Walden Week 7 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Social Change Paper

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the most recently  developed approaches under the CBT umbrella. Stephen Hayes, who  developed ACT in the 1980s, was trained in traditional CBT. On the  surface, ACT would appear to agree with the basic premise of the “it is  what it is” statement from this week’s introduction. This approach is  not only about acceptance, however, but also commitment, which in this  context refers to the commitment to change behavior.

ACT focuses on values and psychological flexibility. It uses  mindfulness to bring clients into the present moment in order to  nonjudgmentally examine thoughts and emotions. Rather than looking at  what happened in the past or might happen in the future, ACT focuses on  the present. After this acceptance, an ACT therapist would attempt to  move clients in the direction of their values through a series of  questions, such as: “What are the things that you really value? What  would you like to see written on your tombstone?” By examining what  clients would like to be different in their lives, they can begin to  change behaviors that do not fit into their value system or worldview.

Steven Hayes believes that social change can come from a person who  is acting from his or her value system, and that in this way, ACT is  related to social change. For this Discussion, you examine the basic  tenets and strategies of ACT and take a position on Hayes’s social  change argument. Can a therapeutic approach based on acceptance of  thoughts—rather than changing them—be a catalyst for behaviors and  actions that lead to social change? 

To prepare:

  • Review the Big Think Interview with Steven Hayes media program found in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Consider the basic approaches within ACT and reflect on Hayes’ premise that his approach is related to social change.

With these thoughts in mind:

Write a 1-2 page critique of Hayes’s contention that  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be related to positive  social change. Do you agree or disagree with his opinion, and why? What  tenets of ACT support your position? Be specific and provide examples to  support your argument.


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