What’s the Difference between Acceptance and Commitment Therapy & Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy are both popular approaches used by a variety of mental health professionals to help individuals become more aware of their current circumstances and also how they react to these circumstances.
What is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a form of behavioral therapy, developed in the late 1980’s, that combines the practice of acceptance with mindfulness strategies. It assumes that by acknowledging and accepting negative thoughts and feelings, we can learn to observe them passively and develop new ways to relate to them. ACT also helps individuals to become more flexible psychologically, gain a better understanding of their personal values and become more connected in the present moment.
Negative thought patterns impact many aspects of daily life, including relationships and careers. ACT uses a range of techniques to reduce the power of these thoughts and feelings, without denying their existence.
ACT involves the use of 6 core skills or thought processes that allow participants to develop greater psychological flexibility. These are not taught in any specific order. They are:
Acceptance – Acknowledging and embracing painful or negative thoughts without trying to change them is an essential skill to master in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Cognitive diffusion – This means changing the way in which negative thoughts and feelings function as well as changing how we relate to them. For example, seeing the troublesome issue as a particular shape or colour can help to reduce its significance or perceived value.
Contacting the present moment – Being more aware of the immediate environment and focusing on what is happening right now helps to ensurethatour current actions align with our personal values.