The Evidence Behind ACT

Broad Evidence of Effectiveness

ACT is producing consistently positive gains, sometimes quickly, across an unusually broad range of problems.   ACT has been shown to be clinically effective for reducing the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and stress
  • OCD
  • Psychosis
  • Substance abuse
  • Chronic pain
  • Work stress
  • Burnout

And improving the following:

  • Innovation
  • Learning
  • Productivity
  • Resilience
  • Weight maintenance

Further evidence and details of the randomly controlled trials behind this evidence can be found here.

The Processes of Change

In order for an intervention to be truly reliable, we need to understand not just that something works but why it works.

ACT is unusual as the evidence is growing that it actually seems to work through at least some of its theoretically specified processes and components, not just through general processes of change.  What does this mean?

It means that ACT is based on two theoretical approaches with solid evidence to support them.

  1. Relational Frame Theory
  2. Functional Contextual Behaviourism.

These theories predict that increases in psychological flexibility will precede improvements in functioning. The research seems to be supporting this – which makes ACT particularly exciting as an intervention.

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