Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (fACT), the primary approach used within the ACT Urgently program, is a brief version of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
The basic way it works is by learning how to deal with past hurts and difficult emotions in order to progress to a meaningful future. Most people who are struggling with their thoughts, feelings and emotions are usually using "helping techniques" that are not working. Trying the same things, yet hoping for different results.
In fACT, the focus is instead on living life in accordance with personal values and learning how to exchange responses that aren’t working with workable behaviors. The goal is not to get rid of the experience (although a reduction of symptoms is often a side effect) but to provide a way to endure based upon your strengths and development of new skills.
In short, the focus is on getting unstuck vs. broad changes or solving a problem.
(ACT) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a “third-wave” cognitive behavioral intervention aimed at enhancing your psychological flexibility.
Rather than suppressing or avoiding psychological events, ACT is based on the belief that acceptance and mindfulness are more adaptive responses to the inevitabilities of life.
Through six central processes, it helps you develop the needed skills to experience your thoughts, physical feelings, and emotions in more flexible ways.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is This The Right Service For Me?
This service is designed for those experiencing an ongoing situation where you find yourself in an unworkable pattern, feeling "stuck", "overwhelmed", or "hopeless" and needing some relief as soon as possible. It is particularly helpful for those dealing with distressing emotions, recurring thoughts, and physical challenges such as low energy, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain issues, and depression.
Is Such A Brief Intervention Really That Useful?
Evidence demonstrates that significant gains are made within the first 3-5 sessions, although it is not uncommon for someone to make a significant adjustment and decrease their distress with just 1-3, 30 minutes or less sessions.
This does not mean that you cannot move into a more typical approach for further support later on, but focuses on the fact that a good number of people can address their issues if the format is kept focused and brief. This format also allows us to see more people, more quickly and with a reduced price in a time when there are higher costs and long wait lists.
Are Interns As Effective As An Experienced Therapist?
A recent study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology added to a growing body of evidence looking at effectiveness related to experience. The study examined whether therapists became more effective in improving patient outcomes over time as they gained experience, using at a sample of 170 therapists and 6,591 patients at a large university counseling center from a period spanning over 18 years.
While patients significantly benefitted from treatment, the study found no evidence that therapists improved in their effectiveness as they gained experience through time in the profession or cumulative number of patients seen. On top of this, Interns are required to work under a Clinical Supervisor, who is more experienced (minimum of five years) and who helps the intern gain the skills they need to be effective therapists.
Supervisors talk to their interns about the work they’re doing with their clients and give them feedback and guidance that helps them grow and improve in one hour of face-to-face clinical supervision meetings every week along with being available to address issues as they come up.
In essence, working with an intern therapist is like seeing two therapists at once. There’s the person you actually see, face-to-face, when you get therapy—as well as the supervisor who’s helping them behind the scenes. This means that interns aren't just using their own knowledge and skills. They're using their supervisor's, too. When they get stuck, they're not on their own.
References: Goldberg, S., Rousmaniere, T., Miller, S., Whipple, J., Nielsen, S., Hoyt, W., & Wampold, B. (2016). Do psychotherapists improve with time and experience? A longitudinal analysis of outcomes in a clinical setting. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(1), 1-11.
Is Insurance Accepted?
Given the nature of this program, insurance is not accepted. This program has been set up to make sure people have access to services at a low cost (typically at about the same cost as a copay) and to get those in need in as soon as possible. This effort is made possible by having mental health counseling interns get the hours they need for their own licensing under the careful supervision of local colleges and a licensed therapist who oversees their work.
There are other options available, such as a sliding scale. Feel free to contact us to find out more information.
How Does ACT Compare To Other Types Of Therapy?
As a mental health intervention, ACT and fACT have been empirically proven to be a highly effective treatment for people dealing with depression, chronic pain, and all sorts of anxiety disorders such as PTSD, OCD, panic disorder and social phobias.
ACT therapy also works for specific issues such as helping people be more focused at the workplace, and performing better at school or in sports. In addition, ACT therapy has become a popular treatment method to find personal contentment, increase quality of life, and the commitment to live life on purpose.
In comparison to other behavioral psychological approaches, you determine the actions you will take to resolve your challenges. ACT allows a lot of space for your therapist to tailor exercises unique to you as you collaborate on what you value most and what goals you want to achieve. One of the main differences is about developing the skills needed to being present in the moment and accepting our thoughts and feelings instead of fighting or feeling guilty for them. This means coming up with a plan to create and live a life with meaning, which includes the pain that comes along with it.
ACT acknowledges that there is pain in life that cannot be avoided — negative thoughts and feelings are an innate part of the human experience — but we can work with our experience of that pain so that it does not create more suffering. Running away from any problem only increases the distance from a solution. ACT therapy less about stopping or fighting these negative experiences and emotions, and more about learning to objectively deal with them so they don’t derail us from living a life with meaning and intent.
ACT THERAPY BENEFITS
Process-based, client-driven, self-directed;
Non-toxic, non-invasive and does not require medication;
Can be used within a wide population of people because it is not targeting one particular issue;
Does not require talking in detail about the distressing issues, nor does it require a specific traumatic event to have occurred;
Can be brief or longer term therapy;
Challenges thoughts by practicing mindfulness, being present in the moment, building distress tolerance and emotional self-regulation.