Acceptance and Commitment (ACT)

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What Is Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) Therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT (pronounced like the word “act”) is a type of therapy which blends mindfulness with self-acceptance. It can be a very powerful treatment for depression, anxiety, workplace or social anxieties, and more. It is particularly favorable for clients who are seeking holistic approaches in addition to or in place of medication.

At Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy in New York City you’ll find a team of therapists who will meet you where you are, in a judgment-free, welcoming environment. We know that life can be stressful and difficult to manage sometimes. When anxiety, depression, or negative thoughts are hindering your ability to live the life you desire, we can help. Our goal is to guide clients on a path that will change the way they relate to negative thoughts, difficult emotions, or trauma-related memories so they don’t become overwhelming or dominant.

Everyone experiences negative thoughts and difficult or troubling emotions from time to time. Many people are able to move through and cope with these feelings successfully, which is to say the feelings and emotions do not become all-consuming. Many other people, however, have difficulty understanding and processing negative thoughts or emotions, some of which may be rooted in past trauma.

Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy is a trauma-informed, client-centered practice in New York City. We believe it is possible to find calm in the chaos, to find space in the stress, and to find transformation from trauma.

Our therapists are skilled at providing a new lens through which to examine your past, present and future so that together we can identify, acknowledge and accept negative thoughts and troubling emotions and then commit to making positive, lasting changes. We move at your pace and along the way we provide the professional guidance and support to help you move closer to the life you desire.

Acceptance and commitment therapy can be an especially helpful form of treatment for anyone struggling with anxiety, depression, or negativethoughts. The goal is to minimize and/or diffuse the negative thinking and allow feelings and thoughts to happen without allowing them to dictate choices.

Our therapists at Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy practice acceptance and commitment therapy in a nonjudgmental space where we guide clients on a journey of healing, growth, and change based on their specific objectives and goals with therapy.

The key aspect of acceptance and commitment therapy is mindfulness, or, learning how to stay in the present moment as much as possible.We teach you how to practice mindfulness in a way that allows you to adapt it in your life. Mindfulness, when practiced with self-kindness and self-acceptance, can help mitigate the effects of anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming tuned into the feelings, emotions, and sensations occurring in the mind or body. It is being laser-focused on what’s happening and what your body and mind are experiencing right now, in this moment. Some people incorporate mindfulness into a yoga or meditation practice as a way to quiet mental chatter and focus on the breath and the movements of the body. Our highly trained team of therapists can guide you in how to become more mindful as part of acceptance and commitment therapy.

When led by one of our trained therapists, acceptance and commitment therapy encourages the acceptance of emotions, thoughts, and feelings as they come up. It encourages the observance and acknowledgement of what you’re feeling. And, with the help of a therapist, this therapy invites you to identify what your next steps will be in order to fully process and work through what has been felt and experienced.

Imagine your thoughts as waves coming into the shore. You can see the wave from a distance, watch it move closer to shore, then crest and break, eventually dissolving into the ocean and washing up on the sand. No sooner does that wave seem to disappear when another wave comes into view. And so on and so on. This can be an analogy to how our thoughts and emotions — both positive and negative — flow through our mind. They are a continual flow. And, depending on our awareness and acceptance of these thoughts and emotions, we can either find ourselves in a circular, repetitive pattern of reliving negative thoughts and feelings. Or, we can observe them as a neutral third party, process them, and decide on a course of action.

When we observe these thoughts and emotions mindfully, as if they were waves coming to shore, we can allow them to flow freely, naturally. And we can allow them to just be. Then, with the help of one our therapists at Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy, we can work together to process the thoughts and emotions and feelings that may have come up during therapy.

When we let negative feelings or thoughts take over, they can sometimes spiral out of control. This ruminating and obsessing is unproductive and can be frustrating. You may feel like you’re going in circles.

The objective with acceptance and commitment therapy isn’t to completely eliminate negative thoughts or difficult emotions. Why? Because we aren’t working within an either/or mindset where we try to extinguish those thoughts in order to move past them. (Either I have these thoughts/feelings/emotions or I don’t).

Rather, the goal is to achieve more of a “Both/And” mindset. Both/and, meaning — we recognize that when negative emotions or negative thoughts occur, we have the ability to pause first. And, in the pausing, we allow space to mindfully acknowledge the emotions, negative thoughts, and/or trauma-related thoughts and behaviors.

One of our therapists from Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy will employ acceptance and commitment therapy in order to gain a better understanding and acceptance of these feelings and thoughts. Ultimately, our therapists will guide you in diffusing the negative thinking and empower you to make a choice as to how to handle these emotions or negative thoughts.

This “both/and” mindset doesn’t get rid of the negative thoughts or emotions. It allows them to be seen and it also gives you the freedom to make choices based on your values.

When we experience trauma or pain, many of us rely on behaviors that help us cope, but are harmful for our wellness in the long run. ACT involves identifying our values, noticing where we are stuck in behaviors which are not values-congruent, and exploring how to get unstuck from those behaviors. ACT also involves finding areas where we can increase values-congruent behaviors.

Our therapists at Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy in New York City are trauma-informed and transformation-minded. We have your healing and wellbeing as our highest priority. And, through the use of acceptance and commitment therapy, we will make you feel supported, seen, and understood as we guide you toward finding calm in the chaos and transformation from trauma.


During this unprecedented time, you may be experiencing increasing feelings of uncertainty, loss, anxiety, fear, grief or rage. We are all experiencing a different reality and it can and will affect everyone very differently.

Whether you’re performing an essential job that requires long hours and potential risk to your health, or you’re navigating school re-opening, returning to work or continuing to work from home and practicing social distancing, please know that you are not alone.

We are pleased to offer the same level of compassionate care through the convenience and confidentiality of TeleTherapy services, accessible on your computer, tablet, or phone. We are welcoming fully vaccinated clients to return to the office for in-person sessions on a case by case basis.

Please stay safe and know that we are with you.

Have Questions?

Payment can be cash, check or credit card. (Please note: there is a surcharge of $2.50 per invoice.) Payment is expected at the time of each session. We are an out-of-network provider with all insurance companies. On a monthly basis we will be happy to provide receipts and/or completed insurance forms for you to submit for out of network reimbursement.
We request that you provide no less than 3 days (72 hours) notification to cancel appointments. We will make every effort to reschedule cancelled sessions within the same week, at no additional fee. If you cancel within the 72 hour period, and we are not able to reschedule within that time frame, you will be responsible for paying the full amount of our session. Note: this cannot be submitted to insurance for reimbursement.

Free Phone Consultation

We offer a free phone consultation prior to making an in-person appointment. Schedule online or call us today to get started.

Call Us: (347) 983-2233