Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – ACT Therapy
Oro House uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT Therapy) in our Los Angeles and Malibu treatment centers as a method to help our clients struggling with negative emotions to accept their feelings and commit to positive behavioral changes.
We understand some people have a propensity toward getting stuck in what could be described as a perpetual mental rut or a pattern of rumination.
This ruminating pattern may come about due to:
- A response toward a particular feeling
- The replaying of a past event
- Participation in a past event
- Fantasizing about the future
- Reactions to searching for the “why” of life
- An inability to see or conceptualize factual information about situations or personal self
- An overwhelming desire to avoid or escape an aspect of themselves they don’t like
- Unhappiness about the condition or state of where they currently are within the scope of their life
Whatever the “it” may be at the crux of this rut, an obsessive mind can drown out other perspectives and views, keeping a person locked into a battle with their inner voice and trapped solely in one element of being, as opposed to simply allowing a feeling or thought to appear naturally and understand it is nothing more than a thought or feeling.
The trappings of the mind and state of being while in such an internally narrowed existence can become the reason for attempting to remove oneself from the mental rut by avoiding the issue altogether or using negative escape routes like drugs or alcohol.
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What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT Therapy)?
Steven C. Hayes developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 1982 as an evidence-based psychotherapy that is similar to other behavioral therapies in some respects.
As the name implies, it values acceptance and commitment as strategies for overcoming negative feelings and emotions that can overwhelm a person.
ACT Therapy uses mindfulness and other techniques to recognize and become aware of difficult feelings and emotions and move past them instead of trying to completely eliminate them.
6 Principles or Components of ACT Therapy
There are six basic principles or core components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that help each client work through their issues to promote positive change.
- Acceptance – Accept your thoughts as they are instead of struggling with them.
- Cognitive Defusion – Recognize that thoughts are just thoughts and they have no power.
- Connect to the Present Moment – Focus on the present moment and not what happened in the past or what might happen in the future.
- Self as Context – Recognize that your thoughts about yourself are different from your actions and behavior.
- Values – Place value on the things that are most important and meaningful to you.
- Committed Action – Make a commitment to take action to attain your values.
Using the techniques in ACT Therapy, an individual learns to take positive action and defuse negative responses that may have previously resulted in screaming and yelling or melting down mentally.
As a person progresses with his or her understanding of how to use these techniques, they will notice a positive change in their own behavior. They will also have a greater trust and acceptance of self, including strengths and weaknesses.
As the client progresses, he or she will be able to identify and accept life’s difficulties instead of negatively reacting to them through avoidance or escape with drugs, alcohol, or other harmful behaviors.
How Does ACT Therapy Work?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy teaches that placing reactions and responses on negative feelings and thoughts can continue to keep a person stuck and not allow for the possibility of moving forward to positive thinking or feelings.
For some people, the mind may struggle when it becomes stuck on unknowable issues like “Why,” or trapped in the unending loop of should have, could have, would have, if only, and what if, conditions.
Other people may ruminate about a particular character trait they have which they find objectionable, or a skewed view regarding a different piece of their personal puzzle.
In ACT Therapy, the client has the opportunity to recognize toxic ideas, feelings, thoughts, and events without the need to take an immediate action.
Instead of avoiding unpleasant thoughts or feelings, ACT teaches a person to accept them, learn to have more flexible thinking, and commit to healthy change and positive behaviors.
What is ACT Therapy Useful For?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy works well for a number of mental health conditions that fixate on automatic negative thoughts and lead to avoidance or harmful behaviors.
ACT Therapy has shown to be effective for the following conditions:
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Drug and alcohol addiction
- Stress and anxiety from work or school
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic pain
At Oro House, we believe that by learning to accept what is, comes the ability to make true, informed choices, resulting in healthier actions and behaviors.
Our clients have had great success with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and it is one of many treatment modalities we use at Oro House Recovery Centers.
Our comprehensive recovery program offers a wide range of treatment therapies that are designed to be effective for the individual needs and goals of each client.
Oro House is licensed by the California Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS) and Accredited by The Joint Commission, which is recognized as the Gold Standard of patient care.
Newsweek recognized us as one of America’s Best Addiction Treatment Centers in 2020 and 2021.