Cloud, 2006

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APA Citation: 

Cloud, J. (2006, February 13). Happiness isn't normal. Time, 167(7), 58-67.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Education: Conceptual
Professional Issues in Contextual Behavioral Science
Publication Type: 
ACT, Steve Hayes, Time

[Beginning of article] Before he was an accomplished psychologist, Steven Hayes was a mental patient. His first panic attack came on suddenly, in 1978, as he sat in a psychology-department meeting at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he was an assistant professor. The meeting had turned into one of those icy personal and philosophical debates common on campuses, but when Hayes tried to make a point, he couldn't speak. As everyone turned to him, his mouth could only open and close wordlessly, as though it were a broken toy. His heart raced, and he thought he might be having a heart attack. He was 29. Eventually the attack subsided, but a week later he endured a similar episode in another meeting. Over the next two years, the panic attacks grew more frequent. Overwhelming feelings of anxiety colonized more and more of his life's terrain. By 1980, Hayes could lecture only with great difficulty, and he virtually never rode in an elevator, walked into a movie theater or ate in a restaurant. Because he couldn't teach much, he would often show films in his classes, and his hands would shake so badly that he could barely get the 8-mm film into the projector. As a student, he had earned his way from modest programs at colleges in California and West Virginia to an internship at Brown Medical School with esteemed psychologist David Barlow. Hayes had hoped to be a full professor by his early 30s, but what had been a promising career stalled. Today Hayes, who turned 57 in August, hasn't had a panic attack in a decade, and he is at the top of his field. A past president of the distinguished Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, he has written or co-written some 300 peer-reviewed articles and 27 books. Few psychologists are so well published. His most recent book, which he wrote with the help of author Spencer Smith, carries the grating self-help title "Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life" (New Harbinger Publications; 207 pages). But the book, which has helped thrust Hayes into a bitter debate in psychology, takes two highly unusual turns for a self-help manual: it says at the outset that its advice cannot cure the reader's pain (the first sentence is "People suffer"), and it advises sufferers not to fight negative feelings but to accept them as part of life. Happiness, the book says, is not normal.....

This is the TIME magazine article on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Steve Hayes.