Acceptance and commitment therapy or ACT is a form of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies to help people overcome psychological issues that may be holding them back. An acceptance and commitment therapy program is a form of actionable therapy that one can use to change harmful behaviors.

Ultimately, ACT can help people form new habits and cope with thoughts and feelings that drive them to use substances. This develops psychological flexibility and gives patients the ability to intervene in their own negative thought patterns before they turn into negative behaviors. An acceptance and commitment therapy program will help you to identify the thoughts that you have before you use and the ability to stop them in their track before you end up drinking or using drugs. In this way, ACT forms a crucial part of any Fort Collins addiction treatment program.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Principles and Assumptions

male patient has breakthrough during acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACTThe following three assumptions encompass acceptance and commitment therapy:

  1. People prefer to avoid inner experiences that are negative
  2. You need specific values and intention to commit for behavioral changes to take place
  3. Do not repress feelings, but rather allow them to pass without involving direct action

The Six Principles of ACT

If you have decided on ACT therapy, your therapist should be working with you on the six principles of acceptance and commitment therapy.


At the point that the patient realizes they are caught up in a negative thought storm, they call their attention to the present moment and become mindful of their direct surroundings.


This is where patients detach from the negative inner experience and bring their thoughts to the here and now. Letting the absorbent negative inner experience slowly fall to the wayside.


At this stage, the patient is aware of their negative inner experience and accepts it for what it is – a storm of emotions not necessarily related to the present time. The patient acknowledges that there is room for such feelings, but they do not have to act on them.


Here, the patient moves through their negative inner experience and works to let go of pieces that they see are no longer valid.


Each patient will have their own set of values as far as how they would like to act and what they will actually do as they continue the process.

Committed Action

The patient then acts in accordance with how they previously resolved to act during a particular thought storm.

Significantly, the core principles of an acceptance and commitment therapy program appear in no specific order or ranking, for two reasons. One, no one principle is more important than the others. Second, the principles happen in concert rather than separately.

What to Expect Using ACT for Addiction

In summary, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a direct method with which you can overcome your addictive behaviors. ACT, like most addiction therapy services, will not be easy at first. The very first steps are identifying thought patterns and emotions that get you to the point of using. Most people have a hard time identifying things outside of themselves that trigger them to use. Getting down to the real emotions and thoughts at hand will be difficult. Therefore, your therapist acts as your guide so you can explore your issues.

In essence, once you are able to pinpoint emotionally driven thoughts and have established a value system, you can be on your way to getting rid of your addictive behaviors for good. One great piece about this type of therapy program is that once you learn it, you have it for life and can use it to combat a myriad of problems.

Additional types of therapy you may also want to consider are:

In summary, DBT and acceptance and commitment therapy techniques can help you become and stay drug or alcohol-free. For help, give AspenRidge recovery a call today at (866) 957-6941. We can help you find the most effective ways to become sober and live the life that you deserve.