What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a relatively new form of therapy first developed in the late 80’s by clinical psychologists and researchers Steven Hayes, Ph.D, Kirk Strosahl, Ph.D., and Kelly Wilson, Ph.D. ACT is firmly based in behavioral science and what we have come to understand about how the human mind operates.
How does ACT work?
The therapist works intensively with the client using specific techniques to help the individual learn to respond or relate to their thoughts in a more flexible manner. This flexibility allows a person to learn to live life more authentically in a manner consistent with their personal values.
Can ACT help me?
Probably. Of course nothing works all the time for everyone; we humans are complex creatures. That being said, there is a large and continually growing body of scientific evidence that ACT is at least as effective, and often more effective than, any other therapeutic model currently being practiced in the treatment of conditions like depression and anxiety. More research is going on all the time. For more information about ACT there is a list of resources elsewhere on this website.
In addition to depression and anxiety, I’ve achieved excellent outcomes with people struggling with a broad range of difficulties, such as grief, divorce recovery, ADHD, anger, and stress related problems, to name a few.
How is ACT different from other kinds of therapy?
While ACT is considered a cognitive behavioral form of therapy, ACT differs from other kinds of therapy in that ACT utilizes mindfulness-based techniques to help the individual relate to the difficult thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and urges that are part of being human, in a fashion that allows one to experience all the richness life has to offer.
Mindfulness. What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness refers to the act of being fully present for what life has to offer right now in this moment. A good analogy is the AA tradition of “one day at a time.” This references our lives as opportunities to choose a specific path from one moment to the next. In that regard, ACT is focused on helping you to make the most of your life now, today, in this very moment!
What happens in a session?
Your first session will mostly be devoted to gathering some history of what has brought you in to see me and getting acquainted. After that, sessions will usually, but not always, involve some sort of exercise where we will work with or talk about things that have come up during your week and how you are responding to those events, both on the surface (what we can see) and privately (what you experience internally). You may be asked to commit to some sort of action that’s in line with your goals and values between sessions.
Exercises and committing? That sounds hard!
Exercises are designed to help you in your process of change and growth. You’ll never be forced to do anything you don’t want to do and I work hard to create a safe and compassionate space for you to grow. Committing refers to setting an intention that you will take action on your values as we work in sessions. Don’t worry…you’ll have plenty of time to develop your plan. And, you’re never in this process alone.
Who can benefit from ACT?
I’ve also had very good results working with couples using the ACT model.
Anyone who wants to have a richer, fuller life. That being said, I currently have clients ranging from motivated 12-year-olds to older adults looking to increase the quality of their lives and make peace with issues that have disturbed them for many years.
How much does this cost?
My fee is $150 for the first session and $100 for each subsequent session. I am also a provider with most major insurers and I am willing to file with your insurance regardless of whether I am one of their preferred providers.
How long will I need to come and see you?
That is entirely up to you and dependent on a variety of factors. How hard you’re willing to work and what issues surface in our sessions are just a few examples of things that can influence the course of treatment. Psychotherapy is not an exact science. The goal of ACT is to give you the tools you need to create and embrace the richer, fuller life that is available to you. I usually suggest 4 – 6 sessions to see what ACT has to offer you.
How often will I have to come for sessions?
I generally recommend weekly sessions in the beginning as I’ve found that is most effective. After an initial treatment period many clients move to bi-weekly or monthly appointments depending on how they’re progressing. Of course, nothing is set in stone and some people will come every other week from the start. I do my best to work flexibly with every client to discover what best meets their needs.
What if I have more questions?
Please feel free to call me or drop me an email. If you do decide to send an email please be aware that it’s not secure, thus I cannot assure the security of your email as it winds its way through the internet. That being said, I make every effort to make certain no one else will see your communication with me in my secure database.