Synopses & Reviews
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is proven effective in the treatment of an array of disorders, including addiction, depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, and more. Evidence shows that mindfulness and acceptance exercises help clients connect with the moment, uncover their true values, and commit to positive change. But did you know that compassion focused exercises can also greatly increase clients psychological flexibility?
More and more, therapists are finding that the act of compassionboth towards oneself and towards otherscan lead to greater emotional and physical well-being, increased distress tolerance, and a broader range of effective responses to stressful situations. One of the best advantages of compassion focused methods is how easily they can be integrated into an ACT approach.
An important addition to any ACT professionals library, The ACT Practitioners Guide to the Science of Compassion explores the emotionally healing benefits of compassion focused practices when applied to traditional acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This book offers case conceptualization, assessments, and direct clinical applications that integrate ACT, functional analytic psychotherapy, and compassion focused therapy to enhance your clinical practice.
This is the first book on the market to provide an in-depth discussion of compassion in the context of ACT and other behavioral sciences. The integrative treatment model in this book provides powerful transdiagnostic tools and processes that will essentially build bridges across therapies. If you are ready for a new, easily integrated range of techniques that can be used for a variety of treatment applications, this guide will prove highly useful. And if you are looking to build on your previous experience with cognitive and behavioral therapies, this book will help to enhance your treatment sessions with clients and increase their psychological flexibility.
“Learning to treat yourself with kindness and compassion is like learning to place your feet firmly on the ground. If you are going to walk out of your struggle with anxiety, you need to regain your psychological footing, and this book will show you how. In a gentle, wise, and step-by-step way, it will help you establish self-compassion as a habit of mind and bring that healing quality to your thoughts and actions. Highly recommended.”
—Steven C. Hayes, PhD, author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life
“Easy to read, grounded in solid research, and filled with useful exercises, this book is a godsend for those who suffer from anxiety.”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Self-Compassion
An elegant synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern science. Packed full of powerful insights and practical tools, this book is an incredibly useful resource not just for acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) practitioners, but for anyone with an interest in compassion. Highly recommended!”
Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap and ACT Made Simple
The ACT Practitioners Guide to the Science of Compassion
by Tirch, Schoendorff, and Silberstein is an excellent integration of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and compassion-focused therapy (CFT). User-friendly and filled with insights and clinical examples, this book will open new possibilities in therapy. Highly recommended.”
Robert Leahy, PhD, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy
This is a truly unique book that examines the points of intersection between acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and other approaches to mindfulness and self-compassion. While having a remarkable level of detail and theoretical sophistication, the book also provides case examples and easy, practical techniques to help therapists integrate compassion practice into their work with clients in a meaningful way.”
Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor in educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, TX, pioneering researcher into the mental health benefits of self-compassion, and author of Self-Compassion
Compassion is a defining aspect of humanity that contributed to the survival of our species. In addition, compassion is one of the common elements of all world religions and at the heart of clinical practice. In this remarkable volume, Tirch, Schoendorff, and Silberstein examine the many aspects of compassion within the context of modern cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Highly accessible, this remarkable book provides clinicians with concrete recommendations to cultivate compassion and implement it into clinical practice. This book is a must-read.”
Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD, professor of psychology at Boston University, MA, and author of An Introduction to Modern CBT: Psychological Solutions to Mental Health Problems
Evolutionary science is providing us with a deeper understanding of the centrality of connection in human well-being. As result, the science of compassion is growing dramatically and compassion is taking a critical place in the study and practice of empirical clinical psychology. Tirch, Schoendorff, and Silberstein provide welcome guidance for clinicians interested in a more explicit focus on compassion in their work.”
Kelly G. Wilson, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi, MS, and coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
This comprehensive compendium on compassion will satisfy practitioners who hunger for theory and conceptual analysis, as well as those who want innovative and step-by-step treatment tools. This book belongs in the library of any clinician who wants to deepen the impact of their therapeutic relationships using not only their intellect, but their heart.”
