Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dr. Steven C. Hayes illustrates this empirically supported intervention. The goal of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is to increase psychological flexibility, or the ability to enter the present moment more fully and either change or persist in behavior when doing so serves valued ends. Therapists and clients work to establish psychological flexibility through six core ACT processes, including acceptance, the opposite of experiential avoidance; cognitive defusion, in which negative thoughts are observed mindfully instead of avoided or reasoned away; chosen values; and committed action.
In this session, Dr. Hayes works with an African American woman who is dealing with multiple health issues and is struggling with anger and guilt from not living up to her mother's expectations. Dr. Hayes teaches the client skills to accept her emotions, to mindfully observe her thoughts, and to recognize that her actions can be determined by personal values instead of guilt.