Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Steven C. Hayes

Format: Paperback, 224 pages
ISBN: 9781572244252
Price: $22.95

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Get ready to take a different perspective on your problems and your life - and the way you live it.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a new, scientifically based psychotherapy that takes a fresh look at why we suffer and even what it means to be mentally healthy. What if pain were a normal, unavoidable part of the human condition, but avoiding or trying to control painful experience were the cause of suffering and long-term problems that can devastate your quality of life? The ACT process hinges on this distinction between pain and suffering. As you work through this book, you'll learn to let go of your struggle against pain, assess your values, and then commit to acting in ways that further those values.

ACT is not about fighting your pain; it's about developing a willingness to embrace every experience life has to offer. It's not about resisting your emotions; it's about feeling them completely and yet not turning your choices over to them. ACT offers you a path out of suffering by helping you choose to live your life based on what matters to you most. If you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or problem anger, this book can help-clinical trials suggest that ACT is very effective for a whole range of psychological problems. But this is more than a self-help book for a specific complaint-it is a revolutionary approach to living a richer and more rewarding life.

  • Learn why the very nature of human language can cause suffering
  • Escape the trap of avoidance
  • Foster willingness to accept painful experience
  • Practice mindfulness skills to achieve presence in the moment
  • Discover the things you really value most
  • Commit to living a vital, meaningful life

This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit - an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.


“With kindness, erudition, and humor, the authors of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life educate readers into a new way of thinking about psychological issues in general and life satisfaction in particular. Their combination of cutting-edge research and resonance with ancient, tried-and-true practices makes this one of the most fascinating and illuminating self-help books available. If you’re tired of standard psychological parlance and still frustrated with your quality of life, this book can be a godsend.”
—Martha Beck, columnist for O Magazine and author of Finding Your Own North Star and Expecting Adam

“This manual, firmly based on cutting-edge psychological science and theory, details an innovative and rapidly growing approach that can provide you with the power to transform your very experience of life. Highly recommended for all of us.”
—David H. Barlow, professor of psychology, research professor of psychiatry, and director of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University

“This is the quintessential workbook on acceptance and commitment therapy. Written with wit, clinical wisdom, and compassionate skepticism, it succeeds in showing us that, paradoxically, there is great therapeutic value in going out of our minds. Once released from the struggle with thought, we are free to discover that a life of meaning and value is closer at hand than thought allowed. This book will serve patients, therapists, researchers, and educators looking for an elegant exposition of the nuts and bolts of this exciting approach.”
—Zindel V. Segal, Ph.D., the Morgan Firestone Chair in Psychotherapy and professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Toronto and author of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression

“This book is a user-friendly tool for clinicians who may be looking for adjunct handouts for clients with a wide variety of issues. Exercises found within can help deepen, structure, or guide experiences contacted in session. As a stand-alone self-help book, it brings to light the guiding principles that make ACT such an empowering approach. I highly recommend this book to clinicians and laypeople alike.”
—Sandra Georgescu, Psy.D., assistant professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Table of Contents

ACT: What It Is and How It Can Help You
Suffering: Psychological Quicksand
The Ubiquity of Human Suffering
Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Values
Commitment and Values-Based Living

Human Suffering 
Human Suffering Is Universal
EXERCISE: Your Suffering Inventory
The Problem with Pain
EXERCISE: The Pain is Gone, Now What?
The Problem with Pain: Revisited
Living a Valued Life: An Alternative

Why Language Leads to Suffering with John T. Blackledge
The Nature of Human Language
EXERCISE: Relate Anything to Anything Else
EXERCISE: A Screw, a Toothbrush, and a Lighter
Why Language Creates Suffering
EXERCISE: A Yellow Jeep
EXERCISE: Don’t Think About Your Thought
What You’ve Been Doing
EXERCISE: The Coping Strategies Worksheet
The Problem with Getting Rid of Things—Squared
Experiential Avoidance
The Mind-Train

The Pull of Avoidance with Julieann Pankey and Kathleen M. Palm 
Why We Do What Can’t Work
Accepting the Possibility That Experiential Avoidance Can’t Work So, What Are You Supposed to Do?
EXERCISE: The Blame Game
EXERCISE: Judging Your Own Experience: Examining What Works Moving On
EXERCISE: What Are You Feeling and Thinking Now?

Letting Go with John T. Blackledge and Michael Ritter 
If You’re Not Willing to Have It, You Will
Acceptance and Willingness
EXERCISE: Why Willingness?
Willingness and Distress
EXERCISE: Being Willingly Out of Breath
The "Willingness to Change" Question

The Trouble with Thoughts with Jason Lillis 
Thought Production
EXERCISE: What Are You Thinking Right Now?
Why Thinking Has Such an Impact
EXERCISE: Your Daily Pain Diary
Looking at Your Thoughts Rather Than from Your Thoughts
The Mind-Train
EXERCISE: Watching the Mind-Train

Having a Thought Versus Buying a Thought with John T. Blackledge and Jason Lillis
Cognitive Defusion: Separating Your Thoughts from Their Referents
EXERCISE: Say the Word "Milk" as Fast as You Can
EXERCISE: Labeling Your Thoughts
EXERCISE: Floating Leaves on a Moving Stream
EXERCISE: Describing Thoughts and Feelings
EXERCISE: Exploring the Difference Between Descriptions and Evaluations
Creating Your Own Cognitive Defusion Techniques

If I’m Not My Thoughts, Then Who Am I?
Considering Your Self-Conceptualizations
The Three Senses of Self
EXERCISE: Retelling Your Own Story
Being the Observing Self
EXERCISE: Experientially, I’m Not That
Getting Started
EXERCISE: Tracking Your Thoughts in Time
Taking the Next Step

Daily Practice
The Practice
EXERCISE: Be Where You Are
EXERCISE: Silent Walking
EXERCISE: Cubbyholing
EXERCISE: Eating Raisins
EXERCISE: Drinking Tea
EXERCISE: Eating Mindfully
EXERCISE: Listening to Classical Music
EXERCISE: Be Mindful of Your Feet While You Read This
EXERCISE: Just Sitting
Mindfulness in Context

What Willingness Is and Is Not with Michael Ritter and John T. Blackledge 
What Needs to Be Accepted?
EXERCISE: What Needs to Be Accepted
The Goal of Willingness

Willingness: Learning How to Jump with Michael Ritter
The Willingness Scale
Taking a Jump
EXERCISE: Willingness Scale Worksheet
Using Your Skills and Learning Some New Ones
EXERCISE: Physicalizing
EXERCISE: Giving Your Target a Form
EXERCISE: The Tin-Can Monster
EXERCISE: Acceptance in Real-Time

What Are Values? 
Values as Chosen Life Directions
What Values Are and Are Not

Choosing Your Values 165 The Masters You Serve
EXERCISE: Attending Your Own Funeral
Taking It a Step Further: Ten Valued Domains
Ranking and Testing Your Values
Committed Action

Committing to Doing It with Jason Lillis and Michael Twohig 177 Taking Bold Steps

EXERCISE: Goals Worksheet
EXERCISE: Making Goals Happen Through Action
EXERCISE: Expected Barriers
Many Maps for Different Journeys
Building Patterns of Effective Action
Whose Life Is It Anyway?

The Choice to Live a Vital Life with David Chantry 

The Values and Data Underlying ACT 

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