In his landmark new book, A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters
(Avery Publishing Group, 2019), Dr. Steven C. Hayes
, the originator and pioneering researcher into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) lays out the psychological flexibility skills that make it one of the most powerful approaches research has yet to offer. These skills have been shown to help even where other approaches have failed. Science shows that they are useful in virtually every area--mental health (anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD); physical health (chronic pain, dealing with diabetes, facing cancer); social processes (relationship issues, prejudice, stigma, domestic violence); and performance (sports, business, diet, exercise).
In this interview, cross-posted from the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock,
Dr. Hayes describes how we struggle because the problem-solving mind tells us to run from what causes us fear and hurt. But we hurt where we care. If we run from a sense of vulnerability, we must also run from what we care about. By learning how to liberate ourselves, we can live with meaning and purpose, along with our pain when there is pain. Dr. Hayes offers flexibility skills to help, including noticing our thoughts with curiosity, opening to our emotions, attending to what is in the present, learning the art of perspective taking, discovering our deepest values, and building habits based around what we deeply want.
Diana Hill, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist practicing in Santa Barbara, California, and a co-host of the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock.