Acceptance commitment therapy / training (ACT) is a psychotherapeutic intervention that mediates improvements in individuals’ psychological flexibility. It can help the practitioner increase psychological flexibility and have a more stable identity and sense of self.
ACT is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic intervention that improves psychological flexibility, which consists of six core processes: acceptance, cognitive defusion, being present, self as context, values and committed action. Part of psychological flexibility can be seen as increasing your inner space. The other half is directed towards committed action, which comes from working with identifying one’s values and building new behavior towards goals that are aligned with these values.
Although the connection to individuals’ engagement in sustainability issues is not that direct, nothing in the practice says that the values you identify shouldn’t align with e.g. the planetary boundaries.
ACT is a non-profit, co-created open source initiative. One can take ACT therapy or ACT training, but evidence shows that the practitioner can achieve equal effects from learning through both books and face-to-face counseling.
How it can help
ACT and improving psychological flexibility have been demonstrated to have a number of positive effects, such as higher performance at cognitive tasks, increased quality in relations, decreased levels of stress and depression and decreased tendencies to get caught up in conspiracy theories. There are also exercises for developing long-term perspectives and orientation.
Read the IDG Phase 2 Research Report and get more in-depth information.
How to practice
When starting ACT for the first time, try the following:
- Begin with differentiating oneself from one’s thoughts. For example, there is a big difference between thinking “I don’t matter to anyone” and “I am having the thought that I don’t matter.”
- Explore digital resources where you can learn ACT or train ACT. For example, the non-profit platform https://29k.org that has several free ACT courses and exercises.
- The official site for ACT resource is https://contextualscience.org. Here you can explore ACT-self-help books, TED-talks on ACT, Free ACT Articles, Podcasts, Interviews, find a therapist and much more.