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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Private ACT therapy for mental health and eating disorders in London at Schoen Clinic Chelsea

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a form of mindful psychotherapy, emphasises staying present and non-judgmentally accepting thoughts and emotions.

This approach aids individuals in navigating difficult feelings, redirecting their focus towards healing rather than fixating on negativity.

a man talking to others in a group therapy setting

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of psychotherapy that blends acceptance and mindfulness strategies with commitment and behaviour change strategies. It's designed to help individuals develop psychological flexibility—the ability to adapt to various circumstances while staying committed to one's values and goals.

The 6 core principles of ACT:

  1. Acceptance: Encouraging individuals to acknowledge and accept their thoughts and feelings rather than trying to avoid or control them. This involves practising mindfulness techniques to observe thoughts and emotions without judgment.

  2. Cognitive defusion: Helping individuals distance themselves from their thoughts by recognising that thoughts are not necessarily reflective of reality. This allows individuals to respond to thoughts more flexibly and choose their actions based on their values rather than being dictated by their thoughts.

  3. Present moment awareness: Focusing on the present moment and engaging fully in whatever one is doing, rather than getting caught up in worries about the past or future.

  4. Self as context: Human language shapes our sense of self, creating a perspective that goes beyond the everyday. This idea is central to therapies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It suggests that our sense of "I" emerges from how we understand our relationships with others, time, and space. This understanding isn't fixed; it evolves with our experiences. Recognising this fluidity can help us detach from unhelpful thoughts and feelings, promoting acceptance and clarity. In ACT, practices like mindfulness and metaphors are used to cultivate this understanding.

  5. Values Clarification: Identifying one's core values—what is truly important and meaningful in life—and using them as a guide for setting goals and making decisions.

  6. Committed Action: Encouraging individuals to take action aligned with their values, even in the presence of difficult thoughts or emotions. This involves setting specific, achievable goals and taking consistent steps towards them.

By building psychological flexibility and helping individuals cultivate a more compassionate relationship with their thoughts and emotions, ACT empowers them to lead richer, more fulfilling lives.

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Get in touch with our team today to explore the benefits of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

If you're looking for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) sessions with a specialist, please reach out to our team.

Our mental health and wellbeing clinic in London offers private outpatient ACT sessions for children, teens and adults with appointments in as little as 24 hours.

ACT is also accessible as part of inpatient treatment for children and teens with eating disorders in Birmingham and adults in York.

Email our caring team today to get started.

How much does ACT therapy cost?

The cost of different types of treatment, therapy or support will vary. See our full breakdown of our prices and funding options for more information or specific costs.

What mental health conditions can be addressed with ACT therapy?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be beneficial for various mental health conditions, including:

  1. Anxiety disorders: ACT helps individuals develop mindfulness skills to observe and accept anxious thoughts and feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them. It also encourages commitment to valued actions even in the presence of anxiety.

  2. Depression: ACT assists individuals in distancing themselves from depressive thoughts and developing values-based actions that can lead to a more meaningful life.

  3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): ACT helps individuals process traumatic experiences by encouraging acceptance of difficult emotions and promoting engagement in meaningful activities.

  4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): ACT techniques can help individuals with OCD learn to accept intrusive thoughts without feeling compelled to engage in compulsive behaviours.

  5. Eating disorders: ACT focuses on developing a healthier relationship with food and body image by promoting mindfulness, value clarification, and committed action.

  6. Chronic pain: ACT teaches individuals skills to manage pain by accepting physical discomfort while pursuing valued life goals and activities.

  7. Substance use disorders: ACT addresses underlying psychological issues and helps individuals develop coping strategies to manage cravings and avoid relapse.

  8. Bipolar disorder: ACT can complement traditional treatments for bipolar disorder by promoting acceptance of mood fluctuations and encouraging individuals to take actions consistent with their values.

Overall, ACT is a versatile therapy that can be tailored to address a wide range of mental health concerns, helping individuals build psychological flexibility and lead more fulfilling lives.

What can I expect from an ACT therapy session at Schoen Clinic?

ACT operates on the premise that attempting to control or suppress painful emotions only exacerbates distress. Instead, it encourages individuals to embrace mindful behaviour, align with personal values, and commit to meaningful action. By simultaneously taking steps to modify behaviour and accepting psychological experiences, individuals can gradually shift their attitudes and emotional states.

As you begin your ACT therapy sessions at Schoen Clinic, you can anticipate progressing through several key stages:

  1. Establishing rapport: In the initial sessions, you'll work closely with your therapist to discuss the challenges you're facing and explore your mental health history. Together, you'll review past strategies and interventions to understand what has and hasn't worked for you.

  2. Cultivating awareness: Your therapist will guide you in recognising areas where you may harbour negative thoughts or emotions, encouraging you to confront and work through painful memories. Through this process, you'll learn to make peace with aspects of your life that are beyond your control.

  3. Exploring core values: Throughout your ACT sessions, you'll be prompted to delve into your core values and aspirations. This involves reflecting on what truly matters to you and envisioning the life you desire.

  4. Taking action: With a deeper understanding of your thought patterns and values, your therapist will support you in taking concrete steps towards positive change. Emphasis will be placed on accepting what cannot be changed while focusing on actionable goals within your control.

  5. Making a commitment: As you progress in your ACT journey, your therapist will collaborate with you to integrate ACT principles into your daily life. Together, you'll devise a comprehensive plan to ensure that the insights gained from therapy translate into lasting behavioural changes for sustained well-being.

What sets ACT therapy apart from other mindfulness-based therapy approaches?

Mindfulness is a big part of ACT therapy. It helps you stay focused on the present moment and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Instead of getting caught up in the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness helps you fully engage with what's happening right now. You can practice mindfulness anywhere, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends. Just by paying attention to your breath and what's going on around you, you can feel more peaceful, purposeful, and happy.

ACT is part of a group of therapies called the "third wave," which includes DBT, MBCT, and MBSR. These therapies all focus on developing mindfulness skills.

What makes ACT different is its flexibility. While other therapies have specific ways they're used, ACT can be adapted for individuals, couples, or groups with different issues. Therapists can adjust the mindfulness techniques to fit each person's needs.

Another thing that sets ACT apart is its view on mindfulness meditation. While it's important, ACT sees it as just one way to learn mindfulness. There are four main areas of mindfulness in ACT: Acceptance, Cognitive Defusion, Contact with the Present Moment, and The Observing Self. This shows how ACT is all about personalised therapy that fits each person's unique situation.

Get in touch with our team today if you'd like to learn more.

Meet our London-based mental health specialists with expertise in ACT therapy

At Schoen Clinic Chelsea, our dedicated team of therapists specialises in offering Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). With their expertise and compassion, they are committed to helping individuals navigate their mental health challenges and cultivate mindfulness skills to promote holistic wellbeing.

Evangelia Mylona


Evangelia Mylona

Dr Lorena Dumitrache

Chartered Clinical Psychologist

Dr Lorena Dumitrache
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