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ACT Made Simple: An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy [Paperback]

by Russ Harris, Steven C. Hayes PhD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 2009 1572247053 978-1572247055 1

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 are 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). ACT is not just a proven effective treatment for depression, anxiety, stress, addictions, eating disorders, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and myriad other psychological issues that focuses on mindfulness, client values, and a commitment to change. 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 and entertaining 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 both you, the therapist, and your clients.

Frequently Bought Together

ACT Made Simple: An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy + The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT + Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
Price for all three: $47.43

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Editorial Reviews


“Russ Harris is an open, centered, and engaged teacher of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and, in ACT Made Simple, he succeeds in delivering a transparent account of a complex and powerful treatment. I recommend this book to mental health and medical providers and to their teachers.”
— Patricia J. Robinson, Ph.D., coauthor of Behavioral Consultation and Primary Care and The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression

“ACT Made Simple is simply the most accessible book written to date for therapists interested in learning ACT. Russ Harris explains ACT concepts in a style that is both engaging and straightforward. His advice on overcoming therapy roadblocks is invaluable and will be useful to both novice and experienced ACT practitioners.”
— Jason B. Luoma, Ph.D., psychologist at Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center

“Perhaps the most elegant, easily digestible book on using the principles of mindfulness and acceptance to improve your own life and the lives of others. Inside are a litany of creative exercises and strategies that are ready for immediate use. But none of the benefits would be possible without the supportive, entertaining voice of Russ Harris. There is something new to be learned with each reading.”
— Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., professor of psychology at George Mason University and author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life

“ACT aims to increase psychological flexibility. Learn from this book and you'll be doing ACT rather than just talking about doing ACT. And you’ll be doing it with greaterflexibility.”
— Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP

“Let’s face it: psychological concerns are complex. If modern behavior therapy is to rise to the occasion of reducing human suffering, it will require a similarly intricate and comprehensive approach. ACT attempts to provide a multifaceted treatment model to address these complexities, and ACT Made Simple has risen to the occasion by reducing the difficulties in understanding the unique ACT approach. Harris’s expressive style is matchless. Comprehensive scientific and clinical literature rarely reads this well. This is a clear, understandable introduction to a powerful intervention approach. Many practitioners who are new to ACT will want to start with ACT Made Simple.”
— Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D., BCBA, coauthor of ACT in Practice

“This much-needed book is a must for mental health clinicians interested in learning ACT. True to his physician roots, Harris has taken a very practical approach to understanding ACT. He does a wonderful job of taking complicated ACT concepts and making them easy to understand. His writing is full of wit, self-disclosure, and down-to-earth communication. Readers of this book will finish it with a much better understanding of core ACT principles and interventions.”
— Kirk D. Strosahl, Ph.D., coauthor of The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression

“For newcomers to ACT, there is no better place to start than with this book. Russ Harris masterfully makes ACT come alive with an accessible writing style and illustrative examples of its application in alleviating a wide range of types of human suffering. Practical tips and homework assignments throughout will actively engage you to go beyond merely reading about ACT and begin to apply it to your own life and in your work with clients. For those who may have been holding out for ACT for Dummies, the wait is over. This book is for you!”
— Robert Zettle, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Wichita State University and author of ACT for Depression

“For those of you who train or supervise nurses, physicians, social workers, or other professionals unffamiliar with psychological lingo, ACT Made Simple is a must. Russ Harris has succeeded in the challenge of translating difficult psychological concepts embedded in ACT into plain, colorful, diverse language that anyone working clinically will understand. Each section is simply organized, easy to follow, and user-friendly. Harris has included highly useful sections of practical tips and common pitfalls that even the trained ACT therapist will find useful. I highly recommend ACT Made Simple as a primer for ACT training.”
— JoAnne Dahl, Ph.D., author of The Art and Science of Valuing in Psychotherapy

From the Publisher

Internationally-known acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer Russ Harris presents ACT Made Simple, a complete, accessible guide for therapists interested in understanding the ACT model and teaching core ACT principles to their clients.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 1 edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572247053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572247055
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The simplest entry into ACT! October 29, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are a therapist intrigued by the new Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and want to get a clear straightforward feel for what it's all about, look no further than this book.
Russ Harris explains in layman's language how and why mindfulness, Acceptance and Values underlie the ACT approach and illustrates how you can start applying it in your clinical practice today.
This is ACT made simple and engaging - but not simplistic.
ACT was invented by scientists and eggheads, with an unflinching devotion to getting the conceptual and scientific underpinnings right. This they largely did, but at times at the cost of intelligibility for the lay clinician. Don't get me wrong, I love the rigorous science and elegant theory behind ACT. But it may not be everyone's cup of tea on first contact with the work.
The genius of Russ Harris is to have written a Therapist Manual which, while remaining faithful to the underlying model and seamlessly grounded in theory, makes the approach luminous and common sense, a makes it relevant to your clincal practice. Not a mean feat when one considers the revolutionary approach that acceptance promotes : stop trying to get rid of unwanted feelings and thoughts, concentrate on moving in the direction of your values.
ACT made simple covers all the bases, promotes clinical flexibility and also carefully explores pitfalls and possible snags in applying ACT in your practice.
This is both therapist manual and workbook.
The best introduction to ACT as a clinical tool yet written.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, helpful & well worth it June 11, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a novice ACT therapist, this book has been amazing to use! it makes what can be quite challenging concepts a whole lot easier, and when I combined it with the DVD from another instructional on ACT, it's made the whole thing come alive. The readability of this book makes it an excellent, 'no-nonsense' approach to learning ACT. If you're at all curious about ACT, I'd go for this one first - you can use more complex texts once you've got through to the heart of the approach, and this book has the 'heart' in bucketloads.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ACT definetely made simple August 10, 2010
I am a licensed clinical psychologist in Boston, MA. Most of my practice is DBT skills groups. I am big fan of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (other "third wave" behavior therapies) but have had a bit less exposure to ACT.

