What in the World is ACT?

CBT, SFBT, ACT – What  in the world are all these acronyms in therapy? Knowing a little about what is involved in therapy can help you choose a therapist you feel comfortable with. In my next few blogs I will give you a quick introduction to a few types of therapy and let you know how you can learn more about them.

ACT (pronounced like the word “act”) is short for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It is a form of therapy based on scientific research and related to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  Instead of working on changing unpleasant feelings and thoughts, you learn mindfulness practices to help accept the thoughts and feelings and allow them to pass by.  The therapist also guides you in clarifying your values and making a commitment to change.  You might say ACT is a way to stop fighting with yourself and start living.

The Happiness Trap and Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life are two short books that can give you a great introduction to ACT.  They also have some interesting activities that you can use to practice what you have learned.


Harris, Russ. (2008). The Happiness Trap. Boulder, CO: Trumpeter Books.

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 Publications.

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