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Preparing for ACT Therapy

a therapist talks to a person about act therapy preparation

Everyone experiences struggle in their life; it’s a fundamental part of the human condition. Emotional pain, confusion, depression, and anxiety can be overwhelming, and finding your way back to a path of clarity and happiness may seem daunting. During these moments, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can provide substantial assistance. If you’re ready to start a therapy program, make sure your ACT therapy preparation is completed so that you can track your progress

Rockland Recovery Behavioral Health offers comprehensive acceptance and commitment treatment in Massachusetts designed to fit the busy schedules of our clients. Our highly skilled and compassionate therapists are trained in the latest techniques and work collaboratively with clients to develop a personalized treatment plan to meet your expectations. Call us at 855.520.0531 to learn more about beginning your ACT therapy preparation.

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy is a talk therapy that focuses on accepting the difficulties and challenges of life while committing to actions that align with one’s values. It was developed in the 1980s by psychologist Steven C. Hayes and has gained popularity in recent years.

The core idea of ACT is to help individuals develop psychological flexibility by teaching them to accept their thoughts and emotions rather than trying to control or eliminate them. It emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and engaging in actions that are meaningful and in line with personal values.

How Does ACT Therapy Work?

The goal of ACT is not to eliminate difficult feelings; rather, it is to be present with what life brings and to move toward valued behavior. ACT imparts skills to accept these feelings, detach from negative thoughts, and transform individual attitudes toward their own experiences.

ACT uses six core processes: acceptance, cognitive defusion, being present, self-as-context, values, and committed action. They are aimed at developing psychological flexibility and are usually delivered in a flexible and fluid manner rather than in a linear sequence. Therapists work with clients to create a safe and open space, promoting psychological flexibility, and they encourage clients to direct sessions based on their needs and values.

Starting Your ACT Therapy Preparation

Starting your ACT therapy preparation involves getting ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. This may involve researching qualified therapists experienced in this approach. Finding a therapist who specializes in ACT and with whom you feel comfortable can greatly enhance the therapeutic experience.

Managing expectations is vital for a successful therapy experience. Recognizing that ACT is a collaborative effort between the individual and the therapist can foster a positive mindset and enhance outcomes. It is important to approach therapy with realistic expectations, understanding that it is a process that requires time and effort.

Preparing for ACT Therapy

Prior to embarking on your ACT journey, it’s important to understand that this therapy may push you out of your comfort zone. Here are a few steps to take before your first session:

  • Pre-therapy self-reflection – Reflection is a valuable aspect of therapy preparation. Before starting ACT, take time to identify your feelings, thoughts, memories, and bodily sensations without judgment. This exercise lays a foundation for the acceptance part of ACT. Also, reflect on your values and life goals. Knowing what you genuinely care about will guide the commitment and behavior-change phase.
  • Set realistic expectations – Having realistic expectations about what therapy can and cannot achieve is essential. ACT is not a magic solution that immediately rids you of negative feelings or thoughts. Rather, it is a tool to help you manage these feelings more effectively. Accept that growth and change are gradual processes, and there might be setbacks along the way.
  • Keep an open mind – Being open-minded is crucial when starting your ACT therapy preparation. The therapy introduces techniques that might seem unfamiliar or counterintuitive, such as embracing negative thoughts instead of fighting them. It is okay if you don’t immediately understand or feel comfortable with these methods. The key is to remain open to new ways of thinking and feeling.
  • Organize a support system – Having a support system can contribute greatly to your therapeutic experience. Letting trusted family members or friends know about your decision to undergo therapy can provide additional emotional support. They can provide encouragement, reassurance, and a listening ear when you need it.
  • Prepare for homework assignments – ACT often involves homework assignments. These tasks help apply the skills learned in therapy sessions to real-life situations. Being mentally prepared to invest time and effort outside therapy sessions can enhance the benefits of ACT.
  • Practice self-care – Finally, maintaining physical health and practicing self-care is essential when preparing for ACT therapy. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga can help improve your overall well-being, making you better equipped to handle therapy.

With proper preparation and commitment, ACT can be a powerful tool for enhancing psychological flexibility and improving overall mental health.

ACT Treatment in Massachusetts at Rockland Recovery Behavioral Health

Rockland Recovery Behavioral Health’s welcoming and supportive environment enables clients to explore challenging emotions and thoughts in a safe space, fostering psychological flexibility and promoting healthier coping mechanisms. If you are seeking ACT treatment in Massachusetts, look no further than Rockland Recovery Behavioral Health. Contact us at 855.520.0531 to learn more.