Acceptance in CBT

Acceptance isn’t emphasized in CBT, but it’s often the best way to respond to unpleasant experiences that we can’t change or control. Acceptance can be a difficult concept to grasp. The videos below, from my Online MBCT Course, help explain acceptance. But if you have trouble understanding the difference between acceptance and resignation, you’re not aloneā€”it’s probably the most asked question on my YouTube channel.


I’m not sure how to try to clarify the difference between acceptance and resignation beyond what’s in these videos. I think part of the confusion is that there are various ways to define acceptance, and in some senses acceptance is very similar to resignation. But unlike resignation, in psychotherapy, acceptance is an acknowledgement and recognition of the current state of affairs, but without giving up.

Perhaps the most well-known use of this type of acceptance is the Serenity Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

The video below elaborates on the nature of acceptance.

Allowing and Letting Be

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them on the YouTube video page.

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