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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Anxiety With Tom Parkes



Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Anxiety With Tom Parkes


On this episode of A Healthy Push podcast, I'm joined by Tom Parkes. Tom is a psychotherapist based in Connecticut, who is passionate about the process-based clinical approach, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in his work with clients. Tom is also the host of the podcast Mentally Flexible, where he interviews psychologists, researchers, and others on a range of mental health focused topics - so be sure to check that out!


Tom and I explored how ACT can be used to support those with anxiety, panic and agoraphobia, as well as a number of other mental health struggles. I was blown away when reading into ACT, as this is the type of work I undertook in my own therapy journey without realizing, so when I came across Tom on Instagram I knew I wanted to have him on the podcast! This is a subject I've not covered before, and might be new to many of you reading, so let's get started with the basics!


What is ACT Therapy?


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of mindful psychotherapy that blends mindfulness strategies with behavioral techniques to help individuals live more meaningful lives. It's a combination of committing to values driven action and making space for the difficult thoughts and feelings that can show up for us along the way, when facing the hard stuff. In the full podcast episode, we explore what this looks like in more detail, so stay tuned.


What Is The Difference Between CBT and ACT Therapy?


Tom and I chatted about CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), one of the most well known approaches in the therapy world. CBT primarily targets negative thoughts and beliefs, aiming to identify and challenge them to promote more positive thinking patterns and behaviors. Similarly to ACT, it's a versatile therapy that can be used to support people with a range of mental heath conditions such as anxiety, depression and OCD.

On the other hand, ACT takes a different approach by emphasizing acceptance of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, rather than trying to change or eliminate them.


So, while CBT is all about changing your thoughts, ACT is about changing your relationship with them. Both therapies can be super helpful tools when working to recover, so it's important to remember there is no one size fits all approach and lean into what works for you.


Values Driven Action In Anxiety Recovery


A big part of ACT is action - it's in the name! ACT therapy for anxiety focuses on getting in touch with what really matters to us, and how we want to show up in the world before taking those first steps. That means you're not just doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff; you're doing stuff that aligns with your core beliefs and inspires you. This can honestly make such a difference when facing the hard stuff!


Much of what I teach, especially in my Panic to Peace program, is doing the inner work and re-aligning with our values before diving into exposures. Getting your life back in a way that also feels good and is motivating for you can be super inspiring and helpful in anxiety recovery.


Paired with acceptance and compassion for the difficult feelings we experience, values driven action can be a powerful tool.


There was honestly so much goodness in this episode, and we covered so much more, so don't forget to tune in for the whole conversation wherever you get your podcasts.


Tom Parkes

 

Feeling like you've tried everything but you're still struggling with lots of anxious thoughts, symptoms, panic attacks, and fears? Take my FREE 60-minute masterclass today and learn 5 shifts that will actually help you to overcome anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. And I promise, you won't hear any of the usual stuff from me - like doing breathing exercises, grounding practices, cutting out caffeine, and doing more exposures. Let's get you the peace and freedom you deserve without it being so hard!


Check out my masterclasses here and start experiencing lots more peace, joy, & freedom!




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