Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Treatment For Addiction

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, is primarily produced by some of the roots of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is meant to focus all of the patient's attention and efforts towards becoming mindful of their psychological flexibility. This makes it so that they can make present moment emotional improvements to the body's physical and mental health. By discovering the ability to disengage from the many negative thoughts and feelings that occur in life, addiction recovery appears to become more attainable.

This therapeutic approach is becoming more popular in addiction treatment centers because of the practice’s mindfulness-based tactics. Our Shoreline Recovery treatment facility in San Diego is certified and proven to provide patients with the necessary guidance needed to overcome addiction to drugs, alcohol, and all other harmful substance use disorders.

Industry professionals have established six primary processes that typical Acceptance and Commitment Therapy sessions consist of including. They are:

1. Committed Action
These are the efforts the therapist makes attempting to empower behavioral changes.
2. Self-Understanding

Where patients receive the necessary coaching on letting go of particularly negative thoughts and inflexible feelings they may have about themselves. This treatment is geared towards developing a more accurate understanding of how to feel within the context of different situations.

3. Cognitive Defusion

This is the process of therapy focuses on detaching from negative or harmful inner experiences by relating or responding to them in different ways.

4. Mindfulness

Attempting to reduce any potential depression or anxiety symptoms by reconnecting with the present moment of time.

5. Acceptance

The teaching of how to allow certain feelings or thoughts to occur without feeling the sudden urge of needing to change or correct them.

6. Values

This principle is relatively consistent with many other therapy treatment methods. Basically, helping the patient learn and more fully understand the aspects of one’s life that are the absolute most important. This typically includes family, helping others, offering service, etc.

History Behind Acceptance Commitment Therapy

The ideas behind ACT substance abuse treatment were developed in the early 1980s by a renowned psychology professor and prolific author, Dr. Steven C. Hayes. He’s received multiple awards for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Together with his colleagues’ help, over 30 books have been written, along with hundreds of different psychology-focused articles having been published. Dr. Hayes has received numerous awards for the groundbreaking work that he has done over the years. One of the most notable being the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Hayes and his colleagues, nearly two whole decades after developing effective forms of ACT, began to pursue experimental workings on new methods of ACT meant to be used on specific individuals suffering from substance use disorder. Compared to the vast number of more traditional approaches to the addiction recovery industry, acceptance and commitment therapy are still among the new methods of treatment.

The addiction and substance abuse treatment process using ACT is designed to be based on the idea that struggling addicts desperately seek support from others, not to be “cured.” From this specialized approach, this form of therapy is more geared towards helping patients change their line of thinking when considering the psychological pain being caused, rather than merely addressing the mental health disorder itself. These corrections have been shown to reduce symptoms and make many other life improvements when dealing with their mental health conditions.

How Is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Different From Traditional Methods?

Based on the studies and research of Relational Frame Therapy, ACT is a treatment fundamentally made up of standard behavior therapy and mindfulness practice combinations. Industry professionals consider it among the several “third-generation” types of behavioral treatment therapies.

Techniques of traditional behaviorism are known as the first wave, and cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered to be the second wave. Along with acceptance and commitment therapy, a couple of other therapeutic options that are categorized as part of the third wave include dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapies.

Most often compared to forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT treatment, Acceptance and Commitment therapy most notably differs because of the emphasis of working to change the connection the individual may have regarding the perception of what exactly is causing the symptoms. In contrast, cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses primarily on the nature of the patient’s behavioral actions and demeanor towards the high levels of stress and negativity associated with their condition.

What To Expect During Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Sessions

The introduction of therapy can vary depending on the individual and the state of their condition. The trained psychotherapists at Shoreline Recovery in San Diego use their ACT skills to introducing the different treatment plan options for acceptance treatment. A few of the more common tactics and strategies that are used include the following:

By properly administering ACT treatment, therapists can begin to show patients that they are able to gain back the power over how they feel or control how they think and act. This may be necessary because the patient can learn to stop trying to control specific things that are simply and entirely out of their control. Doing this helps the sessions be focused on the things within or around themselves that they are capable of controlling.

Individuals who are seeking ACT treatment to help with their substance abuse habits can be coached and taught to identify their weaknesses. Doing this eliminates many of the day-to-day struggles and can give guidance on how to utilize their strengths better.

Studies have shown that participants of acceptance and commitment therapy benefit most by being guided to let their beliefs, thoughts, and other emotions cause minimal reaction instead of the constant urges to act on them impulsively.

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