Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that uses a combination of strategies to foster psychological flexibility including, mindfulness, acceptance, commitment, and behaviour change. Rather than the focus being on ridding oneself of ‘negative’ internal or external content (i.e. thoughts, feelings, emotions, pain), ACT focuses on inviting individuals to be open to experiencing all that life has to offer us, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and to learn how to move towards the people and things that are meaningful to us, particularly in the presence of challenges.
The way we see ACT is not only as a type of therapy used in a wide variety of clinical settings for a wide range of clinical diagnoses, but also as a way of life, that each of us at OHS have adopted. Our work at OHS is broad and so using a type of therapy that is also very broad is quite fitting. We have been able to incorporate components of ACT into each and every one of our services, and have seen plenty of success in doing so.
In September 2017, we will be launching our ACT for Mindful Eating course which uses components of ACT to address the challenges and barriers that typically come into play in other weight loss initiatives (i.e. dieting, counting calories, restricting). In preparation for the launch of our course we have been exploring what researchers studying ACT’s role on weight control and eating behaviour have discovered. We came across research that revealed that ACT has shown favourable outcomes for long-term weight control outcomes.
“At 3-month follow-up, ACT participants had lost an additional 1.6% of their body weight, whereas the control group gained .3% and overall a significantly higher proportion of the ACT participants had maintained or lost weight. The ACT group also showed significant improvements in quality of life and reductions in psychological distress and self-stigma” (Lillis et al., 2009).
Check out this full article, to see what these researchers have to say about using ACT independently or in combination with Standard Behavioural Treatment for weight control: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4238039/
Lillis, J. and Kendra, K. (2014). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for weight control: Model, evidence, and future directions. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 3(1), 1–7