Mavis Tsai, PhD, coauthor of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy: Creating Intensive and Curative Therapeutic Relationships and senior research scientist and director of the FAP Specialty Clinic in the Psychological Services and Training Center at the University of Washington, WA
Compassion is one ofif not the mostpowerful antidotes to human suffering. More than 2,600 years of collective wisdom and a decade of psychological research teaches us why that is so. But why is compassion so elusive? How do we harness the power of compassion to alleviate forms of human suffering and to promote psychological health? This intriguing, insightful, and immensely practical book offers answers to these and other questions, and will show you how to put compassion into action. Though written with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) practitioners in mind, this book goes into territory that can be readily adapted within any form of mental health practice. I am grateful to the authors for giving us this clinically rich book. It is a gift and a must-read for all mental health professionals.”
John P. Forsyth, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at the University at Albany, NY, and coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders, The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, ACT on Life Not on Anger, and Your Life on Purpose
From my first encounter with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to my romps with functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) and compassion-focused therapy (CFT), I have felt an inherent pulse of compassion in the processes and interventions that are built into these psychotherapeutic approaches. In The ACT Practitioner's Guide to the Science of Compassion,
the authors bring together theory, science, and application in a way that easily guides the clinician to understanding compassion and its place in the contextual behavioral therapies, while also weaving the cloth of engagement and flexibility into deepening the sense of connection to others and what it means to be human. An essential read for all those determined to create a more compassionate world!”
Robyn D. Walser, PhD, associate clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley, CA, and associate director for the National Center for PTSD, Dissemination and Training Division
This is the book Ive waited fora guide that melds acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) processes with the transformative power of compassion. Values, defusion, committed action, self-as-contextevery component of ACT is strengthened as we learn to access and use compassion.”
Matthew McKay, PhD, coauthor of Your Life on Purpose
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has led the way in creating solid science-based treatments. Traditionally, CBT has been an action-oriented treatment, and that action orientation has produced a lot of benefits. More recently, CBT has begun to include more work focused on acceptance, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Dennis Tirch is a master of where CBT has been and of where CBT is going. In this book, you will find a broad contemporary understanding of anxiety and a host of very, very practical ways to come into a more compassionate relationship with anxiety. The book offers a different way of being with anxiety that will have implications in your life that extend well beyond anxiety. You can expect changes in your relationship with anxiety that offer a path to rich and engaged living.”
Kelly G. Wilson, PhD, cofounder of acceptance and commitment therapy, associate professor at the University of Mississippi, and author of Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong
Tirch writes with warmth and wisdom, as if he is speaking directly to you. He shows how compassion, mindfulness, and facing the difficulties of anxiety can bring personal growth. Filled with specific and powerful techniques, readers will find a new path to follow with a brilliant and compassionate guide. I highly recommend this book for all who suffer from anxiety.”
Robert L. Leahy, PhD, director of The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy , clinical professor of psychology at Weill-Cornell University Medical College, and author of The Worry Cure
A superb introduction to a revolutionary new way of dealing with anxiety. The reader is led on a compelling exploration of how the anxious mind works, followed by masterful exercises that tap our innate capacity for comfort and healing self-compassion. Seamlessly integrating important research and extensive clinical experience, the author speaks through the pages with the wise, gentle voice of experience. Go ahead, try it and see what happens!”
Christopher K. Germer, PhD, clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
Writing in an informative, highly engaging manner, Tirch shares his considerable wisdom in both compassion-based practices and behavior therapy. He gives the reader practical and powerful tools for cultivating a sense of self-compassion in the face of anxiety. A genuine pleasure to read.”
Douglas Mennin, associate professor at Hunter College of The City University of New York
The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety is one of the most practical and accessible books for living a meaningful life despite the presence of anxiety, panic, and worry. Expect to feel compelled toward action immediately.”
Todd B. Kashdan, PhD, associate professor of psychology at George Mason University and author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life
The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety is the first book to help readers use self-compassion to move beyond clinical and subclinical anxiety. This approach draws on compassion-focused therapy to help readers become more aware of their anxiety triggers, soothe experiences of fear, and develop greater kindness for themselves and others.
