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ACT for life: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACT for life: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACT FOR LIFE is an audio programme based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is a mindfulness-based approach shown to be effective with a range of clinical conditions. 

The goal of this therapy is to help you create a rich and meaningful life guided by your deepest values and in which you are fully present and engaged.  

ACT is firmly based in the tradition of empirical science, yet has a major emphasis on values, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, living in the present and accessing a sense of self.  It uses a mix of metaphor, paradox and mindfulness skills, along with exercises and values-guided behaviour experiments.

The aim of this programme is to help you develop emotional and psychological skills to support you in:

  • Overcoming procrastination and completing study tasks;
  • Starting and sustaining enjoyable relationships with your peers and friends;
  • Discovering your valued and meaningful life while studying at University;
  • Living a balanced and enjoyable life.



In this session we will show you how language and thought can undermine our ability to respond effectively in important areas of our lives.

Session 1: Language creates conflict and suffering

In this session we show you that, although language and thoughts create obstacles in life, the solution to this problem is not to fix, avoid, replace or get rid of these problematic thoughts, but to pay attention to them in a different way. We will introduce you to an alternative to trying to gain control of your thoughts and feelings.

Session 2: Action and experience versus thought and emotion

In this session, we ask you to learn and practise skills of emotional acceptance. This is in contrast to the usual approaches to difficult or unpleasant emotions which are to simply control, avoid or get rid of them, and it will help you develop skills that enable effective responses in demanding situations.

Session 3: Acceptance and willingness

This session has the smallest amount of discussion material of any of the six chapters. And the reason for that is simple - mindfulness is something to do, rather than something to understand. The exercises in this section give you further opportunities to practice skills to enhance your moment to moment effectiveness.

Jon-Kabat Zinn, author of 'Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness' says: "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." So when you are being mindful you are purposefully and deliberately using your attention, right now, without evaluating anyone or anything. 

In Acceptance and Commitment Training, mindfulness helps you be aware of emotions and thoughts that you normally want to avoid, and it will help you get in touch with and hold onto the values and ideals that are most important to you. Our worksheets are a handy resource to help you through this session.

Session 4:Mindfulness and  being present


More mindfulness audio resources for you
to download and listen to at your pace

In this session we explore the why of what you do; your life purpose.  It helps you identify your values which give your life meaning and vitality and the direction you wish to take your life. Again, there are some accompanying worksheets to guide your progress in this session.

Session 5: Values and direction

In this final session we’re going to ask you to stop listening and take action. The purpose and direction you identify in session 5 will determine the action you need to undertake in order to travel in that direction. In this final session we provide you with practical tools and psychological skills to pursue the appropriate goals and actions for you. You might want to download our worksheet so you can come back to this session in your own time.

Session 6: Committed Action



DISCLAIMERACT FOR LIFE is intended solely as a skill-building educational program, not as a substitute for routine or urgent psychological or psychiatric care, treatment or consultation. Students with psychological or personal problems are urged to seek a consultation with the Exeter University Wellbeing Service, or from their own physician, or from appropriate health care professionals. Suggestions and exercises in this programme should not be construed as professional opinions aimed at establishing a diagnosis or course of treatment. Diagnosis and treatment are complex and require comprehensive face-to-face assessment, often over long periods of time. Individuals under active treatment should not construe information contained in this programme as replacing or superseding recommendations of their counsellors or mental health professionals. Rather, information in this programme may serve as a point of discussion between clients and their individual clinicians. Similarly, clinicians should recognise that suggestions made in this programme, without benefit of direct assessment, are not intended as a replacement for direct consultative recommendations.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTThis programmed is based on 6 ACT Conversations – an audio program developed by the RMIT University Counselling Service, Melbourne, Australia.  We would like to thank RMIT University Counselling Service for their permission to use and adapt their programme for our use at the University of Exeter Wellbeing Service.