Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Oakland

The Goal of ACT

The goal of ACT is to work towards a life worth living. This does not mean that life will always be easy or without pain. However, we can learn to be with our pain rather than fighting against it. “ACT” is a fitting abbreviation, because this therapy is about taking action guided by our values; a life that is driven by what matters to you on the deepest levels. Through mindful action we can create a meaningful life in which we are fully present.

ACT teaches a variety of skills to help us change our relationship to the barriers and challenges that stand in the way of a life worth living. It is not so much the difficult thoughts, feelings and emotions that are a problem, but rather how we relate to them that causes problems for us on the inside. ACT focuses on 6 areas of skill, including developing presence, putting things into context, releasing from the hold of difficult thoughts and emotions, acceptance, identifying values, and living out goals. Together, we will identify and develop the skills you need to help take you in the direction of your values!

For more information on ACT, click here.

Here is Where An ACT Therapist in Oakland Can Help


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps individuals with anxiety by teaching them to accept their feelings without judgment, recognize unhelpful thoughts without being controlled by them, and commit to actions that align with their values, reducing the power of anxiety over their lives.


For chronic worriers, ACT offers techniques to observe worrisome thoughts from a distance rather than getting entangled in them. It encourages acceptance of uncertainty and commitment to moving forward in spite of worries, helping individuals engage more fully with their present lives.

Panic Attacks:

ACT assists individuals experiencing panic attacks by encouraging acceptance of the physical sensations of panic without fear or avoidance. It helps them understand these sensations as part of their experience, not threats, thereby reducing the intensity and frequency of attacks over time.

Social Anxiety:

By using ACT, people with social anxiety learn to notice their feelings of fear and self-judgment without being ruled by them. They are encouraged to commit to actions that involve social interaction in line with their values, helping to build confidence and reduce avoidance behaviors.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

In OCD, ACT helps by promoting acceptance of unwanted thoughts and feelings while focusing on engaging in actions consistent with personal values, rather than responding to compulsions. This can help reduce the grip of OCD symptoms by changing the relationship one has with their thoughts.

Anger and Irritability:

ACT helps individuals understand and accept their feelings of anger without acting impulsively. It encourages identifying values that might be at conflict with anger-driven behaviors and choosing actions that are in harmony with those values, leading to a decrease in irritability and aggression.

Building Healthier, Closer Relationships:

ACT facilitates the building of healthier relationships by helping individuals clarify what is genuinely important in their relationships, accept the presence of difficult emotions, and take committed action to enhance intimacy and understanding based on those values.

Emotional Awareness:

ACT aids in increasing emotional awareness and flexibility. It teaches how to observe and describe emotions without immediate reaction, allowing for a more authentic and vulnerable sharing of feelings, enhancing emotional connectivity with oneself and others.

What To Expect From an Oakland ACT Therapy Session

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an action-oriented psychotherapeutic approach rooted in traditional behavior and cognitive behavioral therapy. In ACT sessions, clients engage in an interactive process that combines acceptance and mindfulness strategies with commitment and behavior-change techniques to enhance psychological flexibility.

The therapy revolves around six core processes:

  1. Cognitive Defusion: Teaching methods to reduce literal interpretation of thoughts.
  2.  Acceptance: Allowing thoughts without struggling against them.
  3. Contact with the Present Moment: Being open and receptive to the current experience.
  4. Observing the Self: Cultivating a sense of continuity unaffected by fleeting thoughts and feelings.
  5. Values: Identifying important and meaningful aspects of life.
  6. Committed Action: Setting and pursuing goals aligned with values.

Sessions follow a structured yet flexible approach, tailoring activities to meet individual client needs. Experiential exercises, such as metaphors and mindfulness, foster psychological flexibility. Conversations between the therapist and client explore experiences, difficulties, and the application of ACT principles in daily life. Homework assignments may include mindfulness practices or actions aligned with personal values.

Emphasizing action, ACT encourages clients to make positive life changes despite challenging thoughts and emotions. Sessions provide a safe, supportive environment for exploration, with therapists guiding clients without judgment. The ultimate goal is not to eliminate difficult feelings but to help clients lead a rich and meaningful life while accepting inevitable challenges.

Oakland ACT Therapy That Focuses On Your Values

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps clients get closer to what matters most to them through its core process of developing psychological flexibility. The therapy helps clients identify their values—what is most important to them in life—and uses these values as a compass to guide their actions. This way, ACT moves individuals towards living a life aligned with their values, even in the presence of pain or difficulty. Through committed action, clients make small, manageable steps towards their goals, leading to a richer, more meaningful life that aligns with what they care most about. Thus, ACT bridges the gap between a person’s present state and their valued direction, fostering a life of significance as defined by the individual.

Get ACT Therapy In Oakland or California Virtually

ACT therapy is available in Oakland at our location or virtually to anyone in California. To book a time, feel free to either give us a call or contact us to book your appointment. If you are in Oakland or the Bay Area, visit our contact page to request more information on setting up an in-person appointment. For residents throughout California, we offer the benefit of virtual services.

Onward Leading:
4154 Piedmont Ave #5,
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 543-0323