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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a branch of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

ACT is based on the study of how humans learn to use language and thought, and has a strong scientific base. This research found that ACT is an effective psychological approach for helping people with a number of common mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, work-related stress, insomnia or managing long term health conditions.

ACT does not attempt to directly change or stop unwanted thoughts and feelings, but instead encourages us to develop a new and compassionate relationship with those experiences. This enables us to break out of self-defeating patterns of behaviours which can drain our resources or make us feel like we are just existing.

ACT provides us with a range of very helpful and accessible techniques to increase our psychological flexibility. Mindfulness and Acceptance based skills and strategies are designed to help us to develop and strengthen Acceptance of these difficult experiences. They enable us to Commit to doing more of the things that move us towards a life of meaning and purpose. All of this equates to wellbeing and increases our resilience during times of difficulty.

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Call us on 01905 760837 to book an ACT assessment appointment.

‘the aim of ACT is:to create a rich, full and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it’. Russ Harris

Our Acceptance and Commitment Therapy group

10 weekly sessions (2 hours)

We cover the three Key Processes of the ACT Model in the group

Wake Up  

Mindfulness skills - getting better at being in the ‘here and now’, noticing when we are getting caught up in our ‘stories’ or what our chattering minds have to say about things. Noticing how it feels when we are connected to our values. Recognising that we are more than our thoughts and feelings, they don’t need to define us (also known as Aware skills).

Loosen Up

Learning to step back from thoughts and allow feelings and sensations to come and go without trying to change them or struggle with them. When we can respond more effectively to painful or unpleasant thoughts and feelings, that are an inevitable part of human experience, they are less likely to get in the way of what’s important to us (also known as Open skills).

Step Up

This is all about identifying and clarifying who and what is important in your life and then using this knowledge to inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better. Setting goals in line with your values, doing what matters, even when it is difficult or uncomfortable (also known as Active skills).

Wake Up, Loosen Up and Step Up are descriptions taken from our recommended group reading. The Little ACT Workbook (Michael Sinclair, Matthew Beadman) 2016

You will also be given the opportunity to map out your own experiences on the ACT matrix. This means you can personalise your learning from the outset and identify your own hooks (tricky internal experiences), stuck-loops of behaviour and the things you do or would like to do that are more in line with your identified values.

Self-compassion –a kinder and wiser relationship with ourselves is considered beneficial for wellbeing and resilience, so we devote a whole session to the science of compassion and related exercises. Having a more effective relationship with yourself is also a key element of the ACT model.

What’s involved in the group?

All sessions involve:

  • Mindfulness based or acceptance exercises,
  • Feedback and discussion relating to learning and the model
  • Watching ACT related videos
  • The use of metaphor to help make sense of the human experience
  • Brain science relating to evolution and the human brain
  • Reading and exercises to complete between sessions

We consider the group to sit somewhere between a therapy and a learning group. Part of attending involves a commitment to engage in mindfulness-based exercises, which might involve you experiencing difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations, that you have tried to control or push down in the past. This requires an open and willing attitude of mind. This is something we will discuss at your triage appointment; having and handling feelings in a group may not be suitable for everyone.

This group is all about having and handling feelings, making a commitment to attend 10 weekly sessions, and devoting time outside the session to reading and practising skills, it may not be the group for everyone.  You might prefer our more introductory Calming Anxiety and Boosting Mood course.

How do I find out more?

If you feel this group is for you, call us on 01905 760837 to book an initial assessment with us. This ACT triage is a 60 minute telephone assessment/ discussion which will enable us to find out if this is the right next step for you.

It would be helpful if you could look at these related resources before your appointment, so you might gain a clearer understanding of ACT and whether it appeals to you. 

Group dates

Start date
Time Location
Monday 8 January 2018 1pm - 3pm Redditch
Tuesday 9 January 2018 6pm - 8pm Worcester
Thursday 11 January 2018 9.30am - 11.30am Worcester 
Tuesday 16 January 2018 1pm - 3pm Kidderminster