What is ACT?
ACT uses some of the same principles as mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy CBT. Rather than trying to help you to alter your thoughts and feelings, ACT encourages you to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs and the helpful and unhelpful ways you respond. It tries to support you to become more aware of and in touch with what matters to you and to help you find ways to do those things.
If you feel that ACT may be of benefit to you, or you would like further information about psychological approaches, talk to your GP or your MS nurse.
Research into ACT
Although ACT has not yet been studied in multiple sclerosis, it has been found to be helpful for specific symptoms that can occur in MS.
A study of the effects of ACT on pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia found that the approach was more effective than treatment with pain medication and anti-depressants immediately after treatment, and improvements were still apparent when people were assessed six months later.
A review of over thirty case studies and reports of its the use to manage a range of anxiety disorders found support for ACT, though the different approaches to running the individual studies made it hard to draw firm conclusions.
A study by the US Department of Veterans Affairs found that ACT help reduced measures of depression and increased quality of life scores.
- Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 2015;84(1):30-36. Summary A meta-analysis of the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy for clinically relevant mental and physical health problems.
- Pain 2014;155(4):693-702. Summary Effectiveness of group acceptance and commitment therapy for fibromyalgia: a 6-month randomized controlled trial (EFFIGACT study) .
- Clinical Psychology Review 2013;33(8):965-978. Summary Acceptance and commitment therapy in the treatment of anxiety: a systematic review.
- Behaviour Research and Therapy 2013;51(9):555-563. Summary Training in and implementation of acceptance and commitment therapy for depression in the Veterans Health Administration: therapist and patient outcomes.
Last updated: November 2017
Last reviewed: September 2015
This page will be reviewed within three years