Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the experiences of acquired brain injury (ABI) family caregivers who attended an acceptance based group intervention. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative design and interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology were used. Findings – Five key themes were identified: increasing personal awareness; the dialectic of emotional acceptance vs emotional avoidance; integration of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) principles; peer support; and moving forward after the group. It seemed that some individuals found the ACT exercises distressing, whereas others reported benefits. All participants described experiences of acceptance vs avoidant means of coping, and attempts to integrate new approaches into existing belief systems. Originality/value – This study is the first to explore the experiences of ABI caregivers undertaking an ACT group intervention.