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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the most recently
developed approaches under the CBT umbrella. Stephen Hayes, who
developed ACT in the 1980s, was trained in traditional CBT. On the
surface, ACT would appear to agree with the basic premise of the “it is
what it is” statement from this week’s introduction. This approach is
not only about acceptance, however, but also commitment, which in this
context refers to the commitment to change behavior.

ACT focuses on values and psychological flexibility. It uses
mindfulness to bring clients into the present moment in order to
nonjudgmentally examine thoughts and emotions. Rather than looking at
what happened in the past or might happen in the future, ACT focuses on
the present. After this acceptance, an ACT therapist would attempt to
move clients in the direction of their values through a series of
questions, such as: “What are the things that you really value? What
would you like to see written on your tombstone?” By examining what
clients would like to be different in their lives, they can begin to
change behaviors that do not fit into their value system or worldview.

Steven Hayes believes that social change can come from a person who
is acting from his or her value system, and that in this way, ACT is
related to social change. For this Discussion, you examine the basic
tenets and strategies of ACT and take a position on Hayes’s social
change argument. Can a therapeutic approach based on acceptance of
thoughts—rather than changing them—be a catalyst for behaviors and
actions that lead to social change?

To prepare:

  • Review the Big Think Interview with Steven Hayes media program found in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Consider the basic approaches within ACT and reflect on Hayes’ premise that his approach is related to social change.

With these thoughts in mind:

Write a 1-2 page critique of Hayes’s contention that
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be related to positive
social change. Do you agree or disagree with his opinion, and why? What
tenets of ACT support your position? Be specific and provide examples to
support your argument.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific
references to the Learning Resources. Use proper APA format and

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