Now fully-revised and updated, this second edition of ACT Made Simple includes new information and chapters on self-compassion, flexible perspective taking, working with trauma, and more.
Why is it so hard to be happy? Why is life so difficult? Why do humans suffer so much? And what can we realistically do about it? No matter how rewarding your job, as a mental health professional, you may sometimes feel helpless in the face of these questions. You are also well aware of the challenges and frustrations that can present during therapy.
If you’re looking for ways to optimize your client sessions, consider joining the many thousands of therapists and life coaches worldwide who are learning acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). With a focus on mindfulness, client values, and a commitment to change, ACT is proven-effective in treating depression, anxiety, stress, addictions, eating disorders, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder (BPD), and myriad other psychological issues. It’s also a revolutionary new way to view the human condition—packed full of exciting new tools, techniques, and strategies for promoting profound behavioral change.
A practical primer, ideal for ACT newcomers and experienced ACT professionals alike, ACT Made Simple offers clear explanations of the six ACT processes and a set of real-world tips and solutions for rapidly and effectively implementing them in your practice. This book gives you everything you need to start using ACT with your clients for impressive results. Inside, you’ll find: scripts, exercises, metaphors, and worksheets to use with your clients; a session-by-session guide to implementing ACT; transcripts from therapy sessions; guidance for creating your own therapeutic techniques and exercises; and practical tips to overcome “therapy roadblocks.”
This book aims to take the complex theory and practice of ACT and make it accessible and enjoyable for therapists and clients.
About the Author
Russ Harris is a medical practitioner, psychotherapist, and bestselling author of The Happiness Trap
, which has now been translated into twenty-two languages.
He is one of the world’s leading authorities on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and he regularly travels all of Australia and internationally to train a wide variety of professionals in this approach.
His other books include The Confidence Gap, ACT with Love, ACT Made Simple
, and the novel Stand Up Strummer.
"When I first wanted to learn about acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), I started with the excellent first edition of this book, and this second edition is even better. The second edition of ACT Made Simple is a perfect introduction to ACT--easy to read, well organized, and filled with examples, strategies, and demonstrations that make the therapy come alive in the mind of the reader. Essential reading for all therapists."
--Russell Kolts, PhD, professor in the department of psychology at Eastern Washington University, and author of CFT Made Simple and The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger--Russell Kolts, PhD,
"Russ Harris has completely reworked the new edition of ACT Made Simple. This book is essential reading for all trainees and qualified practitioners who want to use the wisdom of ACT ideas in their work. The book has cleverly integrated all the latest advances in the field in an accessible and immediately useable format. It has a lot to offer a newcomer to the area of ACT, but also provides an up-to-date account of the cutting-edge technologies in the area, as well as some innovative new ideas. The examples are easy to identify with, and the exercises well timed. An excellent contribution from arguably the most accessible author in the field."
--Louise McHugh, associate professor in the department of psychology at University College Dublin; peer-reviewed ACT trainer; fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science; and coauthor of The Self and Perspective Taking--Louise McHugh
"How do you improve a classic? You distill another ten years of clinical experience and research and write a tour de force. Every page shines with Russ's hallmark humor, compassion, and wonder. Expanded, without being more complicated, the second edition of ACT Made Simple is a vital clinician's resource, and an exciting road map for anyone who wants to live life fully."
--Chris McCurry, PhD, clinical child psychologist, and author of Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance--Chris McCurry, PhD
"Russ Harris, a premier leader in ACT, has updated his watershed book ACT Made Simple with new and vibrant content. His colloquial style makes it a pleasure to read. More importantly, he focuses on fresh content, so that even if you've already read the first edition, this is worth your attention. One of the remarkable new topics in this edition is the way he helps you set up sessions for success with your client. I've supervised hundreds of ACT clinicians, and I reliably recommend Russ's publications, and that will continue to be true for this updated version!"
--DJ Moran, PhD, BCBA-D, Pickslyde consulting; coauthor of ACT in Practice and Committed Action in Practice--DJ Moran, PhD, BCBA-D
"The first edition quickly became an absolute 'must-read' book for anyone learning about ACT. This second edition goes from strength to strength--packed full of innovative techniques, strategies, and in-depth, practical guides. You won't find a more accessible and clearly written manual on how to actually deliver ACT therapy."
--Joe Oliver, PhD, coauthor of ACTivate Your Life--Joe Oliver, PhD
"Simple doesn't mean simplistic. Through his relentless efforts to make ACT more accessible, Russ Harris has over the years also often contributed to make ACT more precise and more effective. This new edition reflects the unique ability of its author to always look for ways to improve the model and integrate new ideas."
--Matthieu Villatte, PhD, assistant professor at Bastyr University, Seattle; and coauthor of Mastering the Clinical Conversation--Matthieu Villatte, PhD
"The first edition of this book was a tremendous success and has helped many, many clinicians all over the world to start using ACT. If anyone thought it could not be done even better, in this second edition, Russ Harris disproves that. The book is simple, practical, theoretically sound, and actually improved. I especially love the introduction of what is called 'the choice point, ' an excellent tool for talking both acceptance and change. A truly innovative way of making functional talk even clearer in ACT."
--Niklas Toerneke, MD, author of Learning RFT and Metaphor in Practice--Niklas Toerneke, MD
"This eagerly anticipated second edition of ACT Made Simple is the perfect introduction, and essential reading for developing and honing your skills as an ACT practitioner. Russ, as ever, is warm and lighthearted, sharing his invaluable knowledge and expertise to skillfully simplify the ins and outs of this effective model for meaningful behavioral change. With fresh, brand-new material, this book is at the cutting edge of how to directly apply ACT in your work with clients. By following the practical guidance offered in these pages, you can be assured that you'll be doing ACT well, in no time at all!"
--Mike Sinclair, chartered psychologist, clinical director of City Psychology Group, and coauthor of Mindfulness for Busy People and The Little ACT Workbook--Mike Sinclair
"For clinicians who are trying to learn the 'how to' of ACT, Russ's humor, clarity, wisdom, and experience makes this one of the most accessible books you will ever read. Weaving the 'choice point' throughout this edition provides structure to the clinical work, and is an effective tool for therapists at every level of experience. Each chapter includes an assortment of scripts, debriefing suggestions, tips, worksheets, and new 'skilling up' exercises to take your learning beyond the pages and into active, experiential practice. If the first edition is already on your bookshelf, don't hesitate to add this to your collection--the fresh new examples and topics make this a worthwhile investment. This book is, quite simply, indispensable for both novice and seasoned ACT clinicians."
--Sheri Turrell, PhD, clinical psychologist working with teens and adults in Toronto, ON, Canada; Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) peer-reviewed ACT trainer; and coauthor of ACT for Adolescents and The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Teen Anxiety--Sheri Turrell, PhD
"The word 'simple' can sometimes be equated to words like 'basic, ' 'unsophisticated, ' or even 'elementary.' Although the second edition of ACT Made Simple can definitely be equated with the words 'easily understood, ' make no mistake about it: this book is a thoughtful, entertaining, and comprehensive introduction to the ACT model."
--Nic Hooper, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of the West of England, and coauthor of The Research Journey of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy--Nic Hooper, PhD