CBT VS ACT: The Definition, Difference and Treatment

Table of Contents

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment therapy: two popular types of psychotherapy that will help you release unwanted, unhelpful thoughts and feelings. These therapies both yield positive results and help in treating many mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. Both are talk therapies that use different approaches Even though they both use different techniques and approaches they can help you feel better. Both the therapies can be used for individual therapy, group therapy or a couple therapy setting. CBT works by helping you identify and change negative thoughts, ACT holds that pain and discomfort are a part and a fact of life., lets learn more about them:

Table of Contents

What is Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?

Using CBT techniques will help you replace problematic thought patterns and think of more positive and helpful ones. This type of therapy helps you reframe your perspective and view lifes challenges in a better manner.
3 basic principles of CBT

1. Core beliefs: Our core beliefs are molded by our childhood and childhood experiences. They are deeply rooted in how we view ourselves, our environment and the future. This can be easily explained by an example- Let’s say you grew up in a very safe household where all the adults let you make your own decisions and corrected you when you were wrong. This actually helped you understand what’s wrong and right but at the same time it made you strict with yourselves. You can’t just go out and drink because you are now an adult. Infographic by keva bora
and you fail to keep up with your own expectations for yourself. Your core believes that sometimes letting go and having fun is wrong. CBT helps change these thoughts and patterns and let go of extreme feelings.

2. Dysfunctional Assumptions: Negative thoughts are something which can be more easily held on to. Our perceptions of reality get heavily distorted and disoriented because of these cognitive distortions

3. Automatic negative thoughts: All or nothing thinking, such as thinking that you’re a failure if you do something that doesn’t fit your idea of how you “should” be. Over generalization means that you “have to” get something right or you cannot do something because you aren’t smart enough.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) , a type of psychotherapy, emphasizes acceptance as an efficient way to deal with negative, hurtful thoughts, feelings, symptoms, or circumstances. It encourages people to increase commitment to healthy, constructive activities that uphold their values or help them get closer to their goals.
3 principles of ACT

1. Cognitive defusion: This is based on the idea that you need to perceive things the way they actually are. Thoughts, actions, memories often get distorted and our unconscious mind tends to think about the extremes. Cognitive defusion helps clear the mind and see things as they are.

2. Expansion/ Acceptance: Harris refers to “acceptance” as expansion, he believes that more than just accepting it is an expansion of feelings and a lot more. It refers to the practice of making room for unpleasant urges, sensations and feelings instead of trying to suppress them or push them away. We find that they bother us much less if we simply open up and allow them to come and go ( avoiding any struggle with them ) , running from them, or giving them undue attention. Instead of hanging around and bothering us, those feelings also move on quickly.

3. Connect: This therapy makes people understand how important it is to make connections with people and the present moment. It will help you understand the importance of mindfulness- being aware of thoughts and actions.

Difference between CBT VS ACT treatment

ACT: A long term and a short term therapy. 16-20 sessions, 50 minutes – 1 hour. (On an Average)

The main goal of ACT is to gain the ability to enter the present moment more fully and either change or persist in behavior when doing so serves value ends. Basically, to be able to increase psychological flexibility. It aims to accept negative thoughts rather than complete rejection of them.

Benefits: The key benefit is that it helps patients battle mental disorders without usings medications. It helps patients deal with their emotions, so they can feel all emotions and accept them as is.

Therapy type: Acceptance and commitment therapy is a type of mindful psychotherapy that will help you channel your energy into healing rather than dwelling on negative thoughts.It helps you look at yourself without judgment.

CBT: A short term therapy. 5-20 sessions, 30-60 minutes. (On an Average)

  • The main goal: While you cannot control the things going around you, you can change the way you perceive things and reject negative thoughts altogether.
  • Benefits: It helps us get in control of our emotions. This therapy changes us in a way where we control how we feel and our emotions are not in control of that because we are in control of emotions.
  • Therapy type: It incorporates strategies such as emotional regulation and mindfulness.

What does ACT and CBT Treat?

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma
  • Chronic pain
  • Substance use disorders

Which is more effective? ACT OR CBT

CBT is more accepted by clinicians as a treatment of choice because it has a robust research presence but ACT has more recently been accepted as well.

ACT is a more accepting therapy which may be more effective for emotional people and CBT is commonly more effective for people who use the logical parts of their brains.


1. Is ACT and CBT the same?

CBT works by helping you identify and change negative thoughts, ACT holds that pain and discomfort are a part and a fact of life.

2. Can CBT cure insomnia?

CBT-I is the CBT therapy for insomnia and is an effective treatment for chronic sleep problems and is usually recommended as treatment.


More Posts

Why we Procrastinate?

Why we Procrastinate? Procrastination affects all of us at some point of time in our lives. But when it turns into a more chronic nature, it starts hindering our capabilities and keeps us from being the best version of ourselves. It limits our ability to be our most productive selves

What You May Not Know About Procrastination

Table of Contents While everyone puts off some types of tasks once in a while, certain people are also known as “habitual procrastinators,” who comprise 20-25% of the population, do so chronically and on almost all the tasks that they are responsible for. They may have a long shopping list

What is self sabotage? Causes, symptoms and therapy

Almost all of us have encountered situations where we are tirelessly working towards a meaningful goal but end up failing spectacularly because of something stupid. This often happens due to the excess stress, anxiety and fear of failure that you encounter while completing that task. The extra pressure that builds

Music Therapy: An Orator To The Brain

“To me, music therapy is performing without self-consciousness. It’s more about empathising than it is about entertainment. You can start to solve an issue if you can utilize music to block out the suffering and get an understanding of how another person thinks.”                                                                                                                          Jodi Lynn Music therapy is the clinical

What is Hypnotherapy and how efficient it is ?

