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Helping Your Shy and Socially Anxious Client: A Social Fitness Training Protocol Using CBTby Lynne Henderson
Synopses & Reviews
Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT (pronounced as a word rather than letters), is an emerging psychotherapeutic technique first developed into a complete system in the book Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven Hayes, Kirk Strosahl, and Kelly Wilson.
ACT marks what some call a third wave in behavior therapy. To understand what this means, it helps to know that the first wave refers to traditional behavior therapy, which works to replace harmful behaviors with constructive ones through a learning principle called conditioning. Cognitive therapy, the second wave of behavior therapy, seeks to change problem behaviors by changing the thoughts that cause and perpetuate them.
In the third wave, behavior therapists have begun to explore traditionally nonclinical treatment techniques like acceptance, mindfulness, cognitive defusion, dialectics, values, spirituality, and relationship development. These therapies reexamine the causes and diagnoses of psychological problems, the treatment goals of psychotherapy, and even the definition of mental illness itself.
ACT earns its place in the third wave by reevaluating the traditional assumptions and goals of psychotherapy. The theoretical literature on which ACT is based questions our basic understanding of mental illness. It argues that the static condition of even mentally healthy individuals is one of suffering and struggle, so our grounds for calling one behavior 'normal' and another 'disordered' are murky at best. Instead of focusing on diagnosis and symptom etiology as a foundation for treatment-a traditional approach that implies, at least on some level, that there is something 'wrong' with the client-ACT therapists begin treatment by encouraging the client to accept without judgment the circumstances of his or her life as they are. Then therapists guide clients through a process of identifying a set of core values. The focus of therapy thereafter is making short and long term commitments to act in ways that affirm and further this set of values. Generally, the issue of diagnosing and treating a specific mental illness is set aside; in therapy, healing comes as a result of living a value-driven life rather than controlling or eradicating a particular set of symptoms.
Emerging therapies like ACT are absolutely the most current clinical techniques available to therapists. They are quickly becoming the focus of major clinical conferences, publications, and research. More importantly, these therapies represent an exciting advance in the treatment of mental illness and, therefore, a real opportunity to alleviate suffering and improve people's lives.
Not surprisingly, many therapists are eager to include ACT in their practices. ACT is well supported by theoretical publications and clinical research; what it has lacked, until the publication of this book, is a practical guide showing therapists exactly how to put these powerful new techniques to work for their own clients.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders adapts the principles of ACT into practical, step-by-step clinical methods that therapists can easily integrate into their practices. The book focuses on the broad class of anxiety disorders, the most common group of mental illnesses, which includes general anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Written with therapists in mind, this book is easy to navigate, allowing busy professionals to find the information they need when they need it. It includes detailed examples of individual therapy sessions as well as many worksheets and exercises, the very important 'homework' clients do at home to reinforce work they do in the office.
This is the first step-by-step professional book that teaches therapists how to apply and integrate acceptance and mindfulness-based treatment for anxiety disorders in their practice by presenting acceptance and commitment therapy concepts, principles, and techniques.
If recent professional publications and conferences are any indication, acceptance- and mindfulness-based therapies are the future of clinical psychology. A CBT-Practitioner's Guide to ACT helps professionals whose clinical educations focused on traditional, change-based cognitive behavior therapies navigate the practical and theoretical challenges that come with the switch to the more promising, acceptance-based strategies.
Based in compassion-focused therapy (CFT), a therapeutic model that combines attachment theory, neuroscience, and mindfulness, The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence helps readers gain the confidence they need to connect with others and develop skills for reducing shame and self-judgment. Written by Lynne Henderson, who is founder and codirector, with Phillip Zimbardo, of The Shyness Institute, this book offers readers skills and exercises for overcoming problematic shyness and feeling more comfortable around others.
ACT for Depression adapts the research-proven techniques of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) into a powerful set of conceptualization, assessment, and treatment techniques clinicians can use to help clients with depression, the second-most common mental health condition.
Psychological research suggests that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), used alone or in combination with medical therapy, is the most effective treatment for depression. Recent finding, though, suggest that CBT for depression may work through different processes than we had previously suspected. The stated goal of therapeutic work in CBT is the challenging and restructuring of irrational thoughts that can lead to feelings of depression. But the results of recent studies suggest that two other side effects of CBT may actually have a greater impact that thought restructuring on client progress: Distancing and decentering work that helps clients stop identifying with depression and behavior activation, a technique that helps him or her to reengage with naturally pleasurable and rewarding activities. These two components of conventional CBT are central in the treatment approach of the new acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This book develops the techniques of ACT into a session-by-session approach that therapists can use to treat clients suffering from depression.
The research-proven program outlined in ACT for Depression introduces therapists to the ACT model on theoretical and case-conceptual levels. Then it delves into the specifics of structuring interventions for clients with depression using the ACT method of acceptance and values-based behavior change. Written by one of the pioneering researchers into the effectiveness of ACT for the treatment of depression, this book is a much-needed professional resource for the tens of thousand of therapists who are becoming ever more interested in ACT.
Shyness is a universal human emotion, a blend of fear and interest, and is associated with many positive personality traits: a considerate nature, thoughtfulness, and the ability to be a good listener, to name a few. However, withdrawing from others has its drawbacks, and if you're very shy, it's likely that you've experienced some of them: loneliness, depression, and self-blaming thoughts that are much harsher than other people's criticism would ever be. The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence offers a supportive program based in compassion-focused therapy for moving past social anxiety and the self-critical thoughts that propel it.
The program in this book helps you both accept your shyness as part of your personality and challenge your social anxiety when it keeps you from living the life you want. This book also provides dozens of exercises that will help you practice mindfulness, imagery, compassionate thinking, and compassionate action-critical skills that will help you develop the ability to overcome shyness and make strides toward complete social confidence.
This social fitness training program will help you:
About the Author
Lynne Henderson, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, founder of the Social Fitness Center, founder and co-director of the Shyness Institute in Berkeley, CA, director of applied social research at the Heroic Imagination Project, and author of The Compassionate Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence. Find out more about Hendersons work at shyness.com.
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