Struggles with substance abuse often stem from people trying to avoid things that make them uncomfortable or scared. For example, many people feel the need to drink in social situations to lessen their anxiety. However, this avoidance can lead to dependency on the substance. These types of situations are what we aim to tackle in acceptance and commitment therapy at Gateway Foundation Chicago Kedzie.

Background on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

a man looks thankful for what he learned in acceptance and commitment therapy or ACTAcceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) stems from behavioral methods of treatment but takes a different approach. More traditional methods like cognitive behavioral therapy come from the second generation of behavioral therapy approaches. Second generation modalities see behavior and emotion as linked. ACT, part of the third generation, takes things a step further by approaching behavior and emotion as separate entities that can impact each other but don’t necessarily have to. While cognitive behavioral therapy is more solutions-based, ACT works to help clients accept their emotions and unlink them from their behaviors.

Assumptions and Themes of ACT

The basis of acceptance and commitment therapy makes two assumptions: that suffering is a normal part of life, and that trying to control suffering only leads to more issues. During ACT sessions, therapists work with clients to help them understand that trying to avoid or rid themselves of pain is unrealistic. Further, therapists help clients realize that trying to avoid or minimize pain with drugs or alcohol is counterproductive.

Acceptance and commitment therapy also operates around six core processes or themes. These themes include:

  • Acceptance – Clients learn to embrace their pain rather than avoid it
  • Cognitive defusion – In examining their thoughts, clients learn which thoughts and emotions cause them problems and remove power from them
  • Being present – Clients work on focusing on the now rather than fixating on their lack of control over their past or future
  • Self as context – Through mindfulness, clients separate their emotions from their behaviors and habits
  • Values – Clients examine what is important to them and learn to align their behaviors with their values
  • Committed action – Taking their learnings from the other themes, clients develop short- and long-term behavioral goals to improve their lives

While this may seem like a lot of work, clients and therapists work as a team to make progress over time. Many clients like ACT due to the control that they have over the sessions. In other methods, therapists tend to take the lead on what issues to focus on. In acceptance and commitment therapy, however, clients collaborate with therapists to decide what direction to take.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy at Gateway Foundation Chicago Kedzie

ACT is one of many treatment methods that Gateway Foundation Chicago Kedzie offers. Others include the following:

Clients in our sober living recovery home receive personalized treatment plans that consist of methods that will best help them achieve lasting recovery. Often, these plans include acceptance and commitment therapy. To learn more about ACT or any of our other services, reach out to our friendly addiction treatment staff today. Give us a call at 773.227.2158 now.