Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach by Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson

By Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson

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Additional resources for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change (1999)

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Thus, it does little good to argue rationally for the limits of tracking: This amounts to the construction of a track about the need not to track. Even if the rule is understood or followed (“Oh, I see, Doctor. I should not be so rational. Hmmm. ”), it is unsuccessful because it strengthens the verbal process that one is trying to weaken. In ACT, excessive tracking is addressed by undermining the literal coherence of language itself, in combination with an increased sensitivity to the workability of various rule-governed responses.

If a person says, “I pretend to be smart because I’m really worthless,” the praise from others will connect the person with his or her assumed worthlessness, the praise will appear to be manipulated, the person will feel as though others are fools, and so on. The end result is likely to be continued feelings of worthlessness, despite the signs of objective success. Overexpansive tracks are those that are applied to situations that can only be contingency shaped. When following overexpansive tracks, a person is likely to behave ineffectively but will not know why.

ACT as a Technology Like all psychotherapy approaches, ACT can be understood at the level of technique as a collection of exercises, metaphors, procedures, and so on. Although ACT is an interesting collection, it is clearly only one of a myriad of therapeutic techniques. Indeed, many or even most of the techniques in ACT have been borrowed from elsewhere—from the human potential movement, Eastern traditions, behavior therapy, mystical traditions, and the like. Unless one is approaching therapy as an aesthetic exercise, eclecticism is the only thing that makes much sense at the level of technique.

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