Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based therapy, and is characterised by focusing not on changing or getting rid of undesirable thoughts, but on accepting that unpleasant thoughts are part of who we are, and letting our thoughts come and go as they please.
In this way, psychological symptoms are alleviated as a by-product, because the client learns to detach themselves from their thoughts, and not hold on to them as they may have done in the past.
ACT is based on mindfulness and is generally about being in the here-and-now, and not getting caught up in the past or the future. However, it differs from other mindfulness-based therapies in that the goal of ACT is not reduction of symptoms.
One of the core ideas in ACT is to remove need to control emotions and thoughts, and move past them instead.
The ‘commitment’ segment of ACT is based around the longer-term focus of ACT, which is to live a fulfilled and valuable life, through commitment to goals and action. This is why ‘ACT’ is such a good acronym for this type of therapy.