June 2015 – ACT – The Guildford Psychologist

Some of the people I meet tell me that they have heard of CBT, some know a bit about it, and some have even had CBT before. However, it is rare that a client tells me they have heard of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is one of the models of therapy that I adopt in my practice and therefore, I thought it would be helpful to write a little bit about it here and give you some links to find out some more information. As always, if you have any questions please do feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to go into greater detail.

To give you a bit of background, ACT is a relatively new therapy that although developed in the 1980s, really only took off around 2005. It’s classed as a ‘3rd wave CBT’ treatment in that it uses many of the principles that CBT adopts (i.e., a focus on thoughts, feelings and behaviours) but it’s approach to working with distressing emotions is different and it uses a lot of mindfulness principles. Research has shown that it is very helpful with a number of difficulties including recurrent depression, chronic fatigue and chronic pain.

There are quite a lot of books on ACT out there, but rather than recommend a book to read, I thought I would recommend an article by Russ Harris. Dr Russ Harris resides mainly in Australia and is one of the major contributors to ACT research. A quick search on Amazon will show that he’s written a number of books – ‘The Happiness Trap’, ‘The Confidence Gap’ and ‘The Reality Slap’ to name just three. These books are all really good, but as an introduction to ACT, I would suggest having a read of an article Russ wrote a few years ago. It’s relatively short and pretty easy to read but still outlines the main points of ACT. A link to this article can be found on www.tinyurl.com/y8fwfvb.

If you’re not a fan of articles (or reading), or simply find that you digest information better in video format, then Russ has uploaded a couple of videos summarising ACT on youtube. You’ll have to put aside any critical thoughts you may have about his willingness to be ‘relaxed’ in his appearance (!) – I’ve attended a few of his workshops and he really is very good at explaining things so I hope you find these helpful too. The links to these videos are:



If you feel ACT could be of help to you, do feel free to contact and I will be more than happy to discuss matters further with you.