So what does ACT therapy involve?
ACT is closely related to Mindfulness.
(As was shown on the page about Mindfulness-Based Treatments) Mindfulness has three components which are depicted at the points of an equilateral triangle because each is equally important.
In ACT there are six components but tree of these are Mindfulness ones. ACT is shown as a Hexaflex with six points, each of which is connected to every other and the equal sides show each is equally important.
The six components are as follows:
AWARENESS - in ACT this is specifically about being aware of yourself and is often referred to as self-as-context. It's about being aware of your own views and choosing whether or not you act on them rather than doing so out of habit. (this includes the non-judgment of Mindfulness)
IN THE MOMENT - this is about being consciously aware of the here and now. It's about not engaging in one activity whilst your mind is elsewhere.
ACCEPTANCE - as in Mindfulness this is about not resisting what is, not wishing things were different. But it's about accepting it for what it is.
The next three components are additional to those of Mindfulness:
VALUES - knowing what you value for your life and acting on it.
DEFUSION - becoming aware that our thoughts are not reality. The phrase used is "You are not your thoughts". Your thoughts may be telling you something but you don't necessarily have to act as if what they're saying is true or desirable.
COMMITMENT - This is the one that asks whether you really want what you say you want. For example, how many of us have said we wanted to lose weight and have then taken another biscuit? Commitment says that everything you do needs to be taking you in some part towards your goals or values. If it doesn't, why are you doing it?
Overall ACT talks about the need for Psychological Flexibility. To be prepared to change the habitual way in which we view our world especially in those areas which have caused us problems.