ACT vs CBT: an Exercise in Idiosyncratic Language

  • James J. CollardEmail author


Since the development of acceptance and commitment therapy as a therapy model, there has been much debate about the similarities and differences between it and ‘second wave’ cognitive-behavioural practices (i.e. cognitive therapy, rational emotive behaviour therapy). This article builds on these discussions, discussing the underlying theoretical constructs relevant to the philosophy and practice of ACT and ‘second wave’ CBT models. Ultimately, this results in the conclusion that there are more similarities than differences between the two. Many of the espoused differences between them appear to be due to the implicit versus explicit attentional foci of the different models, and due to the development of idiosyncratic language by the different authors. As a result, it would appear that there is more to be gained by bringing these models together, to solidify the cognitive-behavioural framework and its application to therapy.


Cognitive-behavioural therapy ACT REBT CT 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

James Collard declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology, Counselling, & PsychotherapyCairnmillar InstituteMelbourneAustralia

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