Anyone who has ever been in traditional therapy might have noticed that sometimes, it feels like you’re swimming against the tide. Like you’re trying to fit yourself into a box that has been defined as normal, but that doesn’t feel like it fits quite right.
While there is no doubt that more traditional forms of mental health therapy have their place and can work wonders for some, it’s not for everyone. Those people might find that ACT works better for them, and here are a few reasons why:
1. You Aren’t Fighting Yourself
One of the reasons some people struggle with traditional therapy is that they keep trying to fit themselves into that box that doesn’t quite work for them, so they are constantly fighting themselves.
ACT starts with acceptance of thoughts and feelings, so instead of fighting who you are, you get to embrace it before you learn to understand it, and ultimately make healthy, beneficial changes.
2. It Focuses on Mindfulness
Mindfulness might sound like new age stuff, but the truth is, it’s one of the most important mental and emotional health advances in recent history.
Mindfulness is a state of calm, where you are fully present in any moment, where you can think calmly and rationally about what is happening and be fully accepting of all your thoughts, emotions and feelings.
It’s a type of enhanced consciousness and awareness of yourself, and also everything that is going on around you. Very often, for people who have anxiety, mindfulness and grounding are used together, to give people a method of coping with situations that make them anxious.
3. It’s a Gradual Process
There’s nothing more anxiety inducing than having a looming deadline, and sometimes, traditional forms of therapy feel like a series of deadlines. Patients are ushered from step to step, even if they are not ready for the next one.
ACT is a gradual type of therapy. It allows patients to start small and to build towards their goals at their own pace. Even if progress isn’t as fast, it’s still progress, and that’s how ACT success is measured. Keep moving forward!
4. It’s Not About “Fixing You”
Because ACT starts by acknowledging and accepting your thoughts and feelings, and then working with them to develop strategies that work for you, it’s not about “fixing” something that is wrong with you, which is sometimes what it feels like when you get therapy for anxiety.
5. It Works Well with Other Treatments
Mental health treatments are not like other types of medical intervention. There’s no one definitive cure that will work for every person who has a particular disorder or condition.
The best mental health treatments are usually a combination of different types of therapy, medication and more, and ACT works well with other types of therapy.