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.
“In a nuanced and creative inversion of traditional approaches to the treatment of anxiety, Eifert and Forsyth offer clients the possibility of relinquishing their struggles with anxiety, by “treating” the struggle as the problem and letting fear play out to an increasingly disinterested audience of one. Acceptance, commitment, and mindfulness are essential to this process, and this book clearly lays the type of experiential learning foundation that allows clients to embody these concepts and, through their actions, develop a new relationship with their fears. This book will certainly become a vital clinical resource for any therapist, student or educator in the field of anxiety disorders.”
—Zindel V. Segal, Ph.D., the Morgan Firestone Chair in Psychotherapy and professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Toronto and author of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression
“Eifert and Forsyth present the complexities and nuances of acceptance and commitment therapy for anxiety disorders in a fascinating and conceptually illuminating style and in a manner that is amply detailed to guide clinical practice. The principles that underlie acceptance and commitment therapy—to relinquish attempts to control internal states and instead focus upon valued life directions and goals—are brought to life with excellent case examples throughout their step-by-step guide for treating anxiety disorders. This book will be an invaluable resource for theoreticians and clinicians, novice and experienced alike.”
—Michelle G. Craske, Ph.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Behavioral Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Origins of Phobias and Anxiety Disorders
“Eifert and Forsyth have done something revolutionary! They have taken the treatment of anxiety disorders far beyond the disease model that CBT has been stuck in by brilliantly examining the core psychological processes that make fear and anxiety disordered and explaining in clear language what all anxiety disorders have in common. Their conceptualization of fear and anxiety demonstrates the cutting edge of clinical research and development within CBT and its development into the so-called third wave behavior therapies. The book contains innovative and user-friendly session-by-session guidelines on how to apply ACT for all the major anxiety disorders. This therapist guide should be on every clinical psychology program’s reading list. It is truly an eye opener and a huge step forward in how we view and treat the suffering associated with anxiety disorders.”
—JoAnne Dahl, Ph.D., professor of clinical psychology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and author of Living Beyond Pain and Pain: A Vital Friend
“Behavior therapy is undergoing extraordinary change. Mindfulness, acceptance, and values-oriented interventions are increasingly being included in interventions for a wide variety of problems in living. Eifert and Forsyth’s new anxiety text is a stunning example of the potential for this new wave of behavior therapies to remain connected to their scientific roots while exploring emerging treatment issues and technologies. This book is a must for the bookshelves of both clinicians and treatment developers.”
—Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi and coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
“This book provides concrete treatment guidelines that are firmly grounded in a new and intriguing approach to emotion regulation: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The authors are well known for their rigorous scientific studies and theoretical contributions to the field of anxiety disorders and behavior analysis. This book further demonstrates that they are highly skilled clinicians and masterful educators who are able to translate complex theories into simple and clearly formulated treatment techniques. The book is a reflection of the current paradigm shift from the studies of behaviors and cognitions to the study of and emotion regulation and, therefore, is a must-read for both the present and next generation of anxiety researchers.”
—Stefan G. Hofmann, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the Center for Stress and Anxiety-Related Disorders at Boston University, and Editor of Cognitive and Behavioral Practice.
“Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders provides a detailed, step-by-step account of how therapists can use ACT to help people who are suffering from these problems. Its comprehensiveness and session-by-session guides will help people who are novices to this approach understand and apply the fundamentals of ACT. Experienced ACT practitioners will also find this an extremely valuable resource, as Eifert and Forsyth have deftly tailored core ACT techniques to target the primary issues of people with anxiety-related problems. In addition, this book provides a considerable amount of new and innovative, out-of-session exercises and materials clients can use to strengthen their commitment to move through their anxiety and lead a vital life that they will value. In all, it’s a one-stop-shop ACT guide for treating anxiety disorders.”
—Frank Bond, BA, P.G.Dip., M.Sc., Ph.D., C.Psychol., ICTLHE, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London
“This is an extremely useful book for professionals as well as educated clients. Focusing on the broad area of anxiety disorders, it does a superb job demonstrating how acceptance and commitment therapy can be applied to specific disorders. Avoiding the artificial constraints of DSM-IV or ICD-10 classifications of mental disorders, it emphasizes the functional similarities of the anxiety disorders and their common treatment strategies while at the same time taking into account some of their unique aspects.”
—Rainer F. Sonntag, MD, psychiatrist and psychotherapist in private practice in Olpe, Germany
“Eifert and Forsyth are interpreters rather than the creators of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). So when they explain its value for the treatment of anxiety, they ground their commitment to this approach in their own extensive clinical and research experience in anxiety disorders, not in uncritical acceptance. Because they really understand the psychology of anxiety, they have produced an authoritative, beautifully written, usable manual for clinicians. Calling it a manual, however, belies its theoretical sophistication and its ability to inspire rather than stipulate. These properties make it particularly useful in diverse cultural and global contexts, where it can easily be molded to the real lives of real clients.”
—Ian M. Evans, Ph.D., professor and head of the School of Psychology at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Royal Society of New Zealand, and author of Nonaversive Behavioral Interventions
The Clinician’s Guide to Exposure Therapies for Anxiety Spectrum Disorders is a much-needed, organized manual that offers therapists a detailed menu of exposure exercises for the treatment of the most common fears and phobias. It includes strategies for increasing clients’ willingness to participate in exposure therapy and incorporates the most effective therapy exercises from cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and other modalities. Therapists can simply look up clients' symptoms to find the most effective exposure therapy treatment exercises for a client's particular anxiety issue.
