Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Free your mind from stress and anxiety with ACT

Many of us feel stuck and unhappy. Whether it be major life decisions, body image, relationship problems, family conflict, career stress, financial worries, (you name it!), there are many reasons why we can feel trapped. If left untreated, these feelings can lead to bouts of depression, anxiety, and other stress related conditions.

If you are seeking a way to overcome persistent struggles or feelings of being stuck, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will guide you in navigating challenging emotions by fostering acceptance, practicing mindfulness, and identifying core values, which can lead to positive transformations in difficult situations.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is part of the newer wave of behavioral therapies. It builds on some of the ideas of earlier therapeutic modalities like CBT, while also incorporating mindfulness techniques.

Developed in the late 20th century by psychologist Steven C. Hayes, ACT is designed to help individuals improve their psychological flexibility – the ability to be open, adapt, and effectively pursue one’s values, even in the presence of difficult thoughts and emotions.

The key components of ACT include:

1. Acceptance: Acknowledging and making room for uncomfortable or distressing thoughts and feelings without attempting to change or suppress them.

2. Cognitive Defusion: Learning to observe thoughts without being dominated or overwhelmed by them. This helps individuals see thoughts as what they are—just words or images—rather than as literal truths.

3. Mindfulness: Cultivating a present-moment, non-judgmental awareness of thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness in ACT involves being fully engaged in the present without being entangled by past or future concerns.

4. Values Clarification: Identifying and clarifying one’s core values – the things that truly matter to an individual. These values serve as a compass for making choices and guiding behavior.

5. Committed Action: Taking intentional steps toward living a life in accordance with one’s values. This involves setting and working towards meaningful goals, even in the face of discomfort or adversity.

6. Self as Context:  Recognizing oneself as the unchanging observer of experiences, thoughts, and emotions, fostering a sense of perspective and detachment from fleeting inner experiences.

ACT is particularly effective for a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD, substance use, chronic pain, and stress-related conditions. It doesn’t aim to eliminate negative thoughts and emotions but instead helps individuals build a healthier relationship with them, fostering resilience and promoting well-being. The ultimate goal of ACT is to empower individuals to lead richer, more fulfilling lives by embracing their values and committing to actions aligned with those values.

Working with a therapist can help you master essential skills from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), empowering you to navigate challenges, embrace acceptance, and align your actions with core values for a more fulfilling life.

Why Might ACT Therapy Work for Me?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a holistic and versatile approach to mental well-being, focusing on enhancing psychological flexibility rather than solely reducing symptoms. Distressing thoughts and emotions, natural to the human experience, are addressed through building skills for a meaningful life. The incorporation of mindfulness techniques promotes non-judgmental awareness, fostering detachment from automatic reactions. ACT’s values-centric emphasis aids individuals in aligning actions with personal values, providing purpose and fulfillment. This approach enhances adaptability in a fast-paced world, fostering resilience against various mental health issues.

List of things ACT therapy can help clients with in therapy 1. Cultivate compassion and strengthen connections with oneself and others. 2. Manage Overwhelming stress from work, relationships or home 3. break free from repetitive cycles of feeling stuck 4. work through mental health challenges 5. address anger, rage, blame, resentment, or difficulty moving on from past experiences 6. enhance emotional regulation and embracing multiple perspectives 7. cope with anxiety, depression or OCD tendencies 8. overcome all or nothing thinking 9. challenge the notion of negative emotions 10. foster self awareness 11. heal from trauma 12. navigate disordered eating

Globally, depression and anxiety affect millions, with over 300 million living with anxiety disorders and 280 million with depression as of 2019 (World Health Organization). Remarkably, amid these staggering numbers, statistics show that around 75% of individuals benefit from therapy, underscoring the potential impact of therapeutic interventions (American Psychological Association). This positive correlation between therapy and well-being positions ACT as an evidence-based approach, highlighting its effectiveness in diverse populations and offering a credible and reassuring option for those seeking mental health support.

How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Work?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) offers a transformative path towards improved mental health by harnessing the power of therapeutic interventions. In the therapeutic space, individuals engaging in ACT can explore and understand the nuances of acceptance, learning to embrace their thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Through targeted therapeutic discussions and skill building, individuals gain insights into the nature of their internal experiences, cultivating a sense of mindfulness that serves as a foundation for change. The therapist acts as a guide, helping individuals navigate the challenging terrain of their thoughts and emotions, facilitating a shift towards greater self-awareness and acceptance.

As previously mentioned, therapy in the context of ACT also focuses on cognitive defusion, a process that helps individuals detach from the often-overpowering influence of their thoughts. By learning techniques to view thoughts more objectively, individuals can break free from the grip of unhelpful thinking patterns, promoting mental flexibility.

