What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as defined by the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, is “a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility”. To put this definition in lay terms, ACT is a type of therapy that teaches clients to use mindfulness and acceptance in order to live fuller, more meaningful lives.
One key component of ACT is valued work—helping clients identify the values that they most want to live by. If a client doesn’t feel as if they’re embodying the values that are important to them, the therapist will work with the client to make committed changes in the client’s life towards that set of values. These changes often help the client feel that their life has more meaning and satisfaction.
How can Acceptance and Commitment Therapy help treat eating disorders?
ACT is so effective in eating disorder treatment because it helps clients realize that recovery creates much more meaning in their lives than the eating disorder does. When doing ACT in eating disorder treatment, clients focus on the values that they most want to embody in their recovery. Clients often ask themselves when discussing these values whether their eating disorder supports the life they want to live; the answer to this question is often no. After becoming aware of this disconnect, clients can take the steps needed to align their lives towards their recovery-oriented values.
ACT also helps clients stay motivated throughout their recovery. Recovery can be a difficult and draining process—however, by reminding themselves of how much more meaningful and satisfying life in recovery would be, clients are able to find the strength to keep fighting their eating disorder. Finding (and reminding themselves) of their reasons for recovery is a powerful tool that clients use to stay hopeful and motivated throughout treatment.
BALANCE eating disorder treatment center’s™ clinical treatment team has extensive experience incorporating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy into eating disorder recovery. Our admissions team is happy to answer any questions you may have about BALANCE’s programs. Read more about our philosophy here or book a free consultation call with our admissions team below to discuss the next steps.
This content was originally published here.