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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Head of ACT - Philosophy and theory Key Behavioural Principles 2. The 'B' in CBT 3. Learning by Association 4. Learning by Consequence 5. Appetitive and Aversive Control 6. Functional Contextualism 7. A Pragmatic Truth 8. The Function of Behaviour 9. Function Versus Form 10. The Importance of Context 11. Learning through Language and Cognition Relational Frame Theory (RFT) 12. Background to RFT 13. Relational Responding 14. Different Ways of Relating 15. Transformation of Stimulus Functions 16. Coherence 17. Language as a Gift and a Curse 18. The Illusion of Control 19. Experiential Avoidance 20. Cognitive Fusion 21. Rule-Governed Behaviour Key processes in ACT 22. The Targets of ACT 23. Psychological Flexibility 24. Discrimination and Tracking 25. Widening Behavioural Repertoires 26. A Focus on Process 27. The Hexaflex Model 28. Contact with the Present Moment 29. Self-as-Context 30. Acceptance 31. Defusion 32. Values 33. Committed Action 34. The Hands of ACT - Technique and practice Assessment and formulation 35. ACT as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 36. Experiential Learning 37. The Utility of Metaphor 38. Retaining a Process Focus 39. Open, Aware, and Active 40. Focussed Assessment 41. Creative Hopelessness 42. Workability 43. Sharing the ACT Model 44. Maintenance Cycles 45. Towards and Away Moves 46. The ACT Matrix Techniques for moving ACT processes 47. Contact with the Present Moment Techniques 48. Mindfulness with a small 'm' 49. Formal Mindfulness Exercises 50. Self-as-Context Techniques 51. The 'Sky and the Weather' Exercise 52. Perspective Taking 53. Acceptance Techniques 54. The 'Tug of War' Exercise 55. The 'Chinese Finger Traps' Exercise 56. Defusion Techniques 57. "I'm having the thought that..." 58. Physicalizing Exercises 59. Values Techniques 60. The 'Top Ten Moments' Exercise 61. An alternative 'Miracle Question' 62. Committed Action Techniques 63. The 'Values, Goals and Actions' Exercise 64. Exposure and Inhibitory Learning Structuring intervention 65. Structuring a Course of Sessions 66. Structuring a Single Session 67. Using Overarching Metaphors 68. The 'Passengers on the Bus' Exercise 69. The 'Lifeline Steps' Exercise 70. The Heart of ACT - Context, strategy, and process ACT in context 71. Human Suffering is Not a Disease 72. Fundamental Human Requirements 73. Our Clients are Stuck, not Broken 74. The Therapeutic Stance 75. ACT in a Cultural Context 76. ACT and the Medical Model Making decisions in practice 77. Process or Protocol? 78. Using Functional Analysis in Session 79. Functional Analytic Psychotherapy 80. Model, Initiate, Reinforce 81. Promoting Practitioner-Client Co-ordination 82. Doing Over Talking 83. Function Over Form 84. Context Over Content 85. Pragmatism Over Truth 86. Working by Addition 87. Increasing Behaviour Over Reducing Behaviour 88. Values Over Goals 89. Ensuring Values do not Become Rules 90. Targeting metaphors Issues within the therapeutic process 91. When Control and Avoidance Might be Good 92. Self-disclosure 93. Staying Present 94. Awareness of Therapist Fusion 95. Steering Clear of the 'Fix-it' Trap 96. Staying with Difficult Emotions 97. Learning to Love Your Self-doubt 98. Modelling the Model 99. The 'On Track, Off Track' Exercise 100. Maintaining Fidelity to the Model

About the Author

Richard Bennett works as a Clinical Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and runs a private practice, Think Psychology. He also leads a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as part of the Centre for Applied Psychology at The University of Birmingham. Joseph E. Oliver is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and director for Contextual Consulting, a consultancy based in London providing ACT training, coaching, and therapy. He is joint director for the University College London Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Psychosis Post Graduate Diploma, whilst also holding a post within the NHS.


"This book presents, in a clear and concise way, key concepts and techniques that make ACT what it is - a humane and effective way of changing human behaviour to relieve distress and suffering, and to re-orient individuals towards a future they want to have. The book is simple and honest in its aims to present a picture of what ACT looks like, of how it describes itself in its terminology, and of the science it connects most closely with. This combination is hugely workable and simply refreshing. The book grapples with the complexities of clinical problems, but manages to inspire the clinician not to be too daunted by this challenge, by offering a range of helpful, well-described tools that are usable, understandable and creative. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in learning ACT or for clinicians wanting to explore ACT techniques."

- Dr Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, Associate Professor in Behaviour Analysis, Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, and leading researcher in Relational Frame Theory

"In my opinion, this book deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the classic ACT texts. I say this because I haven't read a Contextual Behavioural Science book quite like this, where the depth of the science and practice is covered in such accessible language. It will be the first resource that I recommend to students who are interested in learning about this topic."

- Dr Nic Hooper, Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, co-author of The Research Journey of ACT and co-creator of The Annual Diary for Valued Action.

"This book will be essential reading for all trainee and qualified practitioners who want to use the wisdom of ACT ideas in their work. The book provides an accessible reference to the key theoretical concepts and practical issues for practitioners across all settings, such as individual or group psychotherapy, counselling, coaching, community or organisational interventions. The authors have cleverly kept the three important areas of learning the ACT approach central to the writing, that is, the Head (knowledge of theory and concepts), Hands (practical skills and techniques) and Heart (ways of relating to one's own experiences and the experiences of others). An excellent contribution from innovative authors in the field."

- Dr Louise McHugh, Associate Professor, University College Dublin, and co-editor of The Self and Perspective Taking: Contributions and Applications from Modern Behaviora- l Science.

"A stand-out book: thorough, knowledgeable, clear and practical. It gives just the right balance of the necessary theoretical foundations, practical skills, and guidance on how to use them in context. The newcomer can work through it to learn what they need to do ACT well, rather than simply 'know about' ACT. The veteran can open it at any page and find a new insight, technique, or idea to ponder. To be read cover-to-cover, or dipped into at random, this book is a valuable addition to the shelf of anyone interested in ACT."

- Dr Ray Owen, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Health Psychologist, and Peer Reviewed ACT Trainer, author of "Facing the Storm" and "Living with the Enemy"

"I've read a lot of beginning ACT books ... and I've even written one (after I realized the first one was just too darned complex for many to start with) but in my opinion this is the best. It's simple and yet comprehensive. It rings true on every page - you will never be told a simple, clear thing that will later need to be taken back. Even experienced ACT people will find it a great refresher. I did! I highly recommend that you do what I did - buy it and read it."

- Steven C. Hayes, Originater and co-developer of ACT and RFT

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