Apply ACT Principles to Your Daily Life

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is difficult for many to understand because it’s not how we typically think about or approach problems. ACT focuses on six psychological processes that are believed to be at the core of our struggles and mental well-being.

One major benefit of ACT is psychological flexibility, but the journey can be challenging to many. With this flexibility, though, folks encountering difficult times—mental condition or not—can better adapt to whatever life throws their way.

Audience Questions

Jason Krompinger, PhD, facilitates an open conversation about ACT, discusses its effectiveness beyond OCD treatments, and answers questions about how, through the psychological processes of this therapy, we can all become more mentally flexible.

  • What exactly is ACT and what are the benefits of it?
  • Can you provide some context into how ACT targets the six psychological processes (acceptance; defusion; values; committed action; self as context; contact with the present moment)?
  • Have you found that some processes are more challenging to master than others? Or is it case-dependent?
  • When it comes to accepting our thoughts, how do you suggest we accept that we have uncomfortable thoughts but don’t allow our brain to always acknowledge those thoughts as being true?
  • Is there a difference between ACT and mindfulness? If so, can you provide some clarity?
  • Can anyone benefit from ACT? What kind of impact do ACT practices have on our day-to-day life?
  • Do you need to work with a licensed professional who has ACT training to implement it? Can we just start this journey on our own at home?
  • What types of patients are the best candidates for incorporating ACT into treatment?
  • If you have a diagnosis of OCD, can you do ACT without ERP, or do they have to occur together?
  • How often do we need to have an uncomfortable thought before its considered problematic?
  • I imagine that we all have a hard time truly accepting things that we do not like about ourselves. For me, when I acknowledge things that I am not proud of, it takes an emotional toll on me. Any suggestions around turning these revelations into action and not getting caught up in judging ourselves?
  • Can you talk a bit about people who have values that aren’t necessarily aligned with what’s in their control? For example, parents who work nights who can’t be around their kids.
  • Can kids benefit from ACT? If yes, what processes do you suggest implementing?
  • For couples that may not need couples’ therapy but could do better when it comes to communicating, are there any parts of ACT that can be applied to help reduce stress in romantic relationships?
  • Would you please speak more to the “values” aspect of ACT?
  • After working with patients to identify their values, how do you typically work with them to stay committed to change behavior?
  • How do you respond to someone who is very invested in feeling their emotions and feel an approach like this is challenging or invalidating their experiences?
  • Can you offer some examples of defusion?
  • In order to incorporate ACT into your daily life, do you need to “master” each of these processes before moving onto the next?
  • Is there a certain process that we should start with to incorporate ACT into our day-to-day, or does the order not matter? Is there one you’d suggest over the others?
  • Are you able to comment on the use of ACT in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy?
  • Can you talk more about the self as context?
  • Is there a way to mentally prioritize our values to help us fulfill our “main” values?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Krompinger

Jason Krompinger, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with expertise in treating OCD and related disorders. He is the director of clinical training at the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety. Dr. Krompinger was previously the director of psychological services at McLean’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute.

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Originally aired on July 22, 2021