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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Woman in group therapy sessionTypes of Psychological Intervention

On the road to recovery, several types of psychotherapy can help. One method is ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This type of therapy can increase Mindfulness-Based Sobriety, showing clients how to accept their realities and take positive action. ACT therapy is available at Gateway locations in and around Illinois.

Why Acceptance Matters in Addiction Treatment

As the name suggests, a key element of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is acceptance. While it sounds easy, acceptance can be challenging for all types of people. Clients going through substance use disorder treatment might have a particularly hard time accepting their emotions, their feelings or simply the steps on the road to sobriety.

If clients can’t accept something, then they can’t let it go and move on. Instead of accepting the situation, clients might see an increase in stress and anxiety. You might have experienced this in your own life if you’ve ever spent an hour in bed tossing, turning and worrying about something that happened earlier that day.

Once you learn to accept something, it is a freeing feeling. You can accept sadness, you can accept hurtful behaviors from the past and you can accept the reality of the present moment. With acceptance comes the ability to focus on bigger and better things for the future.

Choosing Your Direction in Life

If 100 clients in rehab are asked about their values, you might come across a list that looks like this:

  • Honesty
  • Friendship
  • Tolerance
  • Respect
  • Kindness

Obviously, these are all wonderful values. However, if you ask those same clients if they live their lives according to these principles, you might get mixed reviews. That’s because while establishing values is easy, it is much harder to live your life according to them.

Through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, clients are encouraged to choose their own direction in life. This applies to significant, sweeping changes, but it also applies to small actions throughout any given day. When you can’t place blame for your actions, choices, and behaviors, you’ll realize that only you can choose the direction for your life.

Man doing yoga

Taking Action

The final element of ACT therapy is taking action. Once clients have accepted their reality and chosen their direction, they can take action. ACT therapy is not just a theoretical exercise. The goal is to make concrete, lasting changes that lead to a better life.

Sometimes, this just means verbally committing to a change. A client might decide to begin a new fitness routine as a way to relieve stress. Another client might commit to nutritious meals as a way to regulate blood sugar and mood swings each day. Creating a solid plan makes it more likely that patients will work toward their new values and direction in life.

Mindfulness and Relapse Prevention

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is often compared to mindfulness therapy. While the two treatment methods are different, they do have a lot in common. ACT encourages patients to be mindful of how they feel throughout the day. Registering their emotions and feelings is a huge part of recovery.

Mindfulness helps clients get away from their previous behaviors, some of which might be automatic. When clients stop and assess how they feel in the moment, then they can plan a course of action that aligns with their goals. This ties in naturally to the creation of new healthy coping mechanisms that can stave off relapse in the future.

Two people speaking with therapist

Contact Us to Learn More

If clients want to take responsibility for their futures and be more mindful, then acceptance and commitment therapy can help. At any of the Gateway locations, clients will be able to take full advantage of ACT. Call 877.381.6538 to learn more about creating a path to real and lasting sobriety today.

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