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More about ACT and CBT


Over the past forty years, CBT and ACT have both been shown through many clinical research studies to be helpful for people struggling with many different types of emotional problems. These include depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders such as OCD, panic/agoraphobia, health anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder and so on. In ACT we tend to steer clear of formal mental health diagnoses because we work on the underlying psychological processes that cause the problems, rather than working on the symptoms.

Sometimes it is easier to identify the thoughts and behaviours that are causing a person difficulties and then work from there.

Some examples are:

  • Feeling so stuck with life that you are unable to do anything
  • Having negative thoughts about yourself, about others or about the future
  • Worrying about everything
  • Worrying about your health
  • Having panic attacks
  • Being worried or frightened of specific things such as flying, vomit or driving
  • Excessively checking things
  • Over or under eating
  • Arguing with your partner
  • Feeling unable to “get over” a bereavement or a trauma such as a road traffic accident
  • Reacting badly to criticism (perceived or real)
  • Feeling unable to cope with a chronic physical health conditions such as heart disease, CFS/ME, fibromyalgia, IBS, chronic pain, diabetes or cancer
  • Being unable to form lasting and meaningful relationships.

The list could go on and on, and whilst the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours appear very different, the psychological processes underlying them are the same. This is why whatever you are struggling with at present that is preventing you from living the life that you would choose to live, ACT/CBT might help you, provided that you have the desire to change and the willingness to do something different.

ACT can be long or short term or ultra brief depending on what you and I decide together. Each session lasts for about 50 minutes and is usually once a week.  I recommend that the initial session however is 90 minutes so that a thorough assessment can be done along with mental health “first aid” if needed.

Immediate Help

If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide please contact your GP or go to your local accident and Emergency Department.

Alternatively you can contact The Samaritans for free help 24/7:

A really helpful start to understanding ACT and yourself is a book by Russ Harris called “The Happiness Trap” published by Robinson, London.  Here is a link to the first chapter  so you can try before you buy.