Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), developed by Dr. Steven Hayes in the 1990s. It makes use of an intervention model, as well as the principles of mindfulness, commitment (to behavior change), acceptance (of thoughts and feelings), and values clarification. The goal is for the client, through experiential exercises and other strategies based on these principles, to increase psychological flexibility.


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ACT has demonstrated high success rates with several types of disorders. For example, OCD patients, in trials with ACT, have shown increased willingness to experience and manage their obsessive thoughts rather than yielding to their anxieties. And studies of ACT with opiate addicts demonstrate decreased drug use. Besides OCD and substance abuse disorder, ACT is being used successfully for patients with other anxiety disorders (including panic disorder), major depressive disorder (or other depression), chronic pain disorder (pain management), and even smoking cessation.