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Flashcards in Acceptance And Commitment Therapy Deck (20)
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What form of therapy is ACT

Act emerged from behaviourist approaches to therapy


Behaviour Therapy is concetualized within 3 categories or generations

Behaviour Therapy
Third generation or wave of behaviour therapy


Act is

Grounded in behaviourism but underpinned by analysis of cognitive processes


The third wave of behaviourism supports

Openness and acceptance of psychological events including those that are traditionally perceived to be negative or irrational


The chief purpose of Act is to

Encourage individuals to respond to situations constructively, while simultaneously negotiating and accepting cognitive events and corresponding feelings rather than replacing them


A key feature of ACT is the emphasis on the notion that

Behaviour and emotions can exist simultaneously and independently


ACT encouraged the individual to

Accept and integrate into their lived experiences challenging affective responses and to recognise and eliminate the controlling dimensions that specific contextual situations exert upon them


ACT facilitates therapeutic outcomes that assist clients in

processing a variety of presenting problems, emphasizing its utility and generalizability within a range of contexts


• ACT is underpinned by functional contextualism Being a

a pragmatic philosophical position that recognizes that psychological events (encompassing cognition, affective responses and behaviour) are influenced by antecedents within a specific context (Hayes, 1993)


Core components of functional contextualism are

a) focus on the whole event,
b) sensitivity to the role of context in understanding the nature and function of an event,
c) emphasis on a pragmatic truth criterion,
d) specific scientific goals against which to apply the truth criterion’


• A reductionist approach to therapy that focuses

solely on the analysis of behaviour, rather than placing such responses within an historical and contextual position is rejected in ACT (Hayes, 2004)


The approach utilizes relational frame theory (RFT), a behavior analytic theory of human behavior that serves to explain

the complex interplay of behaviours and thought processes (Neukrug, 2011)


RFT provides a conceptual framework for understanding

The learned ability to arbitrarily relate events, mutually and in combination, and to change the functions of events based on these relations’ (Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda & Lillis, 2006, p. 8)


According to RFT maladaptive processes occur as a result

of the individual avoiding ‘private events’ (cognitive processes and affective responses) based on their negative appraisal of these events


• As the individual engages in ACT they learn to

integrate these private events, consolidate personal values and adopt new ways of behaving (Dewane, 2008)


A key assumption of ACT is that

is that psychological processes in most individuals have the potential to be destructive, in contrast to the predominant Western view that fundamentally, humans are psychologically healthy beings (Harris, 2006)


• Unlike cognitive-behavioural approaches that reinforce the dynamic interplay between cognition, behavior and affect and the focus on replacing maladaptive thought processes with healthier cognitions, ACT teaches individuals to

‘just notice’, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioural responses that produce more desirable outcomes (Bach & Hayes, 2002)


• Through this process the individual is encouraged to

exercise increased psychological flexibility, drawing on personal values that lead to meaningful action (Zettle, 2005)


• The acronym FEAR is sometimes utilised in ACT to highlight key variables associated with psychological disequilibrium:

: Fusion of thoughts;
Evaluation of experience;
Avoidance of experience;
Reason-giving for behavior (Takahashi, Muto, Tada & Sugiyama, 2002)


• Inherent in the practice of ACT are a number of mindfulness skills that include:

acceptance of thoughts and emotions;
• cognitive defusion which involves developing accurate awareness of thoughts and emotions so that they have less impact;
• expansion that makes room for unpleasant emotions and urges in contrast to trying to suppress or reject them
• awareness of the moment by being open and receptive; and
• observation of self (Harris, 2006)