Psychologists and researchers have only recently begun to understand the power of human compassion and its relationship to mental health disorders. What is clear is that building compassion for oneself and for others improves emotion regulation, decreases anxiety, depression, rumination, and perfectionism, and can help people develop more accurate self-concepts. Kindness and self-compassion have also been shown to soothe fear, which is one reason why compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is a natural fit for the treatment of all forms of anxiety. The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety presents a revolutionary approach to anxiety treatment that is rooted in the latest research on mindfulness and compassion therapies. The book introduces the CFT model and explains how readers can alleviate anxiety by becoming more aware of their anxiety and practicing compassionate attention, a new way of focusing on thoughts that is compassionate rather than self-critical. Readers then build on compassionate attention by developing compassionate reasoning skills, compassionate behavior toward themselves and others, and compassionate emotion and feeling. Research studies have shown that practicing kindness and compassion soothes experiences of fear. The detailed and user-friendly techniques for overcoming anxiety presented in this book can be adapted for specific anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or social phobia.
Anxiety is not your fault. There are many factors that contribute to developing a mind that is prone to intense anxiety, and if you have such a mind, there are many things you can do to change the way it works. Research has shown that practicing kindness and compassion soothes experiences of fear, while self-critical thoughts tend to intensify them. If you become frustrated with your anxious reactions or consistently try to talk yourself out of your anxiety, it may be time to try a different approach.
The compassion-focused therapy (CFT) based program in The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety will help you learn to be kinder to yourself while you soothe your anxious impulses. Complete with worksheets, exercises, and meditation practices, this book includes everything you need to learn mindfulness and compassion-focused skills for redirecting your anxious thoughts and allowing yourself to enjoy a more peaceful life. By learning to be a compassionate witness to your own pain, you will also learn to be fully present in the moment, and develop healthier, more fluid ways of responding to lifes struggles. This resourceful guide aims to help you understand the nature of your anxiety, the best ways of dealing with it, and how your mind can help you cope with it.
An important addition to any ACT professionals library, The ACT Practitioners Guide to the Science of Compassion explores the emotionally healing benefits of compassion-based practices when applied to traditional acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This book offers case conceptualization, assessments, and direct clinical applications that integrate ACT, functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP), and the science of compassion to enhance therapists processes. The book also explores how these modalities work in harmony, ultimately making ACT more effective in increasing client psychological flexibility.
About the Author
Dennis Tirch, PhD
, is founder and director of The Center for Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy in New York and the Compassionate Mind Foundation USA. An internationally-known expert on compassion-focused psychology, Tirch is the author of several books, including The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
. Tirch is assistant clinical professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY, and trains psychotherapists throughout the world in applied mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion.
Benjamin Schoendorff, MA, MSc, is a licensed psychologist in Quebec, Canada, and founder of the Contextual Psychology Institute. An acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) pioneer in the French-speaking world, he has authored, coauthored, and coedited several books about ACT and functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP), including The ACT Matrix with coeditor Kevin Polk. A peer-reviewed ACT trainer and certified FAP trainer, Schoendorff gives training workshops across the world. He lives near Montreal in Quebec, Canada, where he works as a researcher at the Montreal Mental Health University Institute.
Laura R. Silberstein, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in New York and New Jersey. Silberstein is the director of The Center for Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy in New York and has advanced training in evidence-based therapies such as compassion-focused therapy (CFT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for adults and adolescents. Silberstein is also a clinical supervisor, CFT trainer, and coauthor of Buddhist Psychology and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Foreword writer Paul Gilbert, PhD, is world-renowned for his work on depression, shame, and self-criticism. He is head of the mental health research unit at the University of Derby in the United Kingdom, founder of compassion-focused therapy (CFT), and author of several books, including The Compassionate Mind and Overcoming Depression.
Foreword writer Steven C. Hayes, PhD, is Nevada Foundation Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Nevada, NV. An author of thirty-four books and more than 470 scientific articles, his research focuses on how language and thought lead to human suffering. Hayes is cofounder of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)a powerful therapy method that is useful in a wide variety of areasand has served as president of several scientific societies. He has received several national awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.