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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), originally developed by the clinical psychologist, Dr Steven Hayes, is a therapeutic approach that emphasises acceptance of what we can’t control and commitment to living a valued life. ACT is pronounced as the word “act”, which represents the goal of taking effective action that is guided by what is most important to an individual. The two main components of ACT therapy are identification of core values and learning the skills to manage painful emotions, rather than trying to avoid them.

Like many therapeutic approaches, ACT incorporates mindfulness skills as a key component of therapy. In its simplest terms, mindfulness refers to the concept of paying attention to the present moment, including your thoughts, feelings and sensations, with a non-judgemental and curious attitude.

ACT groups mindfulness skills into three categories:

Diffusion: Creating distance from unhelpful thoughts, feelings, beliefs or memories

Acceptance: Making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations and allowing them to come and go without a struggle

Contact with the present moment: Engaging fully with the present moment with an attitude of openness and curiosity


ACT includes formal meditation practice as well as a variety of creative techniques to help people to effectively cope with strong emotions and pursue a valued life.

Our psychologists have skills in ACT and are able to incorporate this model into their work with clients.

Further information about ACT can be found at:

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