An Exploration of ACT and Self-compassion Theories for Young Women Experiencing High Levels of Self-Criticism

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Lavigna, Sara
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Self-criticism is a transdiagnostic process found across a wide range of mental health disorders. Research has demonstrated its association with conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders, and more, often hindering and influencing treatment outcomes of individuals undergoing therapy. Young women have been identified as a group that frequently exhibits high levels of self-criticism, often influenced by societal and developmental pressures. For the purpose of this capstone project, self-compassion and compassionate theories and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) will be explored as a combined therapeutic approach for young women experiencing high levels of self-criticism. This paper reviews existing literature, investigating each framework individually and combined, presenting findings that highlight the efficaciousness of both therapies for individuals contending with high levels of self-criticism. The final chapter will outline an educational and experiential workshop designed to highlight the connection between mental health and self-criticism for young women. A variety of tools, techniques, and exercises derived from each therapeutic framework at assisting attendees in coping with self-criticism will be presented, with resources and books recommended for additional readings after the workshop. This review may be helpful for mental health professionals and practitioners working with young women contending with high levels of self-criticism, as utilizing a combined approach of self-compassion and compassionate theories and ACT works with cognitions, thoughts, feelings, and self-relating processes, relating to self-criticism.
acceptance and commitment therapy , compassion , self-compassion , self-criticism , women , young and emerging adulthood
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