Russ Harris, a physician, therapist, and speaker who specializes in stress management, explained in his book titled “The Happiness Trap” the core of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He stated,

The aim of ACT is to help you live a rich, full, and meaningful life while effectively handling the pain that inevitably comes your way. ACT achieves this through the use of six powerful principles, which will enable you to develop a life-enhancing ability known as ‘psychological flexibility’”.

ACT has been proven to help many people accept things they cannot change; many people in recovery, whether it be from mental illness or addiction, wish they could go back in time or take a trip to the future to change something – anything – to make things easier, better, and more aligned with how they feel life should go. Unfortunately, we can’t always change situations, circumstances, or people – which is why it’s so important to embrace the present and allow ourselves to take care of what we can control – ourselves.

In Harris’s book, he identifies the 6 core principles of ACT:

  1. Defusion – relating to your thoughts in a new way so that they have less of an impact on you
  2. Expansion – making room for unpleasant feelings and emotions rather than trying to push them away
  3. Connection – focusing on and engaging with whatever is happening right now, however you are feeling
  4. The Observing Self – getting to know yourself on a deeper level, leading to great transformation
  5. Values – clarifying and connecting with your values, which serve as a reflection of who you are
  6. Committed Action – living a rich and meaningful life through deliberate actions

A 2015 study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics analyzed 39 research studies involving 1,821 patients who engaged in ACT, with assessments including follow-up after treatment. Results from the study indicated that ACT greatly assisted those with anxiety disorders, depression, addiction, and somatic health problems. Overall, ACT has been shown to provide many positive outcomes when it comes to treatment. As a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you may engage in this form of therapy whilst attending treatment for a mental illness or addiction.

If you haven’t already, speak with a professional at a reputable treatment center to learn more about CBT and ACT and how therapy may assist you in your journey to recovery.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



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