Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the recent mindfulness-based behaviour therapies shown to be effective with a diverse range of clinical conditions. In contrast to the assumption of ‘healthy normality’ of Western psychology, ACT assumes that the psychological processes of a normal human mind are often destructive and create psychological suffering.Symptom reduction is not a goal of ACT, based on the view that ongoing attempts to get rid of ‘symptoms’ can create clinical disorders in the first place.
The goal of ACT is to create a rich and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it. ‘ACT’ is a good abbreviation, because this therapy is about taking effective action guided by our deepest values and in which we are fully present and engaged. It is only through mindful action that we can create a meaningful life. Of course, as we attempt to create such a life, we will encounter all sorts of barriers, in the form of unpleasant and unwanted ‘private experiences’ (thoughts, images, feelings, sensations, urges, and memories). ACT teaches mindfulness skills as an effective way to handle these private experiences.