August 09, 2023 By Leah Malone

Common Misconceptions About Acceptance and Commitment Therapy


Some people hesitate to use helpful therapeutic tools, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), due to misunderstanding how the therapy works. According to the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, “ACT has shown to be an intervention with great success in the reduction of various mental disorders and substance use disorders (SUDs).” Emerge Recovery TX uses ACT and other evidence-based therapies to help women recover from SUD and mental health issues.

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

ACT is a form of psychotherapy used to help people accept their experiences and learn to identify and avoid unhelpful patterns of thought or behavior. Clients are guided through questioning their feelings and beliefs using constructive methods during sessions. According to The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, “ACT makes heavy use of metaphors, logical paradoxes, and experiential exercises, as well as more traditional behavioral techniques (e.g., behavioral activation, exposure). The goal of these strategies is to improve psychological flexibility by fostering acceptance of internal states of distress and cognitive defusion from problematic language-based processes.” Women in recovery can use ACT to reduce feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. 

How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Impact Recovery?

ACT provides a space where people feel safe analyzing their reactions to specific situations. The therapy sessions guide clients through finding healthy ways to adjust their behavioral and emotional responses. 

Some of the primary benefits of ACT include: 

  • Increased understanding of the connection between maladaptive behaviors like SUD and unhealthy thought patterns 
  • Improved mind-body awareness and mindfulness 
  • Increased understanding of how negativity affects overall health 

People often experience a smoother transition out of structured care if they feel more in control of their reactions. In addition, increased mindfulness and self-awareness reduce the risk of relapse by ensuring clients monitor their recovery more effectively. 

Common Misconceptions About Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Stigmas surrounding therapy and misinformation about specific therapeutic modalities stop some women from seeking essential treatment. A few of the misconceptions about ACT include the following:

  • ACT is nothing more than mindfulness 
  • Goals established during sessions are too difficult to achieve, setting clients up to fail
  • ACT cannot treat maladaptive behaviors like substance misuse
  • The therapy models are too difficult to understand and only work for people who understand them

ACT helps people establish reasonable goals to avoid unwanted thoughts or behaviors. The therapy models are straightforward and involve learning to accept experiences and develop healthy responses. Mindfulness and other therapeutic approaches are essential in a person’s acceptance and commitment to change. 

How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Help Women Heal?

Women recovering from SUD or mental health issues may struggle to feel fulfilled in their recovery. Feelings of uncertainty, fear, or ambivalence might cause some women to feel stuck. Acceptance and commitment therapy provides women with the tools they need to find peace with their current circumstances and build achievable goals for moving forward in their sober lives. 

ACT helps women by doing the following:

  • Decreasing negative self-talk
  • Increasing positivity and resilience
  • Decreasing maladaptive behaviors
  • Increasing mindfulness and self-awareness

Care teams at Emerge Recovery TX understand how challenges in early recovery may affect women and their ability to heal. ACT increases functionality and reduces reliance on maladaptive coping mechanisms. ACT and other therapies give women the tools to move forward.  

How Does Emerge Recovery TX Use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Emerge Recovery TX understands the value of empowering women during early recovery. According to the previously mentioned article by the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, “The core of ACT when used in SUD treatment is guiding people to accept the urges and symptoms associated with substance misuse (acceptance) and use psychological flexibility and value-based interventions to reduce those urges and the symptoms (commitment).” Treatment helps women gain self-confidence and self-awareness. 

Emerge Recovery TX uses ACT to do the following: 

  • Help women come to terms with their current circumstances
  • Set achievable, sustainable, and specific goals for their future 
  • Reduce symptoms and increase client resiliency 

Women in recovery may struggle to accept how past experiences may impact thoughts and behaviors. ACT increases awareness of how choices affect mental health. Women are encouraged to challenge negative beliefs, behaviors, and thoughts. Increasing positivity and empowering women through therapy significantly reduces the risk of relapse. 

Help Women Align With Core Beliefs and Values

Emerge Recovery TX uses ACT to help women align their behaviors with core beliefs and values. Women in recovery face unexpected situations every day. ACT provides women with essential life skills to help them accept their circumstances and make better choices in the future. Coping skills and other tools ensure clients overcome challenges and thrive during early recovery. Emerge uses ACT and other psychological interventions to meet women where they are today and build a foundation for a healthier future.

Some women have difficulty accepting their situation and the need for change. Feelings of ambivalence, fear, embarrassment, shame, or uncertainty might cause women to avoid making the changes they need to heal and successfully recover. Emerge Recovery TX offers comprehensive support services and evidence-based methods, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Women can rely on their care team to help them set healthy recovery goals and accept their experiences. ACT makes it easier for women to recognize maladaptive behaviors or thought patterns and replace them with positive alternatives — many women in recovery use ACT to create the foundation for positive change. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (737) 237-9663.

About Author

Leah Malone

Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings can be painful and disturbing at times. When Leah was able to see her behavior patterns and decided there was enough pain to be disturbed, she became motivated to make changes and accept the work that needed to be done to heal. She needed direction and had no clue how to heal on her own. Through a connection with God, authentic connection with others, honesty, willingness, and humility, Leah is now in recovery from addiction and trauma.

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