What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)  purports that modern day society has unhelpfully conditioned us to believe that we ought never to experience negativity. Therein lies the problem, because when we, as humans, inevitably experience negative and unwanted thoughts, we feel bad about feeling bad and we criticise ourselves for thinking negatively, thus effectively doubling our issues. The target of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is to learn to create a rich and meaningful existence while accepting that there will be pain along the way.

ACT is a mindfulness-based behavioural thereapy that holds the belief that rather than insisting on getting rid of all negative thoughts and feelings, we ‘accept’ that these are a part of the human condition. It draws on mindfulness strategies to help us change our relationship to, and even ‘make room’ for difficult thoughts and feelings.

ACT doesn’t stop with accepting – a second key aspect is commitment; commitment to taking action so that we live by our own values whatever these may be. Our values (e.g. honesty, kindness, openness, determination, patience) are like the direction we want to continue to head in. It’s important that we know what our own unique values are, and that we strive to live by them as we know that the larger the gap between the way we live our lives and our values, the more we will struggle with accepting ourselves.

The Principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

There are 6 key principles of ACT. Working in conjunction with one-another, these all work towards the goal of being able to handle negative thoughts and experiences making room for psychological flexibility more positivity in our outlook. The principles are:

  • Defusion
  • Acceptance
  • Contact with the present moment
  • The Observing Self
  • Values
  • Committed action

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been used to treat a range of different disorders including depression, anxiety,  stress within the workplace, obsesseive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. Here at Counselling Psychology Online, we are trained counsellors in ACT with many years experience. We are a group of therapists scattered throughout the UK in Surrey, Kent, Somerset and Stoke, and service clients throughout the UK online.

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Here at Counselling Psychology Online, we get asked a lot of questions about ACT. To clear some of these up, we thought that we would answer some of these below. For any other queries or to enquire about beginning your Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us by email admin@counsellingpsychologyonline.com or phone 07584 328192.

What is ACT an abbreviation of?

ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It is a mindfulness-based behavioural therapy which invites people to open themselves up to negative feelings, accepting that as humans, we will be faced with unpleasant thoughts.

How many sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will I need?

Conditions and disorders are unique and so there is no set number of sessions of ACT that we would recommend. Before any counselling or therapy begins at Counselling Psychology Online, you will undertake a free 15-minute phone consultation, where we will determine if ACT is right for you and will be able to give you an idea about how much therapy we would suggest for your treatment plan.

How long are online ACT counselling sessions with you?

We tend to offer 50 minute sessions for our Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – however this can vary from case to case.

How do I start my Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

The first thing to do is to contact us by emailing admin@counsellingpsychologyonline.com or phoning 07584 328192. From there, we will arrange to speak to you on the phone for a quick 15-minute consultation. The next step will be us both agreeing that ACT is the correct treatment for you and your therapy will be arranged from there.

Do I need anything for my online therapy?

All you require is a device which has a video app (such as zoom or skype) and connects you to the internet. Other than that, we would recommend all of your counselling sessions take place in a quiet, safe space.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Counselling Psychology Online


We have a wealth of experience tailoring acceptance and commitment therapy online with adults, children, adolescents, couples and families. For answers to some of our  most commonly asked questions, please visit our FAQ page.

To begin your therapy or for any further information, please do not hestitate to contact us.