Acceptance and commitment therapy is not a new or recent technology, even if it is a third-generation therapy. It has been developed over almost 25 years, although its popularity is recent. Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of behavioral and cognitive psychotherapy, based on the theory of the relational trait of language and on human cognition. It represents a point of view on psychopathology that emphasizes the role of experiential avoidance, of cognitive fusion, of the absence or weakening of values, and of the rigidity or behavioral ineffectiveness resulting from the appearance and development of the same.
According to the therapy of acceptance and commitment, one of the patient’s problems is that he confuses the solution with the problem. The person concerned follows a model of life in which deliberately escapes private events (thoughts and feelings) with adverse verbal functions (classified as suffering, distress, anxiety, depression, etc.) and thus gets only the amplification of symptoms.
Pain is an inseparable part of human life, but suffering is another thing. Feeling bad is a state that we all want to avoid or from which we want to escape. So we work hard to undo negative emotions and feelings as soon as possible.
We all tend to avoid suffering, to a greater or lesser extent (unless there are very powerful secondary rewards: some may wish to be a little sick to receive attention), and this is logical and desirable. However, there are times when the price to pay becomes very high, because we are wrong approach.
The important thing is to act when the avoidance of suffering is not a valid solution. Once done, we will be willing to learn how to make psychological space for seemingly negative private reactions. In other words, when we realize that it is useless to devote all our resources to avoiding suffering (which does not mean that we should look for it), we will be able to accept it.
Acceptance and commitment therapy attaches particular importance to values. That a person, for example, considers a particular object as ugly or beautiful, depends above all on this person’s historical background in the corresponding culture.
We perceive changes in these evaluations in various cultures or over time. It is appropriate to begin to understand that many of our qualifying answers (such as bad-looking, good-bad, funny-boring) could have been completely different if we were born in another time or another place. The same is applicable to values, especially when we focus on their limits or face moral dilemmas.