What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is about developing a greater awareness and acceptance of one’s physical and emotional state with a focus toward solving problems. It is intended to help individuals become more flexible in their thinking, which allows them to pursue more useful behaviors and emotional attitudes. While Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) emphasizes the ability to correct negative thinking, ACT emphasizes the ability to accept negative thinking. Both forms of therapy have proven helpful to individuals recovering from addiction.
After the high subsides, or upon stopping the use of cocaine, individuals may experience a severe crash: fatigue, irritability, depression, increased hunger, disturbed sleep, and an inability to experience pleasure (due to the depletion of dopamine). Cravings and discomfort can be severe, compelling further use of the drug.
The 6 Principles of ACT
ACT is founded on six key principles: acceptance, cognitive defusion, connection with the present moment, self-observation, values clarification, and committed action. Here’s what each principle teaches:
Here are some common symptoms of cocaine addiction:
1. Acceptance. This is about embracing one’s physical and emotional state instead of attempting to resist or change it. Developing an objective awareness of one’s feelings can neutralize their subjective power.
2. Cognitive defusion. This is about disconnecting thoughts from our perception of reality, recognizing them for what they are instead of attaching particular significance to them or feeling compelled to obey them.
3. Connection with the present moment. This is about becoming fully aware and attentive to the present moment with openness and interest, neglecting any thoughts of the past or future.
4. Self-observation. This is about recognizing that our actual selves are more than our bodies, our feelings, and our thoughts. We can allow those things to change while recognizing that our actual selves have not changed.
5. Values clarification. This is about developing a greater understanding about what is truly meaningful to us. Our values provide us with direction and lens by which to view our experiences in different ways.
6. Committed action. This is about acknowledging that what we want and stand for can only be realized through action. We allow our values to guide us toward purposeful action to engage in the present and future.
Who Act Helps
ACT is helpful for those in recovery from addiction and mental health issues. It is also helpful for therapists, counselors, and treatment center staff, who may struggle with their own bouts of anxiety, depression, and burnout. ACT can be especially useful for those who have not seen as much success with other cognitive behavioral therapies.
ACT teaches alternative ways of dealing with intrusive negative thoughts, anxiety, depression, paranoia, pain, and stress. Those who learn and apply the principles of ACT are able to adapt to their circumstances and feelings without feeling the pressure to change them.
In particular, ACT has been known to offer solutions to those with chronic pain conditions. A 2017 study published through Neurotherapeutics states, “As applied to chronic pain conditions, patients are taught to notice the differences between the physical sensations of pain and their reactions to them, as well as the effect that these reactions have on their mental health and functioning. This is because patients’ cognitive and emotional reactions to pain may exacerbate the intensity of their painful experience.” With an ACT response, the individual “acknowledges the pain without exacerbating it.”
ACT focuses on helping individuals recognize what behaviors are “working” for them — or which feelings, thoughts, and actions are helping them achieve their goals. An understanding of what’s working allows individuals to pursue those behaviors to achieve personally meaningful outcomes.
ACT at BeWell Network
At BeWell Network, we utilize ACT as part of an approach that combines cognitive and experiential therapies in the pursuit of holistic wellness — mind, body, and spirit. We work with individuals to determine what therapies might work best and allow them to shape their own recovery experience. In collaboration with our multidisciplinary team, individuals are encouraged to set specific goals and are affirmed in working toward them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Our approach emphasizes the personal nature of the recovery process. We provide curated treatment experiences, individualized plans, and trauma-informed care to promote long-term wellness. We understand that attaining and maintaining wellness may not be feasible for some clients within a typical 30-day rehabilitation period, and we are committed to moving beyond standard timelines to help individuals recover for the long-term.
Help for Addiction at BeWell Network
BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is considering treatment for cocaine addiction, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.