatments such as classical cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). However, it is currently thought that a third-wave therapy alternative may make sense as a first-line treatment for some people.
Keep in mind that while ACT is a successful treatment for a range of conditions, research suggests that it may be on par with other existing therapies like CBT. In addition, data shows that someone who responds well to ACT may also respond well to another treatment.6
Furthermore, according to a research study conducted at Razi Psychiatric Center in Tehran, ACT helps reduce anxiety and depression.7 In addition, the study of 177 inpatients at a psychiatric ward over the course of six months exhibited a considerable and statistically significant symptom decrease from both the ACT and CBT interventions. Both methods of therapy resulted in a minor improvement in overall life satisfaction. More than half of the patients recovered reliably from depressive symptoms due to therapy. ACT and CBT were equally successful in treating individuals with depression and other mental illnesses.8
How to Find an ACT Therapist in Tennessee
Finding mental health clinics in Tennessee has never been easier with Athena Care. A care coordinator at one of our various Tennessee locations, is there to help.
Consider the following factors when selecting ACT mental health specialists:
- Education, training, license, and years of experience
- Specialties and services offered
- Treatment methods and philosophies
- Which insurance companies they work with, as well as their office hours, prices, and session length
Regarding ACT, look for an ACT-trained therapist, social worker, professional counselor, or other licensed and experienced mental health specialists. ACT therapists do not need to be specially certified as skills are obtained through peer counseling, workshops, and other acceptance and commitment therapy programs. Furthermore, it is critical to locate a therapist with whom you are at ease and never hesitate to ask questions.
Athena Care mental health clinics are open Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You’ll find a list of practitioners by city and their background and specialties here.
- “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.” Sussex Publishers/Psychology Today, 2022, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/acceptance-and-commitment-therapy
- Valdez, Rebecca, MS, RDN. “What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?” Medically reviewed by Hartselle, Stephanie, MD. Dotdash Media, Inc., 2022, https://www.verywellhealth.com/acceptance-and-commitment-therapy-5215323#citation-6
- Ackerman, Courtney E., MA. “How Does Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT) Work?” Positive Psychology, 2017, https://positivepsychology.com/act-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/
- “What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?” WebMD LLC, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy
- Radin, Sara. “How to Know if Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Could Be Right For You.” Condé Nast, 2022, https://www.allure.com/story/acceptance-commitment-therapy?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss
- Glasofer, Deborah R., MD, “What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?” Medically reviewed by Block, Danile B., MD. Dotdash Media, Inc., 2022, https://www.verywellmind.com/acceptance-commitment-therapy-gad-1393175
- Heydari, M., Masafi, S., Jafari, M., Hassan Saadat, S., Shahyad, S. “Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Anxiety and Depression of Razi Psychiatric Center Staff.” National Institute of Health, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839459/
- Saaman, M., Deifenbacher, A., Schade, C., Dambacher, C., Pontow, Inga-Marlen, Pakenham, K., Fydrish, T. “A clinical effectiveness trial comparing ACT and CBT for inpatients with depressive and mixed mental disorders.” Informa UK Limited, 2020, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10503307.2020.1802080
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.