What is acceptance and commitment therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy, also known simply as ACT, is a form of psychotherapy used to treat mental health issues. It is a type of behavioural therapy that combines mindfulness skills with the promotion of self-acceptance. Commitment plays a role in promoting individuals to be more accepting of their thoughts and feelings and the idea that pain is an inevitable part of the human experience. 

Simply put, ACT encourages individuals to embrace their thoughts and feelings, and learn about them and how to deal with them, rather than avoiding or feeling ashamed of them. Patients will learn how to accept these negative feelings in a healthy way, and recognise that these hardships should not stop them from achieving what they want in life.  The main goal of this therapy is to lead an enriched and full life, despite life’s unavoidable ups and downs. 

How does acceptance and commitment therapy work?

A trained professional will work with you to identify the behaviour that is causing you distress. This might be a traumatic experience, depression, low-self esteem, anxiety or other mental health problems.

By focusing on certain mindfulness techniques, you will learn not to fight these unpleasant emotions and situations – but rather accept them and allow them to come and go. Mindfulness techniques will help to alleviate the impact and influence of the things that cause them distress.

Through sessions, the therapist will work with the patients to arrive at two main goals:

  • Developing acceptance of unwanted experiences which are out of personal control, and an inevitable part of life
  • Commitment and action toward living a valued life

ACT is a flexible and action-type approach to therapy, that will help you build a life that aligns with your values and wishes. 

Techniques that might be explored during treatment include:

  • Exposure to a difficult thought or emotion (for example, saying a scary thought out aloud multiple times)
  • Recognising thoughts for what they are – simply ‘thoughts’ – rather than ‘truth’
  • Teaching you to develop an understanding and relationship with the things you struggle with, rather than avoid or be scared of them
  • Taking action towards achieving the things you want in life

Acceptance and commitment therapy at Nightingale Hospital London

At Nightingale Hospital, acceptance and commitment therapy can be accessed in an individual or group setting as part of an outpatient, day patient or inpatient programme.

We have several experts with a breadth of experience in all mental health conditions to match your individual situation. We establish successful patient/therapist partnerships and achieve the most effective therapeutic relationship due to this extensive expertise. We will take the time to understand your problem and individual needs.

Interested in working at Nightingale Hospital?

Are you an accredited therapist and interested in working at Nightingale Hospital?

Visit our careers page to see if we have any vacancies, or get in touch with our HR team to submit an expression of interest.  


“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”