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What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

man participating in acceptance and commitment therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, is a type of psychotherapy that encourages clients to accept and move through difficulties instead of trying to control their outcome. It’s based on the realization that everybody has limitations. Everyone will go through bad times in life, and it’s okay to accept what you can’t change and move on.

While accepting your circumstances may seem basic to many, to a select few, it’s a learned art. Some clients feel overwhelmed to the point of panic when things go wrong. Instead of reacting with dismay and then letting go, they work and work to change things over which, in reality, they have no control. This is true for the wife who tries to make her husband stop drinking and for the father who tries to keep his addicted child from using drugs. Not knowing when to quit can cause heightened stress, panic, fear, and anxiety feelings. Over time, these feelings may lead to consequences such as emotional breakdowns or substance use disorder.

If you find yourself repeating the same negative behaviors and decisions that continually cause problems in your life, acceptance and commitment therapy may help you change the way you think. It can also help you set boundaries that lessen the amount of stress you experience daily. At our drug rehab center, our ACT program can help ease the stress and anxiety that some people may feel.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Uses

ACT has many uses, including playing a significant role in addiction therapy. This treatment approach teaches clients to change negative patterns of thinking and view the world more realistically. As a result, the need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol becomes less consuming. But other disorders may benefit from acceptance and commitment therapy, too. These include:

  • Social anxiety
  • Test anxiety
  • Workplace stress
  • Chronic procrastination
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Clients who have trouble following through on projects or who chronically fail to reach goals may find relief through ACT. It’s a type of mental health therapy that’s useful to treat a broad spectrum of mental wellness issues.

How Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Works

ACT is especially useful for clients who obsessively worry and who compulsively try to control feelings and situations. Feelings such as these are harmful and can actually leave you emotionally stuck and unable to move on. You may feel physically ill regarding what you fear will happen, even though the situation is not that serious.

ACT teaches you to accept your reactions, to choose a positive direction, and to take action. In effect, it helps you distance yourself cognitively from the situation so that you may see things more realistically. Techniques used in acceptance and commitment therapy include:

  • Learning to feel emotions without acting on them
  • Acknowledging there is a problem instead of avoiding it
  • Giving yourself permission to fail
  • Speaking more kindly to yourself
  • Practicing mindfulness and being present

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy at Rockland Recovery

For clients who live in the Massachusetts area, Rockland Recovery uses several approaches, including ACT, in addiction treatment. If you struggle daily to change things that can’t be changed, acceptance and commitment therapy may revolutionize your life. Or, if you repeatedly play out the same traumatic situations over and over and suffer the same depressing outcome, treatment at a mental wellness facility nearby, like Rockland Recovery, may help you break the cycle.

Discover More About How ACT Can Help Your Recovery

When you’re ready to ask for help to manage negative thoughts and the impulses they generate, call Rockland Recovery at 855.732.4842, or visit us online. We can help you recover from addiction, mental wellness issues, and dual diagnoses. Your life going forward does not have to involve crisis after crisis. By working on your mindset and letting go of those cognitive distortions you’ve been using to survive, you can greatly improve your quality of life. Our mental health therapy will show you how.

Medical Reviewer Kate Perfetti, LADC II

Medically Reviewed by Kate Perfetti, LADC II

Kate is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has worked in the field of substance abuse for the last nine years. At Rockland Recovery, Kate works to provide resources to the local community and engage and progress Rockland Recovery’s alumni program.


Take the First Step Toward Recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to request a confidential call to explore treatment options, ask questions, and receive support from experienced professionals. We know taking this first step can be challenging, but it’s a courageous and important part of the recovery journey.

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