Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
East West DBT therapists have significant training and background in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
ACT is an evidence-based form of behavioral psychotherapy that emphasizes acceptance as a way to deal with negative thoughts, feelings, symptoms, or circumstances.
Unlike traditional CBT therapy, the goal of ACT is not to reduce or get rid of unpleasant internal experiences like ineffective thought patterns, emotions, or urges.
Rather, the goal is to change our relationship to these ineffective patterns - noticing them without allowing them to control us. This shift can free us from the exhausting struggle of trying to control our experiences, and help us find energy to commit to actions consistent with our values.
The focus on values is a key component of ACT, which focuses on support to take action that aligns with our values, guided by evidence that when clients set their “behavioral compass” in-line with their values, they typically experience a flow of positive emotions and a decrease of symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness is a central part of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Like in DBT, through the practice of present-moment awareness, we are better able to identify judgmental thought patterns and form a different relationship with our thinking.
During each session, your therapist will support you in the practice of acceptance, cognitive defusion, and identification of core values and values-based action towards your goals.
Sessions will include mindfulness exercises designed to increase non-judgmental, healthy awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations you have otherwise been avoiding.
The therapist will help you identify “experiments” to engage actively with your environment and stop avoiding action due to anxiety or self-judgmental rumination.
Your therapist may assign homework to practice between sessions. The homework is agreed upon between you and your therapist and can be modified to be as useful as possible.