Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change / Edition 1

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change / Edition 1

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Guilford Publications, Inc.


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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change / Edition 1

Most therapists and clients believe that a more vital life can be attained by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings. Yet despite efforts to achieve this goal, many individuals continue to suffer with behavior disorders, adjustment difficulties, and low life satisfaction. This volume presents a unique psychotherapeutic approach that addresses the problem of psychological suffering by altering the very ground on which rational change strategies rest. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses in particular on the ways clients understand and perpetuate their difficulties through language. Providing a comprehensive overview of the approach and detailed guidelines for practice, this book shows how interventions based on metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises can enable clients to break free of language traps, overcome common behavioral problems, and enhance general life satisfaction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572309555
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 07/29/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Steven C. Hayes, PhD, is Nevada Foundation Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 15 books and more than 250 scientific articles, his interests cover basic research, applied research, methodology, and philosophy of science.

Kirk D. Strosahl, PhD, is Research and Training Director for the Mountainview Consulting Group, where he provides consultation and training on integrative primary care medicine, outcomes management in applied delivery systems, clinical management of the suicidal patient, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Kelly G. Wilson, PhD, is Associate Director of the Center for Contextual Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has directed a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant since 1993, examining both Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and 12-Step facilitation treatment of substance abuse.

Read an Excerpt

I. The Problem and the Approach. 1. The Dilemma of Human Suffering. 2. The Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of ACT. 3. The ACT Model of Psychopathology and Human Suffering. II. Clinical Methods. 4. Creative Hopelessness: Challenging the Normal Change Agenda. 5. Control Is the Problem, Not the Solution. 6. Building Acceptance by Defusing Language. 7. Discovering Self, Defusing Self. 8. Valuing. 9. Willingness and Commitment: Putting ACT into Action. III. Using ACT. 10. The Effective ACT Therapeutic Relationship. 11. ACT in Context

Table of Contents

Part I.The Problem and the Approach1
1.The Dilemma of Human Suffering3
The Underlying Assumptions of the Psychological Mainstream4
The Assumption of Destructive Normality8
2.The Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of ACT13
Why the Level of Technique Is Not Adequate13
The Need for Philosophy16
Functional Contextualism18
Relational Frame Theory and Rule Governance: The View of Language Underlying ACT26
Summary: Implications of Functional Contextualism, Rule Governance, and Relational Frame Theory45
3.The ACT Model of Psychopathology and Human Suffering49
The System That Traps People51
The Pervasiveness of Experiential Avoidance58
The Destructive Effects of Experiential Avoidance60
When Experiential Avoidance Can't Work65
How Humans Get Drawn into a Struggle69
ACT: Accept, Choose, Take Action77
ACT as a Contextual Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy79
Concluding Remarks79
A Personal Exercise for Therapists80
Part II.Clinical Methods81
4.Creative Hopelessness: Challenging the Normal Change Agenda87
Theoretical Focus87
Clinical Focus90
Informed Consent90
Drawing Out the System92
Confronting the System: Creative Hopelessness98
Barriers to Giving Up the Unworkable System108
Letting Go of the Struggle as an Alternative109
Therapeutic Do's and Don'ts110
Progress to the Next Phase112
Personal Work for the Clinician112
Clinical Vignette113
AppendixClient Homework114
5.Control Is the Problem, Not the Solution115
Theoretical Focus116
Clinical Focus118
Giving the Struggle a Name: Control Is the Problem119
How Emotional Control Is Learned125
Examine the Apparent Success of Control128
The Alternative to Control: Willingness132
The Cost of Unwillingness136
Therapeutic Do's and Don'ts138
Progress to the Next Stage140
Personal Work for the Clinician: Is Control the Problem?140
Clinical Vignette141
AppendixClient Homework142
6.Building Acceptance by Defusing Language148
Theoretical Focus148
Clinical Focus150
Attacking the Arrogance of Words151
Deliteralizing Language154
Undermining Reasons as Causes163
Disrupting Troublesome Language Practices166
Evaluation versus Description168
Willingness: The Goal of Deliteralization170
Therapeutic Do's and Don'ts174
Progress to the Next Stage175
Personal Exercise for the Clinician: Your Views of Yourself176
Clinical Vignette177
AppendixClient Homework178
7.Discovering Self, Defusing Self180
The Theoretical Focus: Varieties of Self181
Clinical Focus187
Undermining Attachment to the Conceptualized Self188
Building Awareness of the Observing Self189
Experiential Exercises with the Observing Self192
Therapeutic Do's and Don'ts198
Progress to the Next Phase200
Personal Work for the Clinician: Is Your Self Getting in the Way?201
Clinical Vignette202
Theoretical Focus205
Clinical Focus209
Valuing: A Point on the Compass209
Outcome Is the Process through Which Process Becomes the Outcome219
Values Clarification: Setting the Compass Heading221
Assessment of Values, Goals, Actions, and Barriers222
Willingness to Have Barriers and Barriers to Willingness229
Therapeutic Do's and Don'ts230
Progress to the Next Phase232
Personal Work for the Clinician: Taking a Direction232
Clinical Vignette233
9.Willingness and Commitment: Putting ACT into Action235
The Client's Quandary and the Way Out235
Theoretical Focus236
Clinical Focus238
Experiential Qualities of Applied Willingness238
Reconnecting with Values, Goals, and Actions242
Committed Action as a Process243
Committed Action Invites Obstacles244
A Map for the Journey: FEAR and ACT245
Primary Barriers to Committed Action249
ACT as a Behavior Therapy258
Termination and Relapse Prevention258
Therapeutic Do's and Don'ts259
Personal Work for the Clinician: Committed Action261
Clinical Vignette261
AppendixClient Homework263
Part III.Using Act265
10.The Effective ACT Therapeutic Relationship267
Positive Leverage Points in ACT268
Negative Leverage Points in ACT275
The Therapeutic Relationship279
11.ACT in Context281
The Relevance of ACT in the 21st Century283


Practicing psychotherapists; psychotherapy researchers; students of clinical and counseling psychology, psychiatry, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

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