All clinicians use a guiding framework for treatment.
My primary treatment modality is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is related to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but some key differences exist between them.
ACT is an empirically validated form of treatment and a tremendous amount of information can be accessed about it on the website of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.
In addition to the treatment of anxiety, depression, and other common mental health conditions, ACT has been applied to help individuals facing all sorts of problems, including:
- chronic physical illness
- adjustment to other difficult life circumstances
When we apply ACT to our lives, we acknowledge that we cannot control our thoughts, but we can modify our actions and behaviors.
ACT therapists do not view problematic symptoms as a pathological process but instead, believe that symptoms result from thoughts and feelings connected to our memories of earlier experiences in our lives. We seek to help our patients change the story that they have told themselves so they can achieve distance from it and “hold it lightly.” We help our patients to accept that while uncomfortable thoughts and emotions inevitably come up, we don’t have to react to them the same way we have in the past, in turn improving how you feel. This practice can allow us to view our lives differently and begin to work towards living in a way that is more connected to our values, less fraught with difficult emotions, and more satisfying overall.