Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Learn about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a treatment option for borderline personality disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

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What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a behavioural therapy that is an internationally recognised and well-established treatment for a number of mental health difficulties including borderline personality disorder (BPD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).

ACT helps people respond to all emotions, including painful emotion, through being in the present moment. ACT helps people connect with important values, with the things that make us glad. ACT helps us work on managing painful thoughts and feelings, using acceptance and mindfulness practices. Self-compassion is also important as it helps us cope with having a low sense of self-worth and to build life-enhancing patterns of behaviour. ACT is not about ridding yourself of painful emotion or fighting emotions and/or thoughts. It is about embracing life and being equipped to experience all emotions, thoughts and other internal experiences.

ACT at Spectrum

The ACT clinic at Spectrum offers psychotherapy for people diagnosed with BPD and CPTSD.

The ACT program uses a stepped care approach, with three ‘steps’ or components:

  • Wise Moments – 4 individual sessions of ACT pre-treatment or a brief intervention
  • Wise Experiences – 20 weekly individual sessions, 50-minute duration, of ACT psychotherapy
  • Wise Choices – 10 group sessions, 2-hour duration

Wise Moments

Wise Moments provides clients with an orientation to the ACT model. Clients also prepare for attending group sessions. For some clients, this brief intervention may provide a new perspective and treatment gains without the need for further treatment at Spectrum. Once the client and therapist have established that ACT is a good therapeutic fit / working well, clients will have an opportunity to continue in the Wise Experiences and Wise Choices programs.

Wise Experiences

Wise Experiences builds on the introduction to ACT undertaken in Wise Moments, with client and therapist continuing to apply the concepts of ACT to the client’s experience.

Wise Experiences is offered in conjunction with Wise Choices for clients able to engage in a group program in addition to individual therapy. The focus of the group program will be learning the concepts and skills of ACT, with individual work focusing on applying these concepts in the client’s own life.

Wise Choices

Wise Choices is an ACT group program where clients are supported by Spectrum therapists to learn the skills of ACT with other people. There are ten sessions with an ACT topic covered each week. Each session will last for two hours and provides an opportunity to explore and understand key ACT concepts. Wise Experiences (individual sessions) offers opportunities to use these concepts in relation to one’s own life.

Other treatments at Spectrum

ACT is not the best treatment option for everyone. Spectrum offers a range of similarly effective treatments that your therapist will discuss with you during assessment. 

Contact the Spectrum intake team for more information or referral

Phone: (03) 8413 8750 (ask for the intake team)

Email: [email protected]