Synopses & Reviews
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a powerful, evidence-based treatment for clients struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and a host of other mental health conditions. It is based in the belief that the road to lasting happiness and well-being begins with accepting our thoughts, rather than trying to change them. However, ACT can present certain roadblocks during treatment. As a mental health professional, you may adopt basic principles of ACT easily, but it generally takes at least two or three years of hard work and ongoing study to become truly fluid in the model. During that time, you will probably find yourself "stuck" at some point, and so will your clients.
In Getting Unstuck in ACT, psychotherapist and bestselling author of ACT Made Simple, Russ Harris, provides solutions for overcoming the most common roadblocks in ACT. In the book, you will learn how to deal with reluctant or unmotivated clients, as well as how to get past certain theoretical aspects of ACT that some clients may find confusing. This book will help clients deal with sticky dilemmas and unsolvable problems, and will help simplify key ACT concepts to help you break down psychological barriers.
Other common problems with ACT that the book addresses are inconsistencies and sending mixed messages, talking and explaining ACT instead of doing it, being too eager to treat a client, being a "Mr. Nice Guy or Ms. Nice Girl," or putting too much focus on one process while neglecting others. The chapters of the book are based in real life scenarios that take place between therapist and client, and the author provides feedback by analyzing mistakes in what was said and where improvements could be made.
As more and more mental health professionals incorporate ACT into their practice, it is increasingly necessary to have a guide that offers them effective solutions to common ACT roadblocks. For that reason, this book is a must-have for any ACT therapist.
Russ Harris has a well-deserved, worldwide reputation for creating clarity where there is confusion, and simplicity where there is unnecessary complexity. When we are 'stuck' in clinical work, reducing confusion and complexity helps us see a pathway forward. There is wisdom on almost every page of this book. I learned a lot reading it and if you do ACT work, you will too. Highly recommended.”
Steven C. Hayes, PhD, cofounder of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) In my experience, therapists and students learning ACT often master the model long before they master application of the model to promote behavior change. Even the most talented therapists can find themselves struggling to apply the ACT model in a way that moves their work forward. In Getting Unstuck in ACT, Russ Harris applies his extensive experience as a therapist and ACT trainer not only to clearly identify a number of difficulties therapists run into when doing ACT, but also to offer specific activities to bring flexibility to these difficult moments. The text includes a number of session excerpts demonstrating both effective and ineffective therapist interventions, along with specific steps to take in different kinds of stuck moments. It will be invaluable to ACT therapists looking to do more meaningful work, even at the most difficult points in therapy.”
Emily K. Sandoz, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Once again, Russ Harris has delivered a perfect book on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Crystal-clear and friendly, Getting Unstuck in ACT
is a survival guide for the fumbles, stuckness, and fear that we all experience in the therapy room. This book is the Swiss Army Knife that will sit front and center in my ACT library.”
Shawn T. Smith, PsyD, author of The Users Guide to the Human Mind
Russ Harris has done it againwritten another practical and easy-to-follow book that should be a welcome addition to the library of any acceptance and commitment therapist, from the novice to the most seasoned veteran. This step-by-step troubleshooting guide is the next best thing to a tow truck to get you and your clients out of therapeutic ditch we all too often find ourselves stuck in. Think of it as ACT roadside assistance. If you havent needed it yet, take it from one who hasyou will. Buy this book and keep it in your glove compartment.”
Robert Zettle, PhD, author of ACT for Depression
Russ Harriss trademark humor shines throughout Getting Unstuck in ACT
. This text is ideal for ACT clinicians grappling with the hellacious aspects of putting the ACT model into practice. Harris has an uncanny ability to make the complex simple. Getting Unstuck in ACT
will leave the stuck clinician with the aha moment they are looking for. An excellent contribution from one of the most creative and influential authors in the ACT field.”
Louise McHugh, PhD, lecturer in the school of psychology, University College Dublin, and author of The Self and Perspective Taking
Getting Unstuck in ACT
is a clearly written, thorough, and timely contribution to the ACT literature. Harris addresses the major ways in which it is possible to struggle with the ACT model, and then highlights easy-to-understand solutions to overcoming these struggles. From a personal perspective, the way in which the basics of behavior analysis have been effortlessly integrated with the ACT model will be of great use to readers. This book should be on the shelf of any person interested in ACT.”
