Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • Steven C. Hayes
  • Heather Pierson


ACT is a therapy that is based philosophically in clinical behavior analysis. Functional contextualism is the world view that underlies ACT. Theoretically ACT is based on RFT, which offers an account of how language creates pain and useless methods of dealing with it, and which suggests alternative contextual approaches to these domains. ACT uses metaphors, experiential exercises, and logical paradox to get around the literal content of language and to produce more contact with the ongoing flow of experience in the moment. The primary ACT components are challenging the control agenda, cognitive defusion, willingness, self as context, values, and commitment. ACT is part of the CBT tradition, although it has notable differences from traditional CBT. The main purpose of ACT is to relieve human suffering through helping clients live a vital, valued life.


acceptance cognitive defusion values commitment mindfulness contextualism 


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  1. Bach, P., & Hayes, S. C. (2002). The use of acceptance and commitment therapy to prevent the rehospitalization of psychotic patients: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 1129–1139.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Recommended Readings

  1. Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (2001). Relational Frame Theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.Google Scholar
  2. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hayes, S. C., Wilson, K. W., Gifford, E. V., Follette, V. M., & Strosahl, K. (1996). Emotional avoidance and behavioral disorders: A functional dimensional approach to diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 1152–1168.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven C. Hayes
    • 1
  • Heather Pierson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, RenoReno

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