In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), values are defined as deeply held beliefs about what is important and meaningful to a person. They represent the qualities and behaviours that guide a person’s actions and decisions, shaping their sense of purpose and fulfilment. Values are not goals to be achieved or tasks to be completed, but rather ongoing directions for how a person wants to live their life and the person they aspire to be.

Values are fundamental aspects of a person’s identity and sense of self, reflecting what truly matters to them. These values can cover different areas of life, such as relationships, careers, health, personal growth, spirituality, and community involvement. They are unique to each individual and may change over time as circumstances change, and new insights are gained.

In therapy, a psychologist using ACT would help you identify your values through exploration and reflection. This process involves clarifying what is most important to you and aligning your actions and behaviours with these values. You will be encouraged to connect with your values on a deep emotional level, understanding how living in accordance with your values contributes to a sense of fulfilment and well-being.

ACT therapists highlight the significance of leading a life based on one’s values, even when faced with challenging emotions or circumstances. Instead of attempting to get rid of or avoid uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, the focus is on accepting them as a natural part of the human experience while remaining dedicated to taking meaningful action that aligns with personal values. This approach promotes psychological flexibility and resilience, allowing individuals to navigate life’s challenges with a stronger sense of purpose and meaning.

Overall, values in ACT therapy act as a guide, leading clients to a more meaningful and fulfilling life, grounded in authenticity, purpose, and connection to what truly matters most.



  1. The Choice Point: A Map for a Meaningful Life –
  2. Values vs Goals – By Dr. Russ Harris –