Nic Hooper, PhD, visiting lecturer at the University of Newport, Wales
Russ Harris has the unique skill of taking complex ideas and expressing them in a style that is readily accessible to almost everyone. If you've ever felt stuck with a client, felt like you were going off track, or struggled to motivate people, this book will help. Russ Harris steps through how we get stuck with our own expectations, feelings, and struggles, helping readers to see how these concerns can influence their work. . . . He walks readers through the most common pitfalls and struggles they have with clients as they try to move from struggling with life to living vitally. Getting Unstuck in ACT
is the perfect companion to ACT Made Simple
and an essential resource to professionals using ACT in therapy or training.”
Louise Hayes, PhD, author of Get out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens
Harris does a wonderful job directly tying together the six components of the ACT model in straightforward and clear language. Throughout the book, Harris uses examples of session content to model stuck and unstuck responses to ACT processes. There are a good number of sample exercises in Parts one and two of the book as well. Further, at the end of each chapter, there are helpful experiments to practice skills. As someone who frequently supervises student clinicians, I see this book as a must-have!”
Amy R. Murrell, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of North Texas and coauthor of The Joy of Parenting
Harris expertly clears paths for greater understanding, and illuminates the darker, less understood areas of ACT with sharp, readable clarity. The book is organized to illustrate common therapist sticking-points and then provide steps and strategies to help deal with those obstacles in a very practical manner.”
D.J. Moran, PhD, BCBA-D, MidAmerican Psychological Institute, author of ACT in Practice
“Warm, engaging, and infinitely valuable, Dr. Harris has written the ideal book for couples who are seeking to strengthen their relationships and grow intimacy. Harris’s ACT with Love takes acceptance and commitment therapy into the realm of couplehood in a kind, thoughtful, and realistic way. Share it with couples everywhere and use it in your own relationship. I plan to!”
—Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D., author of The Mindful Couple
“Not since Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving has there been such a powerful, practical, and inspiring book written about love and relationships. Russ Harris really is a genius with words as well as an expert ACT clinician. With these qualities he succeeds in weaving together a path to successful relationships. Don't miss this book!”
—JoAnne Dahl, Ph.D., associate psychology professor at the University of Uppsala in Sweden
“Reading and following this book may well be the most precious gift you ever give not only to your partner, but also to yourself. I highly recommended it to those who wish to revitalize a floundering relationship as well as those who want to make a good relationship even better.”
—Robert D. Zettle, Ph.D., associate psychology professor at Wichita State University and author of ACT for Depression
“If you want to be the best mate you can be in your relationship, this book will help. If both you and your mate want to have the best relationship you can have, this book will help that, too!”
—Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP
“Deeply moving and easy to understand, The Reality Slap is a book that takes us to the heart of being human to really help us change from the inside. Russ Harris has given us a truly compassionate gift that explains how we can enlighten ourselves on our journey through life’s storms and calms. I had so many insightful moments that reading this book was a delight.”
—Paul Gilbert, PhD, author of The Compassionate Mind
“Sooner or later, reality is going to slap you. Loss, disease, betrayal or other misfortunes will arrive unexpectedly and shake your very foundation. At that moment, this wise book is one to keep within reach. It will do more than soothe you—it will ground you, guide you, and help you grow. Taking the time to treat yourself with kindness and awareness doesn’t remove the pain, but it dignifies it and turns it into a profound teacher. This book will help you learn the lessons that pain can teach. You will want this book, not just for you, but also for those you love, knowing that sooner or later, reality is going to slap them, too.”
—Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Foundation Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life
“Deeply personal, profoundly insightful, and above all, highly practical, this book will show you how to deal with “reality slaps”—those painful wake-up calls that we all have when things go wrong. Russ Harris has produced another excellent book about what it means to be truly human, how to deal with life’s difficulties, and how to live a more engaged, meaningful, and pleasurable life.”
