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Woman Hugging Herself

Editor's note: This post is written by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and author of many books including the bestselling Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life. This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

Is it important to love yourself?

ACT Practitioners Guide to Science of Compassion

A Letter from Tirch, Schoendorff & Silberstein

In acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), it is understood that over-identification with literal language can lead to psychological inflexibility, which is often the core of human suffering. To address some of the tricks that language can play on people, therapists may use experiential techniques, including mindfulness, defusion, and self-as-context exercises. But formal experiential exercises aren’t the only way to help clients undermine the negative effects of language.

Language is a tricky, powerful thing. It can play tricks on us and bring about suffering, but it can also be used to our benefit in therapeutic settings. The experiential techniques most commonly used in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are defusion exercises, which often consist of re-contacting the non-arbitrary characteristics of verbal stimuli. For example, repeating a word very quickly for thirty to forty seconds decreases the meaning carried by an originally non-arbitrary sequences of sounds.

Editor's note: The following was adapted from the edited volume, Mindfulness and Acceptance in Social Work, edited by Matthew S. Boone, LCSW.

Book Covers: The ACT Matrix and the Essential Guide to the ACT Matrix

Editor’s Note: This is the second half of a two-part Q&A with the editors of The ACT Matrix: A new Approach to Building Psychological Flexibility Across Settings and Populations

Helping clients and trainees to adopt a functional contextual viewpoint is an important goal of ACT. Can you briefly explain what that means and why it’s so important?

Book Covers: The ACT Matrix and the Essential Guide to the ACT Matrix

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part Q&A with the editors of The ACT Matrix: A new Approach to Building Psychological Flexibility Across Settings and Populations.

Briefly summarize the ACT matrix—it’s purpose and function.

When people enter therapy, they’re stuck, which is another way of saying inflexible. People can get stuck in all sorts of ways. They get stuck because they can’t imagine other options than moving away from unwanted inner stuff. They get stuck because what’s important to them is obscured by their struggle against unwanted inner stuff. They get stuck because they focus exclusively on unwanted inner stuff. They get stuck because they have trouble contacting their five-senses experience and can’t notice how their actions affect other people and their own life.

Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part Q&A with one of the authors of ACT and RFT in Relationships, JoAnne Dahl, PhD. If you missed part one, catch up here.

In the book, you talk about self-as-content being a particularly hazardous perspective for people in romantic relationships. Can you elaborate on that?

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