The therapist collaborates with the individual, offering practical strategies and exercises to promote cognitive defusion, empowering clients to relate to their thoughts in a healthier, more constructive manner. This newfound perspective serves as a powerful tool for breaking free from the cycle of distress and fostering resilience.

How Therapy can help with body image, body image therapy

ACT Therapy can empower individuals to embrace acceptance, navigate challenges, and align their actions with values for a life of resilience and fulfillment.

Furthermore, therapy in the context of ACT guides individuals in clarifying their core values and aligning their actions with these values. Through targeted discussions and exercises, individuals gain clarity about what truly matters to them in life. This values-driven approach serves as a compass for decision-making and goal setting, providing a framework for committed action.

Therapists work collaboratively with clients to identify specific, meaningful goals, and support them in taking intentional steps towards a life in accordance with their values. This process not only enhances motivation but also empowers individuals to build a more purposeful and fulfilling life. In essence, therapy within the framework of ACT is a dynamic and empowering journey towards self-discovery, acceptance, and the pursuit of a life rich in meaning and purpose.

Discover the power of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and improve psychological distress, embrace mindfulness, and live a life aligned by your values. For more information about our approach or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today

Contact us to Book an Appointment or Consultation

Your First Step to a Path Made Clear

Picture of Megan Hendry - MSW RSW
Megan Hendry - MSW RSW

Megan Hendry is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). She holds a Masters of Social Work Degree from the University of Wilfrid Laurier, a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from McMaster University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Queen’s University. Megan has completed post graduate training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and is experienced working with this modality with her clients.

Our Therapists

Book an Appointment or Consultation With One of Our Certified, Trained and Experienced Therapists 

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Kait Stamcos, MSW RSW

Kait Stamcos

Registered Social Worker,

Kait's commitment to tailoring approaches to each client ensures a personalized therapeutic experience, fostering growth and resilience

Therapist, Counselor, Megan Hendry, MSW RSW

Megan Hendry

Registered Social Worker,

Megan is deeply honoured and grateful to have the beautiful opportunity to walk alongside and support her clients as they face some of life’s gravest obstacles, and help to promote healing and lasting change within their lives

Therapist, Counselor, RSW, Trillium Counselling, Psychotherapist, Caroline Brousseau

Caroline Brousseau

Registered Social Worker,

I will help you feel proud to be who you are, and work towards a solution that is adapted to your own specific personality, values and dreams

Registered Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Brianna Comeau, MSW RSW

Brianna Comeau

Registered Social Worker,

I am passionate about empowering clients to embark on a journey of self-discovery, helping them navigate their innermost aspirations, and working together in a collaborative partnership towards meaningful personal growth

Therapist, Counselor, Katelyn Regier, MSW RSW

Katelyn Regier

Registered Social Worker,

I strongly believe that everyone has the capacity for change already within themselves – I aim to empower individuals towards their unique goals in ways that are meaningful to the life they want to live

Psychotherapist - Bradley Vasquez

Bradley Vasquez

Registered Psychotherapist

Brad believes that people are capable for change and have the strength to do so within themselves. He is thankful for the opportunity to work with clients in achieving their goals and supporting them throughout their journey

Amy - Clinical social worker MSW RSW

Amy King

Registered Social Worker,

Whatever your goal for therapy, Amy’s down to earth, client-centered, collaborative approach will help you work through the changes that you want to bring to your life, while developing deeper insight and strengthening resilience.

kitchener waterloo Therapist, Counsellor, samantha, CBT Therapist, EMDR therapist

Samantha Kittell

Registered Social Worker,

I believe in the transformative power of therapy to create positive change and restore hope. My goal is to provide a safe and nurturing space where individuals feel seen, heard, and supported on their path toward healing and self-discovery.

Registered Psychotherapist, Counselor, Catherine Lynn Roach, RP

Catherine Lynn Roach

Registered Psychotherapist

My goal as a therapist is to help my client’s reach the goals that are important to them. I am passionate about helping my clients feel safe enough to explore their concerns and how together we can achieve their goals

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Kisha Elliston, MSW RSW

Kisha Elliston

Registered Social Worker

Let’s not leave anyone out. Let us remember to extend a loving hand and remember that this journey called life is hard. I want to be alongside you in hopes to remind you of the beauty and strength that still exists within yourself, and within life. Together we can restore hope, restore faith, and restore love

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Megan Pass MSW RSW

Megan Pass

Registered Social Worker,

It is an honor to be in a position to support and empower people when they are vulnerable by helping them recognize their own strengths and teach healthy coping skills

Therapist - Devon Jorge

Devon Jorge

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist & Clinical Director

My passion for truly understanding people’s personal experiences, feelings and their challenges go back as far as I can remember, and allows me to provide the best support possible during times of need

Therapist, Counselor, Milena Urbanajc, MSW RSW

Milena Urbanajc

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

We all aim to live life to the fullest, but sometimes there is something that may be holding us back, and this is what we aim to work out in therapy