Bringing our full attention to what is happening here and now, without getting distracted or influenced by our thinking

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help the parties learn, change and develop and can transform individuals and relationships.

The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life (Harris, R. 2006, pp.1). ACT does this by teaching mindfulness techniques which helps clients deal with painful thoughts and feelings so they have less impact and influence. It is also helpful to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to clients – i.e. their values – then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate to change life for the better.

ACT focuses on six processes (acceptance, defusion, self, now, values, and action) that bear on a single overall target (psychological flexibility).

ACT interventions can enter into that space through any of the subprocesses and can move through them in any given order. ACT is also process of distinguishing self-as-context from the conceptualised self.

3. The Observing Self
From this place, we are able to experience that our thoughts, feelings, memories, urges, sensations, images, roles, and physical body are peripheral aspects of ourselves, but as they are constantly changing, they are not the essence of who we are (Harris, R. 2006, pp. 7).

Present-moment-connection happens with the Observing Self. It involves bringing our full attention to what is happening here and now, without getting distracted or influenced by the thinking self. The Observing Self is said to be non-judgmental by nature, because judgments are thoughts, and therefore a product of the thinking self (Harris, 2007).

ACT is focused on a life we truly want to live. It is not about solving problems in the traditional way, it is about changing the direction of the dispute resolution, so that the focus is more about being present and focusing on what clients value. The unnecessary amplification of pain stops and the issues clients have been struggling with will begin to diminish. Your clients life will begin to open up and they will gain greater perspective, become more flexible, and see life as more meaningful.

More on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) next week.


  • Hayes, S. C., Pistorello, J. & Levin, M. (2012). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a unified model of behavior change, The Counseling Psychologist, 40,;”>976-1002.
  • Hayes, S. C. & Smith, S. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life.

Do you need help with issue or problem? Our approach helps gain clarity about your goals, resources, options or preferences and then assistance to make ‘clear and deliberate decisions.’

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


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