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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

I utilize a mindfulness-based behavioral approach called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  It is often known as ‘ACT’ (pronounced as the word ‘act’).  The name “acceptance and commitment therapy” reflects a key message: accept what is out of your personal control and commit to action that improves your life.  It’s a very active form of therapy.  It’s not just talking about your problems and feelings.  Our aim here is to work together as a team, to help you be the sort of person you want to be and build the sort of life you want to live.

Part of this approach involves learning skills to handle difficult thoughts and feelings more effectively, so they have less impact and influence over you.  When we introduce these skills, I’ll ask you to practice them between sessions.  You don’t have to do that, of course, but it’s like learning to play a guitar: the more practice you do, the better you get.

ACT also involves clarifying your values:  finding out what matters to you, what you want to stand for in life, what strengths and qualities you want to develop, how you want to treat yourself and others.  It also involves taking action to solve your problems, face your challenges, and do things that make life better.  I want you to leave here after each session with an action plan: something practical to take away and use to actively improve your life.  At times, therapy may seem like a roller-coaster ride, but I’ll be there in the roller-coaster car with you.  I will ask you at times to try new things that may pull you out of your comfort zone—like learning new skills to handle difficult thoughts and feelings—but you never have to do them.  You are always free to say no to anything I suggest.

More information:

  • Harris, R. (2008). The Happiness Trap: How to stop struggling and start living. Boston, MA: Trumpeter.More info

  • Harris R. Embracing your demons: an overview of acceptance and commitment therapy. Psychotherapy in Australia 2006;12:2‐8.

  • Harris, R. (2009). ACT Made Simple: An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

  • Harris, R. (2013). Getting Unstuck in ACT: A Clinician's Guide to Overcoming Common Obstacles in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.More info

  • Harris, R. (2018). ACT Questions and Answers: A Practitioner's Guide to 150 Common Sticking Points in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications.

  • Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford Press

  • Hayes, S. C., & Smith, S. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life: The new Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

I invite any curiosities and questions, please contact me below!

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