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Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2009;46(4):304-9.

Acceptance and commitment therapy and the new generation of cognitive behavioral treatments.

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Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of several recently-developed acceptance-based cognitive behavioral treatments which broaden the scope of CBT. The theory underlying ACT suggests that verbal representations generated by the human mind inevitably increase the psychological presence of pain and often lead to psychological inflexibility or the dominance of language products over other sources of information. Furthermore, the adequacy of problem-solving strategies that are used to achieve desired goals and decrease suffering is substantially decreased when applied to private experience. Therefore, humans have a greatly expanded capacity to experience aversive stimulation, but simultaneously are not well-equipped to deal effectively with such unwanted experiences. Acknowledging the inevitability of psychological pain, ACT aims at replacing experiential avoidance and similar harmful processes with more adaptive strategies, with the general goal of pursuing broad life objectives. This is achieved by encouraging mindful acceptance of unwanted experiences and by fostering committed action which is consistent with one's chosen values.

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