I am always on the alert for good, practical content. This book is lovely. It's easy to integrate and have people do as assignments. It isn't cheesy by any means, in the way that a lot of "practical" CBT books for clients are. I have approached Steve Hayes' work a number of different times, including his workshops, but this book really clarifies essence of ACT interventions in a way that is ogranizing, clear, grounded, and practical. And provides lots of easy and complimentary stuff for DBT skills groups.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful pick February 13, 2010
ACT Made Simple belongs in any psychology library where self-help techniques are strong, offering a new way to view acceptance and commitment therapy techniques. ACT is a proven effective treatment for everything from anxiety and depression to personality disorders and eating disorders, and offers a different way to view the human condition. This book packs in scripts, exercises and worksheets psychologists can use with clients, includes transcripts from therapy sessions, and is an important key to overcoming common therapy roadblocks. A powerful pick.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book to learn or improve ACT skills February 5, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nothing I have used so far in therapy has been as effective as ACT and mindfulness. I am constantly amazed how quickly ACT brings about positive change in people. I know everyone in the helping field is looking for that "magic technique," and I think this is as close as we're going to get. The results speak for themselves, and this book is by far one of the best. Thank you, Mr. Harris, and thank you for the extra downloads that augment the book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tool for ACT learners October 28, 2011
By Geet
Aimed at therapists, but very useful for clients who want to reinforce and get more practice with the principles of ACT. Easy to read, engaging, easy to follow, well-structured. Lots of real-life scenarios. Just enough jargon to give it weight and seriousness, but readability makes it a book to use as a daily reference.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Harvey
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a great introduction to ACT for me. I like the author's writing and therapeutic style and felt I could relate to the case examples. I found it a concise introduction aimed at the therapist who is exploring ACT for the first time. I also appreciated the homework given at the end of each chapter.
This review is also designed to give some information about how the book works on the kindle. As a reader of non-fiction books on an e-ink Kindle (Kindle Touch) I'm always wondering how diagrams and some formatted text will make the transition. If you are buying this for a Kindle, know that there are some diagrams that will be difficult to read. I have good eyesight and could make almost everything out. Someone who has trouble with small print would probably be frustrated. And there were a few unreadable diagrams that were only marginally better (but readable) on cloud reader. Luckily the author has published most of the difficult to read text on his personal website. The bottom line: This is readable and useful on Kindle, but there are some frustrations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best of the intros to ACT
As a psychotherapist myself I've been learning over the past months about ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jason C
4.0 out of 5 stars A great learners guide
ACT made simple is an excellent introduction to the topic and guide to commence use of the technique. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter Appleford
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivered well and in great condition
This is an amazing simplified outline of Acceptance Commitment Therapy. This book has been very helpful to me as a social worker.
Published 3 months ago by Sarah Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars A master therapeutic book
Excellent master representation of the ACT by Dr. Harris. The writing has been presented in a sensitive, creative and empathic approach which stimulate the human inner resources in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Carjun
5.0 out of 5 stars ACT Made Simple Indeed!
This was my first introduction to ACT by workbook that clearly and succinctly explained the concepts. I found it easy to read and practical to follow when using with clients.
Published 3 months ago by maureen guelzow
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and understand text on ACT as a therapy
What I love most about this book is it's easy, conversational reading tone - even though it's ideal as a teaching text for a practitioner wanting to learn more about applying ACT. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Olwen Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended !
This book brings together a host of concepts that can be used to benefit the consumer. ACT is a progressive form of therapy which causes consumers to view their condition from a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mingmei Jiang
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too much like a cut-and-paste job
I found this book a rather dull read, not what I had hoped and didn't provide the learning I needed for a project I am doing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Patricia Farrell, Ph.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear and logical introduction to the ACT therapy.
I read this book en route to a workshop with a founder of the ACT model. This is a clear and easy to read description of the model and enables those who are new to the model to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bruce McNatty
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Simple but the information provided is complete and practical. I suggest tus book for any once interested on learning the therapy
Published 7 months ago by Rosaura
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