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How ACT is used as part of ERP and CBT Therapy | Orlando ACT Therapist

Anxiety and other mental health challenges can be debilitating and overwhelming, and significantly impact a person’s daily life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an approach that has been proven successful in treating anxiety, phobias and OCD, especially when used in collaboration with other evidence-based therapies such as CBT and ERP.

What is ACT Therapy?

ACT focuses on the idea of accepting one’s thoughts and feelings, despite their unpleasantness, and committing to act in a way that’s consistent with personal goals and values. In contrast, CBT and ERP focus on reducing symptoms by challenging and modifying negative thinking patterns and behaviors. When used in conjunction with CBT or ERP, ACT can help individuals focus less on controlling their thoughts and feelings and more on living a meaningful life in the presence of anxiety.

ACT can be particularly useful in addressing anxiety disorders that are driven by avoidance behaviors. Individuals with anxiety often engage in activities that are intended to avoid or eliminate their uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. However, these avoidance behaviors can ultimately reinforce anxiety-driven patterns and make it harder to overcome them. ACT focuses on mindfulness, acceptance, and action, rather than avoidance. The goal of ACT is to help individuals engage with the anxiety-provoking stimuli in a controlled and manageable way to reduce the impact of these stimuli on their lives.

ACT can also be helpful in cases where some of the anxiety-provoking thoughts or fears are difficult to modify or eliminate. Traditional CBT and ERP techniques may focus explicitly on challenging these thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs. Still, an ACT approach focuses on accepting them as beliefs and instead working on building psychological resilience and the skills necessary to act in a manner consistent with personal values.

ACT & Mindfulness for Anxiety & OCD

One of the key components of ACT is the use of mindfulness skills. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Studies have consistently shown that practicing mindfulness can improve anxiety symptoms. Incorporating mindfulness into ERP and CBT can help individuals to tolerate anxiety-provoking situations and have a greater acceptance of their emotional states.

ACT is a collaborative and empowering approach that encourages individuals to take an active role in their treatment. Overall, the goal of ACT is to help individuals shift from a pattern of avoidance to a pattern of acceptance and action. ACT can be used as a standalone therapy or as part of a comprehensive approach that includes ERP and CBT.

ACT and ERP:

ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on exposing individuals to their fears in a controlled environment. This exposure helps the individual confront and learn to tolerate their anxiety triggers, ultimately leading to decreased anxiety symptoms. ACT can be incorporated as part of ERP by helping individuals accept their anxious thoughts and feelings without trying to control or avoid them. This allows individuals to stay present during exposure exercises and fully engage in the process, leading to better outcomes.

ACT and CBT:

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is another evidence-based approach that helps individuals recognize and modify unhelpful thoughts and behaviors related to their anxiety. ACT can be integrated into CBT by helping individuals accept their thoughts and feelings, even if they are unpleasant, while also teaching them skills to effectively manage them. By incorporating ACT principles into CBT, individuals can learn to avoid getting caught up in unhelpful thinking patterns and instead focus on taking action towards their goals.


Using all three approaches together – ACT, ERP, and CBT – can significantly benefit individuals struggling with anxiety. While ERP and CBT target specific symptoms and behaviors, ACT helps individuals develop a more mindful and accepting mindset towards their anxiety. This combination allows individuals to fully engage in the therapeutic process, leading to greater success in managing their anxiety.

Additional Benefits of Using ACT:

Aside from its effectiveness when used alongside other therapies, ACT also has many other benefits. It can help individuals develop greater self-awareness, increase their ability to cope with difficult emotions, and improve their overall well-being. ACT also teaches individuals how to live in the present moment, rather than getting caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past. This can be especially helpful for those struggling with anxiety, as it allows them to focus on the present and engage in helpful behaviors, rather than getting stuck in anxious thoughts and avoidance behaviors.

Who Should Consider ACT Therapy?

ACT can be a powerful tool in addressing anxiety, particularly when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes ERP and CBT. By focusing on acceptance, mindfulness, and meaningful action, ACT can help individuals shift from an avoidance pattern to a pattern of acceptance and active engagement with the anxiety-provoking stimuli. To learn more about how ACT can help you or a loved one overcome anxiety, speak to a licensed therapist trained in ACT. Remember, seeking help is the first step towards living an anxiety-free life.

Finding A Qualified CBT/ERP/ACT Therapist in Orlando
GroundWork provides CBT / ERP and ACT to clients residing in Florida, Maine, Vermont, Montana and South Carolina. 

At GroundWork, our therapists are trained in a variety of evidence-based approaches, including CBT, ERP, and ACT. We understand that everyone’s journey to overcoming anxiety is different, which is why we tailor our treatment plans to meet the unique needs of each individual. Our therapists work collaboratively with clients to develop a personalized approach to managing anxiety that incorporates techniques from all three therapies. Don’t let anxiety control your life any longer – reach out to us today to start your journey towards living a more fulfilling and enjoyable life. GroundWork provides CBT / ERP and ACT to clients residing in Florida, Maine, Vermont, Montana and South Carolina. 

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341 N Maitland Ave #330
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Portland, ME 04101

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