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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Cancer Patients 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Cancer Patients
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Cancer Patients

Nick Hulbert-Williams

and Ray Owen

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date: 27 October 2021

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a third-wave cognitive behavior therapy. Developed in the 1980s and 1990s, the ACT framework is based in behavioral psychology, specifically, relational frame theory. In contrast to other approaches, ACT does not aim to challenge or change distressing thoughts or emotional responses to adverse life events. ACT aims to help people live as fulfilling a life as possible by encouraging committed action in service of their personal values, while teaching skills of mindfulness and acceptance to reduce the influence of troubling thoughts, of unwanted emotions, and unhelpful self-concept. This chapter outlines the theory behind ACT, the therapeutic components that make up the Hexaflex Model of psychological flexibility, and provides an overview of the evidence base for applications of ACT in the oncology setting. Practical examples of how ACT can be used to address common issues during treatment and cancer survivorship are also included.

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