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The content provided here, including summaries of psychological research articles, insights, and advice, is based on our interpretation of current psychological literature and practices. It is intended for general informational and educational purposes only.
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Remember, this website is not providing treatment or establishing a therapist-client relationship. It is a resource aimed at sharing knowledge and promoting awareness about psychological research and practices.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is a condition that can significantly impair the quality of life of many individuals.  It has been estimated that about 13% of people will experience this disorder at some time, making it very prevalent and urgently indicating the need for efficacious techniques of intervention. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has traditionally been the “first line” option. Nevertheless, we should also remember that CBT does not help everybody, which brings us to consider alternative treatments, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).


The most recent advances in psychological research have provided us with many insights into the above treatments for social anxiety disorder. These methods are not just academic; they have significant implications for those seeking better ways to manage social anxiety. There are a number of similarities and differences between CBT and ACT. Both therapies aim to change how individuals interact with their internal emotions, thoughts, and the reactions these elicit from their environment. While CBT’s primary targets are the negative cognitions responsible for social anxiety disorder, ACT focuses on abolishing experiential avoidance.


A key study on the effects of CBT and ACT on social anxiety disorder sheds light on why one method may be more effective than the other. Slatick and Haynes demonstrated that both therapeutic strategies significantly decreased the social anxiety's negative cognitive responses and experiential avoidance. However, they did so at various moments throughout the therapy. Specifically, ACT decreased experiential avoidance at an earlier stage, and CBT reduced negative cognitive responses later in the treatment. This study suggests that the activity in therapy is highly reliant on the time and relevance of the intervention. In other words, this implication indicates the approach of individualizing therapy.


The idea that one method will be better for one’s clients can be clarified through this mechanism. Some people may profit most from the scaffolded strategy of CBT, in which individuals’ expressions and cognitions are challenged and changed. Meanwhile, others would be interested in the principles underpinning ACT, specifically acceptance and mindfulness. The study’s outcomes demonstrate that psychotherapies should be individualized based on the client’s needs. Secondly, this study has implications in terms of the importance of early therapy changes, be it in terms of decreasing experiential avoidance or negative cognitive responses.


"This finding could help therapists optimize subsequent treatment approaches, ensuring that patients receive adequate support from the start. For those suffering from social anxiety, there is hope from this study. It not only extends our comprehension of CBT and ACT effectiveness, but the potential for a significant modification in the refinement of your social anxiety management.

Niles, A. N., Burklund, L. J., Arch, J. J., Lieberman, M. D., Saxbe, D., & Craske, M. G. (2014). Cognitive mediators of treatment for social anxiety disorder: Comparing acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Behavior Therapy, 45(5), 664-677.

Navigating Anxiety in Cancer Survivorship: Insights from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

After cancer treatment, survivors often face a challenging emotional landscape, marked by anxiety and the fear of the disease returning. These complex feelings require a caring and personalized therapeutic approach. A recent study led by Joel N. Fishbein, published in Behavior Research and Therapy, sheds light on how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help. This therapy proves effective for survivors dealing with the ongoing challenges after beating cancer, highlighting the critical role of psychological support in their recovery journey.

ACT operates on the principle that resisting negative thoughts and feelings can actually increase psychological distress. This is especially relevant for cancer survivors who may constantly worry about their health and the possibility of cancer returning. ACT promotes accepting these troubling thoughts, which can help reduce anxiety and encourage a meaningful engagement with life, despite ongoing fears.

Fishbein and his team's research demonstrates that ACT helps cancer survivors transform their relationship with their thoughts and emotions concerning their experience with cancer. By adopting acceptance and mindfulness, survivors can manage their fears more effectively, easing the emotional burden of their cancer journey. This method acknowledges their fears without allowing those fears to dominate their lives, helping them build resilience and return to important life activities.

The study points out that ACT is effective in reducing the psychological impact of cancer and the constant fear of its return. It highlights the usefulness of facing and processing emotions directly, rather than avoiding them. Although improvements vary among different aspects of anxiety, the findings indicate a need for further research to enhance the effectiveness of ACT for all dimensions of survivorship anxiety.

These findings suggest that ACT could be a key component of mental health support for cancer survivors, helping them find peace and purpose after treatment. Understanding how ACT helps with unique challenges of survivorship anxiety allows mental health professionals to better customize their care. For those navigating life after cancer, ACT offers a promising path to tranquility and a sense of control.

The work of Fishbein and colleagues not only deepens our understanding of therapeutic options for cancer survivors but also emphasizes the importance of robust support during this sensitive time. As research on ACT and other therapies continues, the goal remains to provide survivors with the tools they need to flourish, promoting a sense of well-being and empowerment that transcends the challenges of cancer.

Fishbein, J. N., Haslbeck, J., & Arch, J. J. (2023). Network intervention analysis of anxiety-related outcomes and processes of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for anxious cancer survivors. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 162, 104266.

Parenting Coordinator and Decision Maker

ACT to Transform Parent-Child Dynamics

Parenting an anxious child can be quite tough. About 20% of children under 12 suffer from anxiety disorders, making it crucial for parents to understand how their actions can affect their child’s anxiety. Traditionally, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been used to help by changing how children think and behave. Yet, it doesn’t work for every child, with 30-40% not seeing improvements, pushing the need to find other effective methods.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) offers a new perspective, focusing on accepting thoughts and feelings rather than fighting them. This could be particularly helpful for parents, helping them avoid worsening their child’s anxiety through their reactions. By following ACT’s principles, parents can foster a more supportive and psychologically healthy environment for their child. A key point of ACT is to reduce parental over-control. While such control comes from a place of love, it might make a child feel doubted in their abilities to face challenges on their own. ACT encourages a balance that supports the child but also lets them tackle their anxieties and grow stronger.

ACT also addresses the issue of parents being overly protective out of fear of discomfort. Through teaching acceptance and mindfulness, it helps parents handle their own discomfort better, which can lead to healthier responses to their child’s anxiety. Crucially, ACT focuses on actions that reflect parents’ core values. It guides them to act based on long-term parenting goals rather than short-term reactions to anxious behaviors. This approach helps create an environment where children can feel secure to explore and learn, even when anxious.

Research supports the effectiveness of ACT in improving how parents and children interact and reducing anxiety symptoms. Combining ACT with CBT might even better meet the needs of anxious children and their families by increasing parents’ psychological flexibility. This doesn’t just reduce childhood anxiety; it also enhances the quality of parent-child relationships. With its introduction into the world of child anxiety treatments, ACT is making significant strides. It brings a deep understanding of the relationship dynamics between parents and their anxious children, providing strategies for acceptance, understanding, and positive change. As more research is conducted, ACT is proving to be an essential tool in transforming family lives by fostering healthier and more resilient relationships.

Raftery-Helmer, J. N., Moore, P. S., Coyne, L., & Palm Reed, K. (2016). Changing problematic parent–child interaction in child anxiety disorders: The promise of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 5(1), 64–69.

ACT in Group Settings: A Comprehensive Overview

The landscape of psychotherapy continually evolves, bringing to light therapies that offer new hope and pathways to healing. Among these, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has attracted attention for its distinctive approach to the treatment of anxiety and depression. A recent meta-analysis, as published in the Journal of Affective Disorders by Michele Gomes Ferreira et al., provides a compelling examination of ACT's effectiveness, particularly in group settings. This analysis, encompassing data from 48 randomized controlled trials with 3,292 participants, offers insights that are not only scientifically intriguing but deeply relevant to individuals navigating the challenges of anxiety and depression.

ACT's core philosophy centers on psychological flexibility - encouraging the acceptance of internal experiences while engaging in actions aligned with one's values. This dual focus on acceptance and commitment has been shown to be particularly effective in a group setting, offering a space for individuals to share experiences, learn from one another and grow together.

The findings of the meta-analysis are promising, indicating a medium to large effect size for anxiety symptoms and a small to medium effect size for depressive symptoms. Such results suggest that group ACT can significantly alleviate the burdens of these common mental health conditions. Particularly noteworthy is ACT's demonstrated efficacy compared to nonactive controls, like waitlist groups, and its competitive edge against active controls, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in treating depressive symptoms. This positions ACT as a potent standalone intervention or as a valuable complement to other therapeutic approaches.

Interestingly, the study also highlights the impact of session quantity on outcomes, suggesting that even short-term ACT interventions can offer substantial benefits. This flexibility is a testament to the adaptability of ACT and its potential for broader application across different settings and populations. Although the meta-analysis paints an optimistic picture of the role of ACT in treating anxiety and depression, it also underscores the need for ongoing research. There is a particular call for more studies in low- and middle-income countries and among older adult populations, as well as for cultural adaptations of ACT to enhance its global effectiveness.

For individuals facing the challenges of anxiety and depression, these findings are more than academic they are a beacon of hope. They suggested that ACT group could be a valuable avenue for healing and growth, offering a structured, yet flexible approach that honors the complexity of human experience. As we move forward, the promise of ACT in group settings is clear, advocating for its broader implementation and further exploration as we seek to understand and ameliorate the profound impact of mental health challenges on people's lives.

Ferreira, M. G., Mariano, L. I., de Rezende, J. V., Caramelli, P., & Kishita, N. (2022). Effects of group Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on anxiety and depressive symptoms in adults: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 309, 297–308.

Navigating Emotional Disturbances

Lately, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen a rise in emotional problems like depression and anxiety across different groups of people. This situation has put a strain on healthcare systems and heightened the need for effective treatments. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which focuses on improving psychological flexibility, stands out as a particularly promising method in this scenario.

ACT teaches people to accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment. It encourages living in the moment, distancing oneself from negative thoughts (a process called defusion), and observing oneself without criticism. The therapy also helps individuals identify their core values and take actions aligned with these values. This approach arms people with the tools to handle stressful situations more effectively.

Research, including 25 systematic reviews and meta-analyses, has strongly supported ACT's ability to lessen depression and anxiety symptoms in various populations. This includes not only adults with mental health issues but also children, people with chronic diseases like cancer or multiple sclerosis, those with hearing problems, and even caregivers of those with mental or physical health challenges. ACT has proven effective regardless of how it’s delivered, whether in one-on-one sessions, group settings, online programs, or through computerized platforms.

The studies show that ACT has a small to moderate impact on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, which is important considering the wide range of conditions and groups studied. The benefits of ACT aren’t just seen in clinical settings; its use in everyday community settings shows its potential to boost mental health resilience, especially during crises like pandemics.

While ACT works about as well as other therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it's crucial to tailor therapy to each person’s needs. The severity of symptoms and personal therapy preferences should help decide the best approach, underlining the need for personalized treatment plans.

ACT is a flexible and effective therapy for tackling depression and anxiety, promoting psychological flexibility as a key aspect of mental health. Its adaptability to different methods and groups highlights its importance in the mental health field. Looking ahead, more research on how ACT can work alongside other therapies will be key to improving treatment outcomes for people with moderate to severe symptoms, offering hope and new strategies for those facing mental health challenges.

Beygi, Z., Tighband Jangali, R., Derakhshan, N., Alidadi, M., Javanbakhsh, F., & Mahboobizadeh, M. (2023). An overview of reviews on the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on depression and anxiety. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 18(2), 248-257.

Overcoming Math Anxiety

Math anxiety is a widespread issue that often goes unnoticed, yet it significantly hampers both academic success and professional growth for many people. A key study by Zettle in 2003 explores this problem by comparing how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Systematic Desensitization help reduce math anxiety among college students. This research provides valuable insights and direction for those affected by this form of anxiety.

ACT focuses on enhancing psychological flexibility and encouraging individuals to accept their thoughts and feelings as they are. On the other hand, Systematic Desensitization combines relaxation techniques with gradual exposure to the things that cause anxiety, such as math problems. Both methods proved effective in alleviating math anxiety, suggesting they could be very beneficial in both educational and professional settings.

The study shows some interesting differences in how these therapies work. While both significantly lessened math anxiety, Systematic Desensitization was slightly more effective at reducing general anxiety traits. This suggests that the way these therapies address anxiety might differ: ACT works by changing how individuals relate to their thoughts and feelings, whereas Systematic Desensitization reduces anxiety more directly through relaxation and gradual exposure.

It’s important to note, however, that while both therapies helped with anxiety, they did not improve mathematical skills. This finding emphasizes that overcoming math anxiety and enhancing math skills are separate challenges. For those struggling with math anxiety, it’s crucial to combine psychological therapy with specific educational strategies aimed at improving math abilities.

This study enriches our understanding of math anxiety and how to treat it. For anyone dealing with math anxiety, these findings offer useful tips on choosing the right therapeutic approach, whether that’s ACT for its focus on acceptance and flexibility or Systematic Desensitization for its stress on relaxation and gradual exposure. The potential to integrate these therapies into educational practices could significantly enhance students' ability to manage their anxiety, thereby improving their academic and career prospects.

As research on math anxiety continues, Zettle's work lays a strong foundation for further studies and helps pave the way for more effective treatments, empowering individuals to tackle this common but tough challenge.

Zettle, R. D. (2003). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) vs. Systematic Desensitization in treatment of mathematics anxiety. The Psychological Record, 53, 197-215.

Enhancing Executive Functions in Children with ADHD Through Physical Activity

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects how children manage tasks, control impulses, and maintain attention. These abilities, known as executive functions, are crucial for daily life. Physical activity (PA) is emerging as a helpful addition to traditional ADHD treatments, showing potential to improve these functions, including inhibition, working memory, attention, and cognitive flexibility.

A systematic review and meta-analysis, which gathered and analyzed data from various studies, has highlighted the beneficial effects of physical activity on children with ADHD. The findings suggest that not only does PA help enhance executive functions, but the type of activity especially those that are mentally demanding, significantly influences how much improvement occurs. Activities that combine physical and mental challenges are particularly effective, although the degree of impact varies among different executive function areas.

Interestingly, the benefits of physical activity are noticeable for all children with ADHD, but those who are not taking medication like methylphenidate might see even more significant improvements in certain aspects of executive functioning. This observation points to a complex relationship between physical exercise, cognitive function, and ADHD medication, suggesting that physical activity can be an essential part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

The review strongly supports including structured physical activity tailored to each child's needs within treatment plans for children with ADHD. It also calls for more research to fine-tune these physical activity interventions, aiming to provide a clearer understanding of how exercise can help children with ADHD tackle cognitive challenges and enhance their overall quality of life.

Welsch, L., Alliott, O., Kelly, P., Fawkner, S., Booth, J., & Niven, A. (2021). The effect of physical activity interventions on executive functions in children with ADHD: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 20(100379).

The Academic Challenges and Study Habits of College Students with ADHD

This in-depth study looks into how college students diagnosed with ADHD fare academically, their study habits, and their use of medication compared to their peers without ADHD. The findings indicate that even though many students with ADHD find stimulant medications helpful for their studies, they still feel they have a harder time planning, completing assignments, and staying focused than their non-ADHD peers.

Interestingly, the study shows that these students generally have lower GPAs in both high school and college and lower ACT scores. They also tend to drop out of more classes than their peers. However, the research suggests that having strong study habits could lessen these academic differences, even without the use of stimulant medications. This point is crucial because it indicates that developing effective study strategies could significantly improve educational outcomes for students with ADHD, reducing the need to rely solely on medication to manage their symptoms. This insight is essential for creating specific interventions that help students with ADHD enhance their study techniques to achieve better academic results.

Advokat, C., Lane, S. M., & Luo, C. (2011). College students with and without ADHD: Comparison of self-report of medication usage, study habits, and academic achievement. Journal of Attention Disorders, 15(8), 656-666.

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