Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

This Special Interest Group focuses on promoting the practice of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the United Kingdom, as well as supporting research and training in contextual behavioural science.


  • To provide a forum where ACT can be discussed and explored openly and freely
  • To make available training in ACT and training relevant to ACT
  • To support and encourage research into ACT
  • To develop links with other Contextual Therapies.
  • To participate in conferences

Committee Members

Role Name
Co-chairs Johnny Boorman and Jess Kingston
Secretary Shaun Mehew
Branch Liaison Fiona Kennedy
Treasurer Sue Hart
Ordinary Members
Henry Whitfield, Ioanna Lamprinopoulou, Martin Wilks


Contact the ACT Special Interest Group by emailing

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, said as one word rather than A-C-T) is contextual CBT that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behaviour change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.

Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behaviour in the service of chosen values.

Based on Relational Frame Theory, ACT illuminates the ways that language entangles clients into futile attempts to wage war against their own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises clients learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided.

Clients gain the skills to recontextualise and accept these private events, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behaviour change.

ACT has a developing evidence base, with over 20 randomised controlled trials across a variety of disorders and problems, mediational analyses supportive of the processes of change in psychological flexibility, and links with basic science about language, with over 80 published experiments on Relational Frame Theory.

Establishment of the ACT Special Interest Group and the Committee

In March 2006 the original proposal for the SIG was put to BABCP Board by Mark Webster. This was agreed in May 2006 and a consultation meeting for BABCP members was held at the Warwick BABCP conference (also attended by ACT expert Steve Hayes). Another meeting was held at the WorldCon2 in London to gather support for the establishment of the SIG.

This lead to a first General Meeting in October 2006 at which officers were elected and where it was agreed to develop training and research interests during the 2006 - 2007 period.

Subsequently the full executive committee was developed in line with the Articles of BABCP.

Committee Elections took place and the results were ratified at the ACT SIG AGM held in Edinburgh during BABCP Annual Conference, 2008.

Teaching Resources

Are you interested in teaching about ACT or already engaged in this activity? The Committee would like to compile a set of resources for teaching ACT, encourage trainers to share ideas, and generally support the dissemination of ACT on training courses in the UK. Please feel free to email the Committee about these issues.

BABCP Accreditation Details

Our guidance from BABCP is that ACT can be recognised in the same way as any other form of CBT for accreditation purposes. Further dialogue is ongoing.

ACT Research in the United Kingdom

The development of ACT in the UK is going to involve supporting research activity about contextual, third-wave approaches to CBT. The Committee thinks that the ACT SIB should be about providing a forum for researchers to meet, share ideas and collaborate on projects relevant to this aim. If you are researching ACT then please get in touch with the Committee as we want to organise events and meetings that will support this research.

Links for UK ACT Therapists and Researchers

ACT/RFT Podcast: Check out "Functionally Speaking - A Third Wave Behavior Therapy Podcast" by DJ Moran at: - The first instalment has interviews with Kevin Polk and Steve Hayes.

UKACT listserv This is an electronic forum to discuss ACT issues in the UK context, make links with other therapists and researchers, and a way we can develop the UK ACT community. The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), the premier source of information about ACT, RFT and contextual behavioural science

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