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This article has been adapted from Inside This Moment: A Clinician’s Guide to Promoting Radical Change Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a book by Kirk Strosahl, PhD, Patricia Robinson, PhD, and Thomas Gustavsson, MSc. 

 

Over the years, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has grown and evolved, in part, due to the unique contributions of the clinicians who use it. The freedom within the framework is one feature that makes ACT so effective.

There are a number of reasons why a pharmacological treatment for psychosis may be ill-suited or inadequate. In the face of persistent, sometimes debilitating symptoms, clinical researchers like Joe have turned to ACT.

If you haven’t seen it for yourself, you may be skeptical that real behavior change is possible in just one or two therapy sessions. After all, that’s not time enough to form a therapeutic relationship. But the reality is that evidence supports the value of brief interventions, including ACT.

Let’s take a look at some myths and facts about brief interventions.

Myth: The benefits of therapy build over time.

Ballet Dancers

There are six core processes that are central to acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT): acceptance, cognitive defusion, present-moment awareness, self-as-context, values, and committed action. Growing evidence suggests that these processes counteract the development and maintenance of many, if not all, mental health issues by boosting psychological flexibility.

Close up of two people, holding hands

In these first decades of the twenty-first century, compassion and self-compassion are increasingly being researched and applied as active, empirically supported process variables in psychotherapy. This might not seem surprising, given that compassion has been at the center of contemplative practices for emotional healing for at least 2,600 years.

Little girl with ballons running in a field

Editor’s note: The following is an interview with Christopher McCurry, PhD, a clinical child psychologist in private practice specializing in the treatment of childhood anxiety. Dr. McCurry is a clinical assistant professor in the departments of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is the author of Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance.

Dog hunting for truffles in the woods

Editor’s note: The following is an interview with Jenna LeJeune, PhD, co-founder and director of clinical services at Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center in Portland, Oregon. Dr. LeJeune has trained professionals in acceptance and commitment therapy worldwide.

Portrait of Emily Sandoz with forrested background

Editor’s note: The following is an interview with Emily Sandoz, PhD, international peer-reviewed ACT trainer, professor in the psychology department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and clinical psychologist.

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