Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a behavioural approach to prevent difficult thoughts and feelings from having a negative influence on our lives.

In ACT, we are less interested in reducing symptoms or establishing whether a thought is true or not. What matters is the power that you give that thought either to empower you, or to pull you into self defeating behaviour. ACT is a therapy approach that used acceptance and mindfulness processes to produce greater psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility allows us to live in the present, with awareness and openness to experience and to take action guided by values.

ACT focuses on 3 main areas

  • Developing acceptance of unwanted, private experiences (thoughts and feelings ) which are out of ones personal control
  • Commitment and actions towards living a valued life
  • Practising mindfulness and bringing attention to a present moment

There are 6 core processes

  • 1. Acceptance - Actively and fully contacting psychological experiences without wanting to defend
  • 2. Defusion - Noticing thoughts, rather than being caught up in thoughts. The goal of defusion is not to help avoid the experience, but to make it more manageable.
  • 3. Contacting the present moment/mindfulness - Being able to engage fully in what you are doing in at the particular moment.
  • 4. Self as context - Understanding that we are not our thoughts. We are only a vessel that holds out experiences.
  • 5. Values - The who and what that matters the most. Values are chosen life directions.
  • 6. Committed actions - Overt behaviour in the service of chosen values.

ACT has shown its clinical effectiveness in many settings

  • Children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome who struggle with unhelpful thoughts and feelings
  • Parents/careers and siblings of children with autism and learning difficulties who go through various psychological difficulties on day-to-day basis
  • Children who struggle with emotional difficulties, anxiety both at home and school settings
  • Staff working with population with learning difficulties where high levels of stress and burnout can significantly impact their own well- being and performance

The Footbridge offers 1:1 ACT sessions, small group work and workshops for care providers or any staff teams that support individuals with additional needs.
For more details about ACT please contact