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Dr. Steven C. Hayes is the originator of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), identified as part of the “third wave of cognitive behavioral therapy.” He’s a Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, the author of 47 books, including Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life and A Liberated Mind. Ranked in the top 1,000 most cited scholars in the world, Steven has been referred to as “one of the greatest thinkers, psychological theorists, and clinicians alive.”
With close to 1,000 clinical trials showing its efficacy, ACT synthesizes many approaches, including Western psychology and Eastern philosophy. My interest started when reading Russ Harris’ The Happiness Trap, and finding an approach that mirrored my personal journey. Building upon cognitive therapy, ACT includes awareness, mindfulness, the “observer,” and other Buddhist-like techniques. Factor in its emphasis on living a life aligned with values, and you have a system designed to lead to greater fulfillment.
What I most admire about Steven’s work is the practicality of his research, or in his words, “digging down to the processes that empower or entrap” and trying to find the skill sets that are most effective. Our conversation looks at those processes, but also expands to the wider philosophy of the mental health paradigm. What are the issues with how we treat mental illness? And what does an empowered, spiritually-inclusive model look like?
Links to Steven’s work:
- Website: https://stevenchayes.com
- Medium: https://medium.com/@stevenchayes
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/therapy-types/acceptance-and-commitment-therapy
Resources and References:
- A Liberated Mind – Steven C. Hayes.
- Get Out Of Your Mind and Into Your Life — Steven C. Hayes.
- The Myth of Mental Illness & Ideology and Insanity — Thomas Szasz.
- A Beautiful Mind (2001).
- The Happiness Trap — Russ Harris.