Parkinson’s ACT

Starting from 11th April 2021

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a mindful approach to accepting the difficulties in life to improve one’s overall quality of living. It is a form of psychotherapy that helps people focus on the present and move forward from overwhelming, difficult emotionsand negative thoughts. It can help diffuse the impact of negative emotions and reshape your thinking to treat, anxiety, depression and other similar mental health disorders.ACT addresses your commitment to making changes and what to do when you can’t stick to your goals.

In ACT, you will learn to use mindfulness techniques to step back from your thoughts and feelings, let them be as they are, and connect with the present moment, so that you can re-engage with your life. You will work to clarify exactly what it is that you value in life, make plans to move in that direction, rather than waiting for your thoughts and feelings to be the way you want them before you can do the things you want to. It encourages you to start living the life that matters to you today.

How our ACT can help Parkinson’s?

As part of the Parkinson’s Mental Health Support Hub, we have developed the first ever Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a selfreferral service which may be particularly beneficial for people who are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s and those with YOPD.

ACT sessions are free and can take place via ZOOM or telephone and will last about 45 minutes. You will need to complete a self- referral form, which will require the disclosure of some personal information. Once accepted, your therapy will last for 4 weeks.

It can often feel like we are in a war with our thoughts and feelings, constantly trying to get rid of bad ones and have more good ones. ACT focuses on behavioural change. It invites you to pay less attention to negative thoughts and to focus more on improving your life. The therapy helps you to overcome your struggles with your thoughts and feelings and to shift your focus on taking action in order to move towards the life you want. 

ACT works in three areas: accept the emotion and be mindful, choose a direction, and then act accordingly. Our trained therapists will guide and work with you through all three areas.

World Parkinsons Day
First part involves the acceptance of things that are out of your control, focusing on things outside of your control may cause more distress the more you focus on it. For many people, accepting a Parkinson’s diagnosis can be extremely difficult and so living in denial can preoccupy one’s state of mind for several years. Until one accepts their diagnosis, they will not be able to fully engage or appreciate the support, therapies and information that is available to live the best life possible with the condition.
Second and third areas involved you taking charge and committing to the actionthat will push you forward instead of leaving you stagnant in an array of unhelpful emotions. This area of therapy supports you with planning and working towards the things that you would like or need to change to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

ACT is interactive and collaborative. Your therapist will work with you as an equal. They will ask you to do experiential exercises in sessions, using your own direct experience as a guide to where change is necessary and possible, for instance:

1. Letting feelings or thoughts happen without the impulse to act on them.
2. Observe your weaknesses but take note of your strengths.
3. Give yourself permission to not be good at everything.
4. Acknowledge the difficulties in your life without escaping from it or avoiding it.
5. Realise that you can be in control of how you react, think and feel.

This therapy may involve you filling in worksheets and practicing in between sessions the techniques that you have learned. All of which will lead to you to actually do things differently in your life.

Download a ACT self-referral form

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