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ACT feels nicer than CBT

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Bronnie Lennox Thompson on the difference between cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which is something I’ve been hazy on:

“[ACT] moves us away from working hard to avoid things we don’t like, and towards things that are rewarding to us. The influence of moving in the direction of things we want has a different flavour from avoiding things we don’t want.”

Boy, does it ever have a different flavour! As different as training a dog with punishment versus reward. I have been quite critical of CBT for pain patients, surprise surprise, with my usual emperor-has-no-clothes take. (If I ever see a dressed emperor, I'll let you know.) I definitely like the flavour of ACT better… at least as Bronnie explains it.

ACT is (in very broad strokes) focused on helping people live better in spite of pain. Bronnie has written a whole bunch more about ACT this year. She just completed a 6-part series. Here's the last one, with links the lot of them at the bottom. Reading those is a nice ACT crash course.

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