ACT is rooted in the thinking that although life can bring joy and many good and positive experiences, it also inevitably brings painful and disappointing events and moments. Difficulty with accepting and tolerating the pain associated with living can result in suffering and prevent us from moving towards a rich and meaningful life.
ACT differs from traditional CBT in that rather than focusing on distorted thought content, ACT’s primary therapeutic objective is to change the way an individual relates to their thoughts and other internal experiences (feelings, bodily sensations, memories, etc). ACT incorporates concepts of acceptance, mindfulness, and defusion, which can help people notice, accept and embrace internal private events. The goal of treatment is to decrease avoidance of difficult internal and external experiences in service of a value-based, meaningful life.