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Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Patty Bach, Ph.D. Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D., BCBA.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Patty Bach, Ph.D. Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D., BCBA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Patty Bach, Ph.D. Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D., BCBA

2 Acknowledgments The ACT/ RFT community was very supportive and helpful as I compiled this presentation

3 The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. -Leo Rosten

4 We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty and fear. So the central question is not how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort. -Pema Chodron

5 Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it –Bruce Lee

6 It’s like you’re surfing… The same wave that can be a source of pain, can be a beautiful flowing grace and source of power. It’s all a matter of how you respond to it. -Trey Anastasio

7 What have I gotten myself into!?

8 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is …built on empirically based principles …aimed to increase psychological flexibility …using a mindfulness-based approach …with behavior change strategies An Intro to the Intro to ACT

9 … built on empirically based principles Severe substance abuse Obsessive-compulsive disorder Depression Workplace stress & creativity Panic disorder Social phobia Smoking Chronic pain Trichotillomania Psychosis

10 …aimed to increase psychological flexibility Psychological flexibility is: contacting the present moment fully as an historical human being, and based on what the situation affords changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

11 …using a mindfulness-based approach Mindfulness is: …much easier learned by experience, but… …it involves: paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally –J–Jon Kabat-Zinn

12 …with behavior change strategies Behavior change strategies include: Applied Behavior Analysis strategies Contingency management Level systems Traditional Behavior Therapy strategies Exposure Social skills training

13 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an empirically based intervention aimed to increase psychological flexibility using a mindfulness-based approach with behavior change strategies


15 Acceptance Actively contacting psychological experiences directly, fully, and without needless defense while behaving effectively Hayes, Wilson, Gifford, Follette, & Strosahl, 1996, p. 1163

16 Defusion Looking at thoughts, rather than from thoughts Seeing thoughts as what they are, not as what they say they are

17 Self as Perspective A sense-of-self that is a consistent perspective from which to observe and accept all changing experiences

18 Committed Action Overt behavior in the service of values Moving forward in your important chosen directions

19 Values Chosen life directions Values give life meaning There is a distinction between a value and a goal

20 Intimate relationships Family relations Social relations Employment Education and training Recreation Spirituality Citizenship Health/physical well-being

21 Contact with the Present Moment Mindfulness practice is based on the premise that only in the experience of the current event can one accurately perceive what is really happening


23 These six core processes are interconnected with mutual and facilitative relationships among them…


25 This then is the overall ACT model

26 Acceptance and Mindfulness Processes You can chunk them into two larger groups

27 Commitment and Behavior Change Processes Thus the name “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” and

28 Psychological Flexibility (1) Given a distinction between you and the stuff you are struggling with and trying to change (2) are you willing to have that stuff, fully and without defense (3) as it is, and not as what it says it is, (4) AND do what takes you in the direction (5) of your chosen values (6) at this time, in this situation? ACT Question If the answer is “yes,” that is what builds...



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