What is ACT? – Part 2: ‘Get open’ 

What is ACT? – Part 2: ‘Get open’ 

Following on from the first part of this ‘What is ACT series ‘getting centred’, this post relates to the ‘getting open’ processes in the model.  

Getting open in ACT has a different approach to handling challenging thoughts and feelings compared to traditional CBT (challenge negative thoughts and change feelings), which many of you may be aware of. I encourage all clients to practice these processes by saying/writing out as way to really boost the impact and overall effectiveness of the skill.  


In ACT, acceptance means opening up and allowing space for a range of feelings and sensations some of which are uncomfortable and even painful. For clarity’s sake, this is not about acceptance of bad/unjust situations.  

We learn skills to be with (not against) and open up to internal struggles and lessen the fight with them so that with practice and time, the easier it is for your feelings to come and go without holding you back. 

There are many ways to begin acceptance practice. See this link if wish to play ‘the impossible game’!  



Defusion (‘unhooking’) 

Defusion or the less technical term ‘unhooking’ means learning to observe our unhelpful thoughts, feelings and memories instead of getting caught up with them or dominated by them. With practice, learning to take a step back and observe your thoughts allows you to take the power out of them and gives increased opportunities to respond effectively (hint for the final part of the series).   

This short video illustrates a small skill of how to unhook: 


You might also like to sing it! This is what I often do for my own critical thoughts: 



If you are seeking support for mental health concerns and are interested in this ACT approach, With Grace Therapy has a number of social workers able to help, so please reach out.  

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