fbpx Skip to content

Understanding CBT vs ACT Therapy: Which Approach is Right for You?

If you are looking for a therapy session for your depression and chronic pain, it would be interesting for you to see how we lay down the concept of CBT vs Act therapy, two popular types of psychotherapy. It helps in releasing unhelpful thoughts and feelings. Moreover, there are various medications and lifestyle change therapies. But talk therapy is an effective way to improve chronic pain and deal with mental and emotional problems. Therefore, this article will discuss CBT vs act therapy and acts therapy in detail.

What is CBT therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely used therapy for treating mental health disorders. It focuses on developing personal coping strategies that solve current problems and change unhelpful patterns in attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. CBT is a short-term therapy, and it focuses on specific issues.

During the CBT treatment, people identify the problem and change disturbing thoughts that lead to a negative influence on their behavior. For example, a person thinks he is unhappy in life, then he identifies a problem and starts thinking he is happy in life, and as a result, he starts noticing changes in his life.

The goal of CBT therapy is to make a person understand that they cannot control every aspect of life, but they have control over how they interpret and deal with things.

How does CBT work?

CBT focuses on present beliefs and thoughts. Also, it emphasizes the need to identify and change a person’s views on a situation.

The steps in CBT are as follows:

  • An individual’s assessments
  • Decide the goals and areas to work on.
  • Every day, checking the person’s mood and it’s life updates
  • For each session, setting the agendas
  • Reviewing the homework
  • Do the discussions with feedback and summaries
  • Assigning homework at the last of sessions.

Strategies of CBT

The treatment, of course, depends on their symptoms and requirements. The strategies are as follows:

  • Every day has one-on-one, group, or a combination of sessions.
  • Get the feedback regular
  • Do the role-playing activities
  • You need to learn ways to calm the body and mind.
  • Provide exposure to the things that you fear
  • Do homework assignments
  • Have a diary of cognitive behavior
  • You need to practice skills for positive behavioral growth and change.

What is Act therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of psychotherapy. It is mainly based on a psychological intervention that uses mindfulness strategies, acceptance, commitment, and behavior-change strategies to increase psychological flexibility.

In life, issues don’t arise from painful experiences. But it comes from uncomfortable feelings and thoughts about the events and experiences. Act therapy helps accept and confront feelings, experiences, and thoughts. Also, it reminds you that stress and difficult emotions are part of human life. Moreover, it encourages people to live in the present moment and change behavior according to the situation.

How does Act therapy work?

Act therapy is focused on accepting life experiences as they are without changing them. The treatment helps you fight with feelings, thoughts, and experiences and stop overthinking and struggling with them. Additionally, it reminds you that stress and struggle are parts of human life, and you can find ways to solve the issues.

The therapy is provided for a short period and can extend for a long time. Let’s understand how act therapy works.

  • Acceptance: You should accept your emotions and feelings that are out of control and accept the experience. For example, you feel angry when someone lies so accept that feeling.
Act therapy
Act therapy
  • Direction: Commit to a positive approach that pushes you forward. Avoid revisiting the past while resisting the temptation to dwell on it.
  • Action: You should take charge, decide to stick with a positive direction, and fight with whatever comes your way.

The 6 core values of Acts therapy

1. Acceptance: Instead of fighting with feelings and thoughts, accept them without judgment. For example, if you feel lonely in a public place, accept that feeling.

2. Values: Identifying your life’s purpose, your happiness, and things that motivate you. It helps in understanding where you can’t make sacrifices in life.

3. Present awareness: Present awareness is also known as mindfulness. It plays a crucial role because a person must fully engage in the present moment. When a person adopts present awareness, it helps them observe their thoughts and feelings. As a result, individuals understand their values and commit actions according to them.

4. Self as context: Self as context refers to the ability to experience and observe thoughts, feelings, and sensations without becoming entangled. It helps in understanding the self.

5. Cognitive defusion: It aims for individuals to make choices based on their values rather than their thoughts.

6. Committed Action: It emphasizes taking valuable actions despite challenging emotions and thoughts. Also, a created life with meaning and purposes.

According to research, Acts therapy reduces symptoms of dealing with depression and anxiety. Another research reported that act therapy is an effective treatment for chronic pain suffering.

Structure of an Acts therapy session.

The following stages of Act therapy session are as follows:

1. Building rapport: In the first week’s sessions, you will sit with a therapist and discuss the challenges that you are facing. Also, talk about your mental health and talk about things you were tired of in the past and did not work for you.

2. Deeper awareness: The therapies will help you to identify the areas you have negative thoughts or hesitate to discuss. They will help you work on painful memories and make peace with things that can’t be changed.

3. Core values: During this therapy, you will explore core values and understand what is important to you. You will identify yourself. Also, understand what you want from your life.

4. Action: After you identify your problem and what you want to prioritize, your therapist will help in changing things or accepting things. Accepting things that you can’t change while focusing on changing things that can be changed.

5. Commitment: Once you go through ACT, your therapist will find a way to incorporate it into your everyday life. The purpose of it continues in the long run from what you have learned.

CBT vs Act therapy: The Ultimate Differentiation

CBT vs Act therapy
CBT vs Act therapy

1. Focus: CBT focuses on identifying negative behaviors and problems, solving problems, and changing behaviors. At the same time, Act therapy focuses on developing mindfulness, acceptance, and values-based action.

2. Duration in CBT vs act therapy: The duration of CBT is shorter-term, ranging from 6 to 20 sessions, depending on individual requirements. The Act is short- or long-term, depending on the individual requirements.

3. Approach in CBT vs act therapy: CBT’s approach is structured and goal-oriented. It identifies negative thoughts and behaviors and changes them. Act therapy is a mindfulness therapy that helps accept the changes of life and makes a person move towards living a meaningful life according to their perspective values. It is one of the differences between CBT vs act therapy.

4. Applicable: CBT treats mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, depression, and other mood disorders. ACT treats mental health issues such as depression, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain. It is one of the main differences between CBT vs act therapy.

5. Techniques in CBT vs act therapy: The CBT therapy techniques used are exposure therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, cognitive restructuring, and behavioral experiments. ACT uses techniques such as values clarification, acceptance, cognitive defusion, committed action, and mindfulness. It is one of the differences between CBT vs act therapy.

6. Purpose: CBT aims to reduce symptoms. ACT aims to make people accept their situations and live with them.

FAQs: CBT vs Act Therapy

1. Does Acts therapy help the person?

 A randomized controlled study from 2002, it is found that 4 hours of act therapy treatment helped in dropping the rate by 50% over 6 months for re-hospitalization rates of schizophrenic individuals.

2. How is CBT similar to ACT?

It focuses on providing mindfulness practices and working on thoughts and feelings in non-judgmental methods. Both methods focus on how a person relates to their experiences rather than experience themselves. Also, it offers emotion focusing and control of your emotions.

3. What is the duration of CBT sessions?

You will have CBT sessions once a week or every two weeks. The treatment duration is often between 6 and 20 sessions, with every session time being 30 to 60 minutes.

4. What can CBT do?

The cbt helps in the following ways:

  • Develop an awareness of unhelpful thoughts
  • Challenge about the unhelpful assumption
  • Make the difference between facts and unhelpful thoughts
  • Develop a helpful way of seeing situations and thinking.

5. What is the duration of an Acts therapy session?

Acts therapy is conducted every week. This means treatment usually takes place over a few weeks or a few months.

6. Where does ACT therapy help out?

ACT therapy helps with various mental conditions such as work stress, depression, anxiety, stress regulation, phobias, and substance abuse.


Choosing between CBT vs act therapy depends on your preference and needs. If you want a goal-oriented approach, solve the present situation, and address specific thoughts and behaviors, CBT is right for you. Conversely, if you value mindfulness and acceptance of the situation, Acts therapy should be right for you. You need to consult with a mental health professional to determine the effective therapy for your unique situation.

Our mission at Relevance Recovery is to treat mental health and drug use disorders with utmost care and efficacy, taking into account their delicate and complex nature. Our goal is to support people in achieving a long-term recovery and better quality of life. Our program is an evolving, linked community of clinical and medical experts that incorporates the most recent findings and evidence-based practices. Participants in our program are given individualized treatment plans that incorporate various therapeutic modalities.








Request a Callback

"*" indicates required fields