Acceptance and commitment therapy, commonly known within mental health communities as ACT, is a therapeutic framework to assist in living with a variety of mental health disorders that include but are not limited to anxiety and depression. By engaging in mindfulness activities and other exercises, patient and therapist work together with the primary goal of the patient achieving "psychological flexibility": in short, coping mechanisms.
The magic of ACT as a tool is in the name. Or rather: it is in both the name and the acronym. There is the acceptance of self from where you are, and there is acting: choosing, wholeheartedly, to engage in the process of actively rewiring one's mind and framework in order to embrace oneself as they are in the moment, never mind the moment after that, and after that, and so on. One cannot complete acceptance and commitment therapy without accepting themselves – and, in turn, in accepting that they are deserving of help along the way, no matter how terrifying, vulnerable, and scary it may feel.
ACT was the capstone to The Psychodynamic Sequence: a performance in which I, blindfolded, attempted to find my shoes as a cacophony of sound insisted I needed to find them immediately. The issue: the shoes were in a circle of broken glass, only accessible by a 2x4 balance beam. In order to retrieve the shoes, assistance was required in order for me to find the beam, cross the pool of glass, and wear the shoes. Two volunteers from the audience assisted in fording the glass and concluding the work. The work acted as a metaphor for a variety of phenomena: the fear of asking for help, for gaining health and wellness, for the agonizing reality of being known.
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