Table of Contents What is Hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy, also known as guided hypnosis, involves using relaxation and concentrated attention to achieve a higher level of consciousness or mindfulness. In other terms, it induces a “trance” or altered state of consciousness in the individual. Hypnotherapy works by establishing a hypnotic state characterised

Grief Counseling: What is it and how effective is it?

We live in a society where death is somewhat considered to be a taboo. Many people don’t know what to do or to say when someone they know has experienced a loss. Grief is a reaction to any form of loss. It is not only limited to feelings of sadness,

What is expressive arts therapy and how does it benefits you?

Expressive Arts Therapy (EXAT) is based on the philosophy of the Greek word called poeisis, meaning-making or shaping. Human beings often face problems in their day-to-day life because they do not come into an environment to which they are pre-adapted; rather they shape the world around them to fit their

Overcoming Envy| Psychology of Envy and how to conquer it

“I was one of the many people who tuned into the Golden Globe awards ceremony the other day. I am embarrassed to admit that I did feel some pangs of envy as I watched the glamorous celebrities pose for the cameras on their walk down the red carpet. I will

Corporate Wellness – What is it and Why Is It Important?

Corporate wellness programs are constructed to improve employees’ physical and mental health, at its root they are employer-designed plans. The plans may have various events like fitness programs, wellness programs and health coaching. Why are these plans designed? While each program’s aim is to achieve the above two goals, programs

What is a Toxic Relationship? 17 Signs You Should Know

Every Relationship has its own set of ups and downs. But even with their flaws, healthy relationships work better— you feel good as an individual and confront problems with your partner as they arise. A healthy relationship takes you to a better mental space where you feel safe, respected, and

The Root Cause of Anger

Anger is a complex emotion. It is an adaptive response that can help with our survival and can be a way of protecting our boundaries and showing others that any kind of injury to our own sense of worth will be challenged. It could also be a gateway to another

The roots of loneliness​

The roots of loneliness We also stay in touch with our loved ones who are away from us through calls and texts. We start to feel lonely, only when we wish to connect with people but find it difficult to connect or relate to others in an authentic, meaningful, and

The Subtle Art of Letting Go

The process of “Holding On”, or the active principle, has been taught us since childhood. We are told to try harder and work more to achieve our goals. School, workplace, and even economic systems drive into us the value of “holding on”. For many of us, “Holding on” may have

10 Tips on How to Develop Positive Thinking in Life

“Have faith in yourself. You are braver, more skilled than you realize, and more capable than you believe.” Roy T. Bennett What does it mean to think positively? You might think it means looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, dismissing or glossing over the negative aspects of life. On

Trauma and Poor Health

Addressing past trauma can be the most significant contributor to healthier relationships, better self-esteem, prospects of success, and physical and emotional health. Many of us have had imperfect childhoods, being subjected to varying degrees of trauma early into our lives at an age where we deserved to feel safe and

Types of Addiction and How Can Counselling Help Addicts?

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that disturbs the brain of a person. When a person is doing things that are harmful and they are unable to control those certain habits it’s an addiction. Some examples of a habit that may turn into addiction are smoking, alcohol, and gambling addiction.

Understanding Autoimmune Disease

A significant pattern observed over cases of autoimmune diseases is that there is either a high-stress event preceding its onset, like the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a breakup, divorce, miscarriage etc., or there is an unhealthy pattern of chronic stress or trauma experienced in early

Vishuddhi Chakra: Everything You Need to Know About the Throat Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra or Throat Chakra is the fifth chakra of the system. In Sanskrit ‘Visha’ means poison or impurity and ‘Suddhi’ means pure. Hence this chakra is associated with the purification of the mind and body. It is located at the throat region which is why it is also known

15 Potential Signs of a Healthy Relationship

“Let’s not forget it’s you and me vs. the problem. Not you vs me”~ Steve Maraboli Possession of healthy and positive relationships is one of the most important pillars of authentic well-being. We need to feel connected, valued and have a reliable alliance. Modern-day society is experiencing a relationship crisis—family

Sahasrara Chakra: Everything you need to know about Crown Chakra

Sahasrara chakra or the crown chakra is the final chakra located on the top of the head. This chakra is a mysterious yet beautiful centre of energy. It is the most subtle chakra of the chakra system which helps us to evolve and reach the zenith of the spiritual path.

How to Run Meetings for Different Personalities at Work

Table of Contents Introduction Individual variances in common ways of thinking, feeling, and acting are referred to as personalities. Two major topics in this area are the focus of personality research: Understanding how people vary from one another in certain personality traits, like friendliness or irritation, is one. Understanding how

Mooladhara or Root Chakra

Chakra is the psychophysical center within the body and mind structure. Vritti is distortion or alteration of the originally peaceful state of consciousness or state of mind— longings, desires, emotions, or any kind of  movement away from the original silent state of mind. Chakras perform many vital functions within the

Know Your Therapy: Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

REBT is a therapy in which the patients learn to recognise, confront, and swap out self-defeating beliefs with constructive ones that support emotional well-being and goal attainment. REBT is used to help people deal with hardship, overcome it, and accomplish their goals. In REBT, patients and doctors collaborate to address

Waking Up with Raga Therapy

Raga Chikitsa or Raga Therapy is a branch of music therapy that uses Raga, a melodic framework for improvisation akin to melodic practices in the Indian classical music, for holistic healing. Certain Ragas are used for stimulation, while others for relaxation. Ragas usually have a preferred Rasa or a mood

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *