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Brighton-based Clinical Psychologist

Dr Sophie Ann Bafunno-Clifton

How acceptance and commitment therapy can transform your life 

In the journey of self-discovery and healing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) emerges as a compassionate and insightful approach, guiding individuals towards a life of fulfilment and meaning. As a psychologist who deeply empathises with the struggles that people face, I’ve witnessed firsthand how ACT can illuminate paths out of the dark tunnels of mental anguish.

The core of ACT: Embracing Your Whole Self

ACT is grounded in the belief that true healing begins with acceptance. Imagine Sarah, a client who came to me feeling trapped in a cycle of anxiety and self-doubt. Like many, she believed that she needed to rid herself of negative thoughts to be happy. ACT, however, introduced her to a different perspective: accepting these thoughts without allowing them to dominate her life.

Understanding ACT: The six core processes

  1. Cognitive Defusion: Learning to detach and observe your thoughts, rather than getting entangled in them.
  2. Acceptance: Making space for difficult emotions and thoughts without the impulse to act on them.
  3. Being Present: Cultivating mindfulness, living in the moment, and appreciating the present.
  4. Self as Context: Realising you are more than your thoughts and feelings; a continuous consciousness that’s constant and unchanging.
  5. Values Clarification: Identifying what truly matters to you, your core values that give your life direction.
  6. Committed Action: Taking steps towards a life that aligns with your values, even when it’s challenging.

The transformation journey

John, another client, struggled with workplace stress. He was constantly battling feelings of inadequacy. Through ACT, John learned to recognise his stressful thoughts as just thoughts, not absolute truths. We worked together to clarify his values, which included personal growth and work-life balance. This clarity empowered John to make choices aligned with these values, like setting boundaries at work and dedicating time to his family and hobbies.

From struggle to success

The beauty of ACT lies in its ability to transform how we relate to our inner world. It’s not about fighting our emotions or thoughts; it’s about changing our relationship with them. For instance, Emma, who was dealing with grief, learned through ACT to sit with her pain, understand it, and slowly start moving towards activities that brought her joy and connection, in line with her values.

Applying ACT in daily life

  • Mindfulness Practices: Simple daily exercises like mindful breathing can help ground you in the present.
  • Values Journal: Keep a journal where you note down actions that align with your values, and how they make you feel.
  • Defusion Techniques: When overwhelmed by negative thoughts, practise stepping back and observing them without judgement.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is not just a therapeutic tool; it’s a journey towards embracing life in all its complexity. It teaches us that our greatest strength lies in acknowledging our vulnerabilities and moving forward with a heart full of acceptance and a mind aligned with our deepest values. As we learn to navigate life’s ups and downs with ACT, we open ourselves to a world of possibilities, growth, and genuine happiness.

How Brain Matters can help you further

If the topics discussed in our articles resonate with you and you’re seeking a deeper understanding or specialised assistance, we are here to assist. We recognise that each person’s journey is distinct, and we’re dedicated to providing bespoke support tailored to your individual needs.

Dr Sophie Ann Clifton

Dr Sophie Ann Clifton

Chartered Clinical Psychologist
ASD assessor, EMDR Therapist

From August 2024, we will be taking on new referrals, and we wlcome you to get in touch and connect with us. Whether you’re looking to enhance your mental wellbeing, navigate relationship dynamics, manage anxiety, or simply seek a space for personal growth, we are ready to support you with expertise and compassion. Discover how our personalised psychological services can contribute to your path of healing and self-discovery. 

Contact Brain Matters Psychology to arrange your session and take the first step towards a more enriching life.