Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help the parties learn, change and develop… and considering the best interests of children

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is about acceptance and change at the same time (Eifert & Forsyth, 2005), and is a transformative approach that can be incorporated into family counselling and Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) practice.

Offering an action and insight orientated approach to problem solving – ACT is a departure from the facilitative process orientated approaches that assist people to become more self-directed. ACT can be defined as an intervention model that uses acceptance and mindfulness processes as well as commitment and behaviour change processes to produce psychological flexibility (Hayes, S. C., et al, 2012).

Different to other models of dispute resolution, ACT does not focus on resolution but changes or transformation of individuals and/or the group dynamic. A model of behaviour change, based on contextual behavioural principles (e.g., Törneke & Romero, 2008), ACT extends the basic science account of language and cognition (Hayes et al., 2001).

Whilst ACT is used extensively by Family and Relationship Counsellors and Therapists, the use ACT and the processes facilitated by Family Counsellors and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs) can address the best interests of children, driving efforts to reduce and to resolve conflict between parents. ACT helps to transform individuals and relationships, and working with them to deal with this very stressful and challenging time of life.

Recognising that Family Counsellors and FDRPs can change the quality of the conflict interaction and ACT can potentially effect much deeper changes in clients to improve client outcomes.


  • Eifert, G. H., & Forsyth, J. P. (2005). Acceptance & Commitment Therapy for anxiety disorders: A practitioner’s treatment guide to using mindfulness, acceptance, and values-based behavior change strategies. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications
  • Hayes, S. C., Pistorello, J. & Levin, M. (2012). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a unified model of behavior change. The Counseling Psychologist, The Counseling Psychologist, 40,;”>976-1002. 
  • Hayes, S. C. & Smith, S. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life.
  • Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013: Impact Therapy: The Courage to Counsel.
  • Törneke & Romero, 2008

    Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their situation and relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding and work for going forward for all concerned including children.

    Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith @ or @


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