#57 Dr. Steven Hayes Developed ACT to Help Individuals Balance Acceptance and Change Leading to Emotional Flexibility
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Dr. Steven Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada and the developer of a new approach to human thought called Relational Frame Theory. He has guided ACT’s extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is now practiced by tens of thousands of clinicians all around the world. Dr. Hayes was listed by the Institute of Scientific Information as the 30th “highest impact” psychologist in the world. Dr. Hayes is the author of many seminal books includin Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and my favorite Acceptance & Mindfulness Treatments for Children & Adolescents: A Practioner’s Guide. Whether you are a client or therapist, I encourage you to read his new book A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters.
ACT uses mindfulness and acceptance skills to help individuals respond to uncontrollable experiences with behavior that is more consistent with their personal values and goals. A therapy model where clients learn to accept their inner thoughts, emotions and sensations and begin to practice psychological flexibility which is demonstrated by more adaptive behaviors. ACT teaches individuals to deal with their emotional and mental struggles through a balance of acceptance of their problems and encouraging them to move toward more adaptive change. In contrast to most Western psychotherapy which is based on a medical model, ACT does not have symptom reduction as a primary goal. This is based on the belief that the attempt to get rid of symptoms can actually cause a clinical disorder. As soon as individual’s experience is labeled a symptom, they begin to fight against that symptom in order to eradicate it. In ACT therapy, a person would look to have a new relationship with their difficult thoughts and feelings, change their perspective on them as harmless, albeit uncomfortable, transient psychological experiences. It is through this process that clients utilizing an ACT modality actually achieves a reduction in their psychiatric symptoms.
Re-released from Therapy Show Episode 9
Dr. Steven Hayes on Twitter: @StevenCHayes
Disclaimer: The information shared in this podcast is not a substitute for getting help from a mental health professional.