By Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson
Read or Download Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change (1999) PDF
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Additional info for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change (1999)
The client’s psychological pain is a major ally in ACT (indeed, “Your pain is your greatest ally” is a common ACT phrase), and we return to it for augmenting purposes when the going is particularly tough. As with any contextualistic system, outcome goals are also of key importance. ACT is thus extremely focused on the client’s ultimate values. Values are brought out and clarified for their augmental functions, either formative or motivative. It helps a client to let go of struggle if it can be remembered that the larger purpose is to love, or participate, or share, or contribute to others.
Without statements that have broad applicability, we have no basis for using our knowledge when confronted with a new problem or situation. Descriptions of technique, devoid of underlying theory, have little to say about novel situations. As a result, when new situations present themselves many clinicians simply throw old techniques at new problems just to see what happens. An example is the rather pathetic way certain core techniques, such as relaxation training, are included in almost every package for almost every disorder.
In such a case, goal x can be evaluated in terms of its contribution to the achievement of goal y. In this case, however, goal y cannot be justified or evaluated. Ultimate analytic goals are thus the foundation of contextualism. Such goals must simply be stated and owned—naked and in the wind, so to speak. Many contextualists have erred on this point. They have argued that their goals are the goals, but this is an inherently dogmatic position (see Hayes, 1993, for a discussion and several examples).