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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a specialized form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is a mindfulness- and acceptance-based behavioral treatment that focuses on helping people develop and live rich and meaningful lives. In ACT, clients work to improve their quality of life through developing greater psychological flexibility to live more fully with ALL life experiences in the present moment. Building a meaningful life also entails making choices and behaving in ways consistent with one’s personal values. ACT encourages clients to consistently make values-driven choices as well as to notice internal experiences (e.g., unwanted thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and memories) as they arise, without engaging in efforts to control, remove, or change them.

The overarching goal of ACT is to help increase psychological flexibility through six core processes:

  • Acceptance
    • The process of fully making contact with internal experiences without attempting to change, control, or get rid of those experiences
  • Cognitive Defusion
    • Observing the presence of thoughts and stepping back from them, without buying into thoughts or getting entangled in their content and meaning
  • Present-Moment Awareness
    • A core aspect of mindfulness that involves nonjudgmental awareness of experiences and events in the present moment  
  • Self-as-Context
    • The process of connecting with the sense of self that observes one’s experiences, but is distinct from one’s thoughts, physical sensations, feelings, and roles. Self-as-Context involves viewing oneself as the context in which thoughts and feelings unfold as opposed to defining oneself by one’s thoughts or feelings
  • Values
    • The process of clarifying overarching life directions or paths based on what each individual considers personally meaningful, such as the kind of person someone truly wants to be and what someone stands for
  • Committed Action
    • Putting values into action (i.e., the actual practice of overt behaviors in the service of living a values-driven life)

Research on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACT has been extensively researched and shown to be effective in empowering people to effectively cope with a wide range of clinical problems, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, psychotic symptoms, and stress.

Our ACT Program

We offer ACT as an individual or group treatment. Our ACT group is a 10-week behavioral therapy program that focuses on helping adults improve their quality of life. Clients collaboratively work with our providers to select a format of treatment that will best meet their needs and goals. While engaged in ACT, clients are expected to attend weekly appointments and complete out-of-session practice assignments to help generalize mindfulness- and acceptance-based strategies into their daily lives.

To request an initial consultation, please complete this form or call us at (212) 546-9200.