Exposure therapy has amassed a significant body of research and is widely appreciated as one of the most effective therapeutic treatments for anxiety spectrum disorders. Nevertheless, therapists often neglect to maximize this technique because they struggle with creating specific exposure exercises for clients’ individual fears and phobias and because they are hesitant to suggest exposure exercises to anxious clients who may be resistant to facing their fears.
The Clinician’s Guide to Exposure Therapies for Anxiety Spectrum Disorders offers the solution—a detailed menu of specific exposure strategies for the most common fears and phobias clients experience. This book helps therapists introduce the concept of exposure therapy and integrate it with other evidence-based practices, such as cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. It provides reproducible forms therapists can use to help clients make hierarchies of exposure. Along with exposure strategies, the book features guidance on using exposure therapy in general, including special sections on prolonged exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. A must-have resource for any clinician seeking to effectively treat anxiety disorders in their clients.
As a mental health professional, it can be difficult to help anxious clients face their fears and anxieties. Exposure therapy is widely appreciated as one of the most effective therapeutic treatments for anxiety spectrum disorders; however, it is often underutilized due to problems that present themselves during treatment, such as client unwillingness or hesitancy, or a lack of understanding on the professionals part regarding targeted applications. The Clinician's Guide to Exposure Therapies for Anxiety Spectrum Disorders offers guidance in creating specific exposure exercises for clients individual fears and phobias, as well as tools to help you and your clients overcome common roadblocks that arise during exposure therapy.
In addition, this clinicians guide presents detailed solutions and specific exposure strategies for the most common fears and phobias clients experience. You will learn to implement exposure therapy and integrate it with other evidence-based practices, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The book also includes reproducible worksheets you can use to help clients develop hierarchies of exposure and information about using prolonged exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are looking for a powerful resource for treating anxiety disorders, this is it.
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.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy will teach mental health professionals how to successfully integrate DBT-oriented skills training into the therapy process, including techniques such as distress tolerance, mindfulness-based self-soothing exercises, and emotion regulation. Includes a web link to five slide-show training presentations and a series of useful client worksheets therapists can use to reinforce the work they do in sessions.
More Than a Treatment Strategy-A Whole New Direction in Psychotherapy
More than just a new behavioral treatment approach, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) marks a whole new theoretical orientation to the practice of clinical psychology-a rethinking of the causes, descriptions, and treatments of acute mental disorders. This volume offers a detailed explication of DBT in theory and practice. Designed to teach professionals how to use this method in a private-practice setting to treat a range of disorders, this book includes a clear and concise presentation of:
- DBT and its orientation within the larger context of psychotherapy
- Dialectic conflict and its role in sustaining mental disorders
- The DBT coping skill set: meaning-making, mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and strategic behavior skills
- Practical applications of DBT to a number of acute mental disorders
Includes a weblink to client worksheets and five skills-training slide shows
Dr. Sisemore's book draws on scientifically proven strategies for dealing with childhood anxiety. Each simple activity in this collection helps teach children how to stop worrying, overcome their fears, and enjoy being kids. The activities can be used in counseling sessions or as homework exercises.
We like to think of childhood as a carefree time, but for the many children with anxiety disorders it's anything but. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders in children. It causes intense worry and anxiety that can disrupt emotional, academic, and social development. The good news is that GAD is highly treatable and children can be taught to manage and even overcome it.
Child psychologist Timothy Sisemore specializes in helping anxious children and in I Bet I Won't Fret he gives kids fun and engaging exercises to help them relieve anxiety and worry, change anxiety-inducing self-talk, and communicate their feelings. These activities can be done on their own or as part of a therapy program, and are appropriate for kids between the ages of six and twelve.
About the Author
Georg H. Eifert, PhD, was ranked among the top thirty researchers in behavior analysis and therapy in the 1990s, and has authored over 100 publications on psychological causes and treatments of anxiety and other emotional disorders. He is clinical fellow of the Behavior Therapy and Research Society, a member of numerous national and international psychological associations, and serves on several editorial boards of leading clinical psychology journals. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist. He is coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders and ACT on Life, Not on Anger.John P. Forsyth, PhD, is a scientist, writer, and licensed clinical psychologist in upstate New York. He has traveled the world giving talks and workshops to the public and professionals about the benefits of mindful acceptance, kindness and compassion, and how to live a valued life using a new approach to psychological health and wellness called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He is associate professor of psychology, director of the doctoral training program in clinical psychology, and director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He has published many articles about how excessive struggle with unpleasant thoughts and emotions feeds human suffering, and what mindfulness and acceptance can offer as a solution. He is coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders, ACT on Life, Not on Anger, and The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety. His work has helped foster growing international interest in acceptance and mindfulness approaches in psychology, mental health care, medicine, and society.Steven C. Hayes, PhD, is Nevada Foundation Professor and director of clinical training at the department of psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 38 books and over 540 scientific articles, his career has focused on analysis of the nature of human language and cognition, and its application to the understanding and alleviation of human suffering and promotion of human prosperity. Among other associations, Hayes has been president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. His work has received several awards, including the Impact of Science on Application Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy.