When Problem-Solving Becomes a Problem

Many people come to therapy wanting to know why they have certain problems. They’ve been struggling with this problem for a long time and they want to understand why, because if they could just figure out the cause of the problem, they might be able to solve it. They might say something along the lines of:

Burping the Buddha

My life changed forever on February 11, 2012, the day my daughter Sofia was born. She has taught me and challenged me more in the last five weeks about mindfulness than I ever learned on a cushion with limited distractions. It’s easy to meditate in silence, when you are in control of your own schedule. These days my schedule is her schedule, which is still fairly unpredictable, and it’s rarely silent for very long. If I were to sit now to meditate, I’m almost certain I would fall asleep within seconds.

If You Don't Want It, You've Got It

Several clients over the years have come to me with the task of helping them cope with some emotional problem. It appears that this is a widely held expectation for counseling. It makes sense that people want to rid themselves of the problems they are having, or at least reduce them, because this is how we solve problems in the external world. For example, if it is raining and you don’t like getting wet, you might run for shelter, or stay inside. What many do not understand is that, in the long run, this strategy is ultimately ineffective when it comes to internal experiences.

Abandoning Hope

Suzuki Roshi once said that life is like getting into a boat that you know is eventually going to sink. We are all technically alive, but not necessarily by choice. We didn’t choose to be born and our hearts beat indifferent to our voluntary efforts. Being alive by choice is another story and this is what Suzuki Roshi was talking about. Step one is knowing that this is all going to end, that one day our efforts and all we’ve worked for will fade away, and not just biological death, but each and every moment of our life, which dies and is transformed into a new moment.

Be. Here. Now. Workshop June/July 2012 6-session Awareness Techniques Workshop for Counselors Integrates ACT

Summer is here and so are opportunities for professional development! If you are near New York City this June and July and wish to increase your skills as a counselor, learning new evidence-based therapy techniques, integrate Mindfulness practices into your work with clients with PTSD or histories of trauma, this workshop is for you!

ACT on Your Dreams: Beyond the Vision Board

I am facilitating a new workshop based on ACT for the general public. It is going to be fun and interactive. As the founder of Creating Your Beyond, I want to offer a workshop that will take people beyond the vision board of what they dream about to committed action based on those dreams. It will become a standard offering at Creating Your Beyond, LLC


Healing Hand / Compassion to self

Hi, I am looking for  a script,to use as a guide,  for an exercise I completed in a workshop. The exercise was about compasssion to self and, from memory, related to placing a hand on a part of your body and holding it gently like you would  a crying baby or whimpering puppy. Can anyone help out with this?    Cheers, Cherie

Funksjonell kontekstualisme

Vi starter i kjelleren for å fortsette med metaforen som avsluttet forrige innlegg. Her finner vi grunnmuren huset står på: de filosofiske antagelsene. Det har blitt fremhevet av utviklerne av ACT at å avklare de filosofiske grunnantagelsene er viktig for den totalt helheten av ACT modellen

If You Knew You Would Succeed, You Could Enjoy The Journey

For many years I had this quote on my wall.

'If You Knew You Would Suceed, You Could Enjoy The Journey'

It was a reminder that I have a tendency to waste the current moment worrying about the future.

I would have enjoyed medical school much more, if I had known that I would pass all of my exams ( I did just sneak through pharmacology with a bare pass but that is another story!).

Successful People Often Feel Bad Too

For most of my adult life I have worked in roles where people told me the truth about how they felt. This privilege has meant that I know an important secret. The secret is that most of us have good days and bad days; good weeks and bad weeks, sometimes even good days and bad months. When I worked as a psychiatrist I thought that only my clients and I felt like this. But then I moved into executive coaching and discovered it was also true of people who, on the outside, look very successful.

En kort introduksjon - Aksept og forpliktelsesterapi

Aksept- og forpliktelsesterapi (ACT) er en del av det Stephen Hayes (2004) kaller den kognitiv-atferdmessige (eng: Cognitive behavioral) tradisjonen. Dette er en bred definisjon som blant annet omfavner kognitiv terapi, kognitiv atferdsterapi, tradisjonell atferdsanalyse, klinisk atferdsanalyse. Denne tradisjonen hadde sitt opphav i radikal behaviorismen og oppsto i motsetning til psykoanalyen og ble populær på 1960-tallet.

ACT in the workplace

I am reasonably new to ACT, still skilling up. However, I am looking at doing some group sessions with my work colleagues. The aim is to introduce them to ACT and the benefits of its practice with a view to hopefully increasing their own self awareness and consequently improve communication skills and workplace relationships. Has anyone done this and if so what has been your experience? or does anyone have any suggestions or tips?

I am both excited and a little daunted but determind not to fuse with those unhelpful thoughts.

Aksept og forpliktelsesterapi og relational frame theory på norsk!

I denne bloggen vil jeg ha som mål å formidle aksept og forpliktelsesterapi (ACT) og relational frame theory (RFT) på norsk med hovedfokus på yrkesutøvere med en helse- og sosialfaglig utdanning. Jeg vil også legge ut mine (forsøk) på oversettelser av diverse instrumenter og skjema og vil veldig gjerne ha tilbakemeldinger på både innhold og oversettelser. Hvis noen har kompetanse til å teste validitet/reliabilitet på norsk mottas hjelpen med stor takk.

ACT metaphors vs Milton Erickson hypnotherapy

The more I think and work with ACT and metaphors the more I remember hypnotherapy (Milton Erickson style). I am not aware that this issue has ben adressed so far, but I am german and I do not have access to all things that have been published. Does anybody know ACT literature or articles that discuss this issue?

Stephan Hoyndorf, private practice, Stuttgart, Germany   

ACT and occupational health

Dear ACBS members,

I'm a psychologist from Sweden who recently started working in the occupational health field.

Is there any good resources regarding "burnout" or "exhaustion". I meet a lot of clients with heavy stress and I work with them mostly in individual therapy. Maybe there's someone else who is using the ACT-perspective in this kind of work? Maybe even in Sweden? I'm not looking for resources for ACT at Work (for the moment).

Thanks in advance.


Henric Hagelberg

Room mate wanted


I'm looking for a female who would like to share a room at the Marriott Bethesda North. I have the room from 7/21-7/25 and am a counselor/art therapist from Ohio. Please email me at if interested. Thanks!

Mindfulness and the Agony of de Feet

So in the past year I have taken up running in those Vibram 5-Finger funky toe-shoes. There is a long back story about that which I won’t get into here, but am happy to geek out about if you’re interested. The main problem with these shoes – besides never being able to be taken seriously whilst wearing them – is that when running on the trail there is no cushioning between the stony surface and my flesh and bone soles.

Marching Confidently into the Unknown

Many clients come in to therapy looking to get more self-confidence so that they will then be able to do things they would like to do – get out socially, be more assertive at work, go out on dates, etc. This position is quite reasonable in the sense that it will likely be much easier to do something if you feel that your chances of doing it well, correctly, perfectly, etc are very high, and your chances of messing things up completely and looking like a buffoon are low.

Web based ACT tools.

Contextual Psychology in Latin (Portuguese and Spanish languages)

Sou psicólogo clínico, trabalho no Porto (Portugal) em meio hospitalar (Hospital Pedro Hispano) e ainda sou professor de psicologia clínica na Universidade Catolica Portuguesa (Braga) e pretendo criar grupo de trabalho com o fim de adaptar instrumentos à nossa população clínica, assim como criar debates e discussões em torno do modelo da psicologia contextual/funcional.

Finding Your True North for the New Year: Workshop Jan. 23, 6-8:30

This is a 2 1/2 hour workshop facilitated by Brenda Bomgardner that focuses on values clarification and committed action which are two components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT
• What is it that you truly value?
• Deep in your heart what really matters to you?
Living life is not always about feeling better, but about living better. Fortunately, when you live better you generally feel better.

ACT with survivors of torture and trauma of war

I am interested to find out more about ACT research being pursued with survivors of war and torture, soldiers as well as civilians.

If there are people with clinical experience of working with ACT for this special population I would like to come in contact with you.

Best regards,

Anna Grönberg

Stockholm, Sweden

Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life Audiobook

Just downloaded the newly released "Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life" audiobook from Tantor Audiobook's website and I'm glad to have it as a companion to the workbook. I'm always excited when ACT related products come out that are made for laypeople / amatuer psychologists like me.

Inside the Male Mind: From Worrier to Warrior

Men's Health Magazine

by Paul John Scott

Posted date:  November 18, 2011


Avoiding your fears just gives them more power over you. Learn the five keys to facing them, and tap into a whole new kind of strength
By Paul John Scott, Photographs by Peter Hapak, Posted Date: November 18, 2011

Care with Labels (2) – 'Non' Talent Management?

And so it came to pass that one day, having been considered ‘talent’ for most of my life, and having spent most of my energy on defending this ludicrous position, I eventually became known as ‘non talent’. Anti talent? Whatever, I did not make the talent pool in my next consultancy job, and it hurt.

I only found out there was a talent pool when some whipper snapper – who I had recruited – blurted out that he was on it. And what effect, dear reader, did this label have on my performance? Needless to say, I did not handle it well:

Care with Labels – Lessons for Talent Management

This blog post is from Working with ACT, a blog I co-author with Rachel Collis.

Be careful with labels. That’s what Julian McNally warns in his excellent blog post: “Labels, including diagnostic ones, are only useful to the extent they enable constructive action”.

Finding True North: How to Clarify Values (part 2)

In my previous post I talked about the need to explore values and look for patterns across a number of different tests. That's because I am sceptical that there is a single list of values which covers every context. The best we can do is think from different perspectives about what's really important to us.

Over the years I have taken countless values exercises and tests. Below are some of the best and I've interspersed my results to demonstrate the variability involved - and the risks of doing just one!

Finding True North: How to Clarify Values (part 1)

I wrote this blog post on Working with ACT, a blog I co-author with Rachel Collis.

Rachel wrote previously about how to get clear about values and that post helps explain how values can be tangibly defined. But once you have a clear definition, what then?

I've had huge problems defining my own values in the past and I've tried many, many different ways of doing so. I can bore for Britain about values. So what have I found?

ACT in the Workplace

This blog is from Working with ACT, a blog I co-author with Rachel Collis.

So many leadership courses are based on the idea that to improve performance we must firstly sort our thinking out. So we focus on motivation, confidence, self-belief or ways of controlling or removing anxiety and stress. Sounds logical enough.


There are many great metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. But to the best of my knowledge this is the first Mo-taphor.

I'm growing a moustache as part of the Movember fundraiser for the battle against Prostate Cancer and Depression. Two great causes, and a great way to raise money. I grow a mo and look like a fool, and then people make a mo-nation in exchange for laughing at me and telling me how ridiculous I look. Feel free to laugh and donate here:

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