—Anthony Grant, PhD, director of the coaching psychology unit at the University of Sydney and author of 8 Steps to Happiness
“No matter what we attempt to do, pain and suffering are inevitably going to creep into our lives, and the capacity to handle this pain is essential for fulfillment. So if you want a short-term boost of happiness with simple, banal ideas that your kindergarten teacher could have told you, go elsewhere. But if you want to create a stable platform of mindfulness, meaning, and purpose in your life, and develop the ability to handle pain effectively, then this is the book to read. It is my great hope that people will find this book and flexibly adopt the ideas within.”
—Todd B. Kashdan, PhD, author of Curious? and Designing Positive Psychology
“Russ Harris is a world-renowned and highly respected trainer of acceptance and commitment therapy, a modern scientific model of human psychology that overlaps to a great extent with aspects of traditional spiritual wisdom. In The Reality Slap, drawing from both scientific findings and his own personal experience, Harris invites us all into a vital conversation on how to handle life’s rough edges. Read it, enjoy it, and you will find some genuine treasures in your life!”
—Niklas Törneke, MD, coauthor of The ABCs of Human Behavior
“Gripping and compassionate—a must-read for anybody going through a difficult life transition, such as divorce, illness, career change, or the death of a loved one. This is a rare work, one that is at once deeply personal and universally applicable.”
—Joseph Ciarrochi, PhD, associate professor at the University of Wollongong and author of Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life
In Getting Unstuck in ACT, psychotherapist and bestselling author of ACT Made Simple, Russ Harris, tackles common ACT obstacles faced by both therapists and their clients that can make them feel "stuck." These obstacles include sending mixed messages on the part of the therapist, a lack of motivation on the clients' part, as well as confusion regarding the theoretical basis of ACT. This book is a must-have for any ACT therapist looking to streamline their therapeutic approach.
In ACT with Love, therapist and medical doctor Russ Harris shows couples how developing psychological flexibility-the ability to be in the present moment with openness, awareness, and focus, and to take effective action in line with one's values-can help them build more compassionate, accepting, loving relationships.
Popular myths about love set us up for a struggle with real life. The inconvenient truth is there's no such thing as a perfect partner, all couples fight, and feelings of love come and go like the weather. But that doesn't mean you can't have a joyful and romantic relationship. Through a simple program based on the revolutionary new mindfulness-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), you can learn to handle painful thoughts and feelings more effectively and engage fully in the process of living and loving together.
With your partner or alone, ACT with Love will teach you how to:
- Let go of conflict, open up, and live fully in the present
- Use mindfulness to increase intimacy, connection, and understanding
- Resolve painful conflicts and reconcile long-standing differences
- Act on your values to build a rich and meaningful relationship
In The Reality Slap, Russ Harris uses engaging real-life stories and simple exercises drawn from the proven principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help readers who have been woken up by the “reality slap”—an unexpected personal crisis that results in hopelessness, confusion, or pain.
The “reality slap” takes many different forms. Sometimes, it’s more like a punch: the death of a loved one, a serious illness, a divorce, the loss of a job, a freak accident, or a shocking betrayal. Sometimes it’s a little gentler. Envy, loneliness, resentment, failure, disappointment, and rejection can sting just as much. But whatever form your reality slap takes, one thing’s for sure—it hurts! And most of us don’t deal with the pain very well.
The Reality Slap offers a four-part path for healing from crises based on acceptance and commitment therapy. In these pages, you will learn how to:
• Find peace in the midst of your pain
• Rediscover calm in the midst of chaos
• Turn difficult emotions into wisdom and compassion
• Find fulfillment, even when you can’t get what you want
• Heal your wounds and emerge stronger than before
Unlike some self-help books that claim you can have everything you ever wanted in life, if you only put your mind to it, this book claims that you can't have everything in life. The hard truth of this world is that we are all going to experience disappointment, frustration, failure, loss, rejection, illness, injury, aging, and death at some point. However, in spite of all this, you can still lead a rich and rewarding life. Let this book be your guide.
About the Author
Russ Harris is a medical practitioner, psychotherapist, and bestselling author of The Happiness Trap, which has now been translated into twenty-two languages. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and he regularly travels all of Australia and internationally to train a wide variety of professionals in this approach. His other books include The Confidence Gap, ACT with Love, ACT Made Simple, and the novel Stand Up Strummer.