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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Addiction

Evidence-Based ACT Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment At Absolute Awakenings

When Acceptance and The Desire For Change Coexist

Whether it was encouragement from a loved one or you feel like you’ve hit rock-bottom in your struggle with addiction, you’ve made the brave decision to regain control of your life and start a new chapter.

Many people do not make it to this point. By desiring change, you’ve already taken the first step in your recovery journey.

And it only gets better from here.

At Absolute Awakenings, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help you develop the emotional fortitude and psychological flexibility you need to overcome addiction.

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What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Developed by University of Utah professor Steven C. Hayes in the 1980s, ACT is a mindfulness-based therapy that helps clients navigate life in the present moment, despite life’s circumstances.

This form of mental health treatment guides clients through accepting that negative thoughts and feelings can coexist with the desire to move forward with life. With a greater understanding of how deeper emotions can be managed, clients can begin to make healthier choices and meaningful changes.

Often used in substance use disorder treatment programs, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can help with overcoming cravings and relapse prevention.

The 6 Core Principles of ACT Therapy

There are six core principles that make up ACT:

Cognitive Defusion

Cognitive defusion is the concept of acknowledging thoughts and feelings without being consumed by them. This technique allows clients to create separation between themselves and their emotions so that behaviors can be better controlled.


Acceptance is the practice of allowing–or even embracing–thoughts and emotions in the present moment rather than avoiding or denying these negative feelings. Acceptance helps to minimize shame by providing validation of negative emotions without associated feelings of guilt.

Contact With the Present Moment

The concept of Contact With the Present Moment means being purposefully mindful and immersed in what is happening at the current moment. It means focusing on what is happening in real time, rather than fixating on what has already occurred or might possibly occur in the future.

The Observing Self

Also referred to as the Self-As-Context, The Observing Self encourages self-awareness and reflection in a non-judgmental, objective way.


Your personal values are your core compass and help you steer your life in the direction you want to go. ACT helps clients identify what values are most important to them and how to use these values to make healthier choices.

Committed Action

Committed action is behaving in line with your values to ensure a desired outcome is achieved. This final principal in ACT therapy helps those healing from drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or other co-occurring behavioral health conditions stay focused on their recovery.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy For Addiction At Absolute Awakenings

Recovery is never one-size-fits all.

Beginning with a thorough evaluation of your physical, emotional, and psychological health, our clinical care providers create a plan based on your individual needs. Your care team will closely monitor your progress throughout your outpatient, intensive outpatient, or PHP program to ensure that you have the best chance at achieving lifelong recovery.

At Absolute Awakenings, we understand that change in attitude results in a change in behavior.

As part of your treatment program, you will participate in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to equip you with the skills you need to live a healthy life outside of a recovery environment.

Along with ACT therapy, your care plan may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), group therapy, art therapy, hypnotherapy, and other modalities.

How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Help With Addiction

This behavioral therapy combines mindfulness with self-acceptance, giving the individual the skills necessary to identify emotions, accept them, and make value-based choices that help move life forward rather than dwelling in the negative emotions.

ACT therapy is useful in drug addiction recovery as it helps the client acknowledge and live with negative emotions while still taking actions that further their goals and reinforce their core values.

Many treatment centers use this type of psychotherapy in the treatment of not just substance use disorder, but co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder as well.

Move Beyond The Struggle Into Action With ACT Therapy At Absolute Awakening

Living within the confines of substance use disorder can feel suffocating. You were not born to feel this way. There is a better way to live. Start your journey towards a better, more mindful,

FAQs about ACT Therapy & Absolute Awakenings

What is the difference between ACT and CBT?

Although both Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are both behavior-based therapies, they have key differentiators.

Cognitive behavioral therapy works by helping the client identify and modify negative thoughts, while ACT is based on the principle that negative thoughts must be accepted as a fact of life.

Both therapies encourage changed behavior, but ACT therapy is focused more on moving forward in life despite destructive thoughts.

What disorders does acceptance and commitment therapy treat?

ACT is helpful for any mental health condition in which the client feels stuck in negative behaviors due to fixation on negative thoughts, feelings, or circumstances. ACT is commonly used in drug use treatment, alcohol addiction treatment, PTSD treatment, depression treatment, and even the treatment of bipolar and schizophrenia.

Can ACT help in opioid use disorder?

Yes. ACT is a powerful therapy that can help individuals struggling with addiction to opiates or other drugs. Because ACT helps clients develop self-awareness, identify core values, and commit to taking action that support these values, clients are better equipped to overcome cravings and prevent relapse.

Can I expect to see a behavior change after undergoing ACT therapy?

The goal of Acceptance and Commitment therapy is for the client to begin taking actions that support their core values. Because drug use prevents individuals from living in line with their values, behavioral changes are made.

Do I Need to Detox before I Participate in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

It is important that those going into drug addiction treatment are admitted only when they are not actively using. Entering treatment without addictive substances in your system will allow you to focus on recovery and healing without having to manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

How Do I Know If I Need an Inpatient or Outpatient program?

It is crucial to your recovery that you are admitted to the program that is the most conducive to your healing.

An outpatient program allows clients to participate in their therapies during the day and return home in the evenings to attend to work, school, or familial obligations. With Inpatient programs, clients stay on-site 24 hours a day.

Absolute Awakenings is an outpatient-only facility. If you feel that you need a residential-based treatment program, Absolute Awakenings might not be the best fit for you.

During your evaluation, our clinical care team will work with you to determine if an inpatient or outpatient treatment program is the best course of action.

Yes, You Can Get Your Life Back. Call Absolute Awakenings Today.

With our trained and compassionate professionals in your corner, freedom can be yours. All it takes is you choose yourself. Choosing a better tomorrow.

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