ACT differs from CBT in that it does not challenge the thoughts which are distressing; instead it accepts them, as thoughts, and then looks for ways to diffuse their potency. These may include mindfulness, metaphors and language.
ACT revolves around the idea that struggling to rid ourselves of pain and distress often only increases it. In ACT we learn to accept painful feelings and sensations. We realize that they will come and go as part of life, and instead to focus on what it is we really want out of life.
Steven Hayes (2005) in ‘Get Out of Your Mind and into Your Life‘ likens this process to the struggle against quick-sand. If you wriggle and fight against the suck and pull you only go down further. But if you do what is instinctively the opposite: lie on the sand and spread out over it, you might be able to roll clear. So the normal mehtods which we had been using (probably repeatedly) over the years might themselves be part of the problem, and so to go with the problem, lie with the problem may paradoxically free us.