Although Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has always been in the forefront among treatments for anxiety and panic, I thought it was important for visitors to know there ARE other viewpoints on best treatment.
ACT is different and revolutionary. It is considered a mindfulness-based behavior therapy. It seems to focus on how language interfaces with behavior, and provides a good foundation for living a “valued life,” no matter the person’s condition or diagnosis. In other words, ACT is beneficial for anyone with a pulse!
Rather than try to explain Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in this short blog, I’d like to direct you to some info that will introduce you to the concept. It comes from a TIME magazine article on ACT’s creator, Dr. Steven Hayes, who himself suffered from panic attacks. (Note: You are required to log in and/or sign up to see full TIME articles, however.) CLICK HERE to see article.
You’ll see related links at the bottom, and more about ACT in the website’s sidebar.
There is also an interesting and rather positive letter about that article from Dr. Hayes, who us the Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada and author of over 35 books, plus over 500 scientific articles. His letter may be read HERE.
I do want to point out that it is necessary to understand the concept of “acceptance” in this form of therapy . . . which is not to be confused with some sort of defeat or resignation. In fact, it is so much “positive” and far richer than one might be inclined to think.
There are a number of good books and workbooks about ACT. One of the most helpful that I personally read was Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (by Dr. Hayes and Spencer Smith). This is more of a workbook which many will pleased to use, since it is a great self-help tool.
If you are already using a CBT model, ACT does not really contradict those teachings, however different. In fact, I noticed that this book won an award that stated: This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit — an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.
I’ve also enjoyed books and articles written by another ACT therapist, Russell Harris, M.D., who is a medical practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice in Melbourne. Dr. Harris was quoted as saying, “The experience of doing therapy becomes vastly different with ACT. It is no longer about getting rid of bad feelings or getting over old trauma. Instead it is about creating a rich, full and meaningful life…. If I had to summarise ACT on a t-shirt, it would read: ‘Embrace your demons, and follow your heart.’”
Here is his popular book, The Illustrated Happiness Trap: How To Stop Struggling and Start Living, which is an excellent (and relatively easy) read:
For anyone interested in ACT for OCD, here is a link to a very recent podcast with Dr. Hayes which covers that topic: http://theocdstories.com/podcast/dr-steven-hayes-on-act-ocd-and-living-a-meaningful-life/
Have you tried ACT? What do you think of it? Let us know!