Acceptance is a central construct in many 21st-century models of psychotherapy and mental health. Although various approaches frame acceptance in slightly different ways, most emphasize being nonjudgmental, nonreactive, and open to the unfolding of inner experiences, such as thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. The acceptance of distressing inner experiences is increasingly recognized as a centrally important emotion regulation strategy and component of behavior change. The following provides a brief history of thought on acceptance, reviews its current conceptualizations and uses in the treatment of mental health problems, and identifies ongoing conceptual debates surrounding the construct as well as future directions for research.

A Brief History of Acceptance

The earliest writings on acceptance stem from ancient Eastern and Western philosophical, spiritual, and religious traditions. During the third-century BCE, ...

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