The Heart of ACT: Developing a Flexible, Process-Based, and Client-Centered Practice Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

The Heart of ACT: Developing a Flexible, Process-Based, and Client-Centered Practice Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy


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In The Heart of ACT, renowned acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer Robyn Walser explores ACT as a process-based therapy incorporating interpersonal, intrapersonal, and overarching and ongoing processes, as well as the integration of six core components of psychological flexibility to connect clinicians to the dynamic and relational implementation of ACT.

Engaging clinical scenarios, therapeutic insights, and supervision dialogues are offered to help clinicians move beyond their conceptual understanding of ACT principles to master the nuances of the therapeutic relationship at the heart of ACT. Using the tips and strategies in this professional guide, you’ll develop a flexible, grounded, and client-centered practice.

With this comprehensive resource, you’ll learn to cultivate an organic, process-driven practice, grounded in the heart of the therapeutic relationship and responsive to clients in the moment. The Heart of ACT is designed to mimic the supervision experience by presenting material in thought-provoking chapters grounded in real-life clinical situations and challenges.

In the book, you’ll also find supervision dialogues inspired by Walser's work with her supervisees, Carlton Coulter and Manuela O’Connell. Carlton and Manuela comment and ask questions related to the material in the book and their own ACT learning process. These are then addressed by Walser in a dialogue designed to assist clinicians in connecting to the material. These sections mimic the helpful mentoring process of one-on-one training and supervision, and offer insights into specific therapeutic challenges that can unfold in structured conversation.

As the applications of ACT grow, so does the need for up-to-date professional resources. Unlike many advanced ACT books that focus on procedures and techniques, The Heart of ACT focuses on the heart of the therapeutic relationship, as well as the “soft skills” that are difficult to describe, but which often mark the difference between a merely good clinician and an excellent one. If you’re looking to take your ACT delivery to a new, exciting level, this book is a must-have addition to your professional library.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684030392
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 764,295
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Robyn D. Walser, PhD, is codirector of the Bay Area Trauma Recovery Clinic, staff psychologist at the National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division, and assistant clinical professor in the department of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. As a licensed clinical psychologist, she maintains an international training, consulting, and therapy practice. Walser is developing innovative ways to translate science into practice, with a focus on the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge and treatment interventions.

Foreword writer Steven C. Hayes, PhD, is Nevada Foundation Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. An author of forty-one books and more than 575 scientific articles, he has shown in his research how language and thought leads to human suffering, and has developed acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)—a powerful therapy method that is useful in a wide variety of areas.

Contributing writer Manuela O’Connell, PhD, is an ACT therapist and protégé of Robyn Walser who lives in Buenos Aires.

Contributing writer Carlton Coulter, DClinPsy, is a clinical psychologist and specialist in the field of adult mental health with more than fifteen years’ experience.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword ix

Introduction: The Heart of ACT 1

Part 1 Building Heart Through the ACT Core Processes

Chapter 1 Getting Your ACT Together 13

Chapter 2 Living Life from the Feet Up: Open, Aware, Engaged 33

Chapter 3 Open and Aware: Knowledge of Self in Relation to Other 55

Chapter 4 Engaged: Existence and Purpose 75

Chapter 5 Growing Your Therapeutic Fluency: What You Say and How You Say It 87

Part 2 Building Heart Through Unfolding Experience

Chapter 6 Engagement in Process 115

Chapter 7 Overarching, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal Process in Practice 135

Chapter 8 The Clinician's Experience: A Closer Look at the Intrapersonal Process 149

Chapter 9 The Client and Clinician Experience: Exploring Interpersonal Process Through Challenge 171

Chapter 10 The Stance of the ACT Therapist 195

Epilogue: Owning Your Life; Living with Heart 215

References 221

Index 227


Walser resides in Richmond, CA.

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