Emotion regulation in acceptance and commitment therapy
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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) offers an alternative to traditional psychotherapies designed to regulate affect. ACT is based on the premise that normal cognitive processes distort and enhance the experience of unpleasant emotion, leading clients to engage in problematic behaviors designed to avoid or attenuate those unpleasant emotions. Such avoidant behavior patterns can hinder and prevent client movement toward valued goals and place the client in harmful situations. Rather than work working to change cognitions or decrease levels of emotion, the ACT approach involves the client directly experiencing problematic emotions in a context in which the literal functions of language enhancing the negative implications of those emotions are stripped away. The focus throughout the treatment is facilitating the client's movement toward a more valued and personally fulfilling life, in a context in which previously obstructive unpleasant emotions no longer serve as obstructions. A case study is provided to illustrate some of ACT's core techniques. (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons.