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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  966 ratings  ·  56 reviews
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.

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Paperback, 263 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by New Harbinger Publications (first published 2009)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work, act


Clients have a hard time shifting from a problem-solving mode into a mindful appreciation mode.

ACT assumes that (a) quality of life is primarily dependent upon mindful, values-guided action, and (b) this is possible regardless of how many symptoms you have - provided that you respond to your symptoms with mindfulness.

ACT regards the mind as a double-edged sword. It's very useful for all sorts of purposes, but if we don't learn how to handle it effectively, it will hurt us.

The aim of ACT,
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not a professional therapist. However, several very smart people I know have recommended ACT, so I read Russ Harris' book "The Happiness Trap" (intended for the general population). Although I am a strong proponent of mindfulness and I liked a lot of what Harris was saying, I also found "The Happiness Trap" to be glib, invalidating of the experiences of people who may be struggling with more serious conditions, and at points generally infuriating to the point of unreadable. Because I liked ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
**Jump on in.**

I’m a fan of ACT.

I jumped on the ACT bandwagon after being introduced to it during a clinical training, and I’ve been riding it ever since. To me, the core philosophy of ACT just makes sense: be present, open up, and do what matters.

I’ve read several books on ACT, and this one stands out as the most concise and usable one. In addition to distilling ACT down to its essential components, it provides clinical transcripts and worksheets galore to help you jump right in to the ACTion.
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I read a brief version of ACT during internship, but my grad program never covered ACT, despite the salience of other evidence-based approaches like CBT and DBT. Given I lean towards existential therapy and often incorporate CBT, ACT is the sweet spot blending those two approaches. The key piece I like about ACT is the incorporation of values and assessing thoughts, emotions, and behavior in terms of workability (aka do they bring you towards or away from your values). Unlike CBT, ACT isn't abou ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I know this is made for therapists but I’m neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist and I think everyone should read this book! I’ve read a ton of book on mindfulness and Buddhist teachings and this by far has exceeded my expectations because it is more than a mindfulness book. It has very PRACTICAL advice and lays you down the CONCRETE STEPS you need to do to practice it and live the best life you can!

It is not only practical but it is EVIDENCE BASED!! I am highly spiritual and I delve into B
Ian Felton
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I learned about ACT during my Counseling Theories graduate level course. I felt that it was something special--at least special in how it resonated with me.

Now I've read my first book on ACT and I'm more convinced that this is the theoretical orientation I will take in my career. Dr. Harris walks the novice through the basic concepts of ACT (not RFT, functional contextualism, or other philosophical concepts) using diagrams, worksheets, and sample dialogues with clients. This is a very practical
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
I appreciate the premise behind ACT, but the writing style was not for me. It’s conversational and convoluted, often taking much longer to say something than I found necessary.

It also bothers me when ACT writers or practitioners try to distance themselves from the original mindfulness practices that started this process. It feels a little bit like “white person stealing eastern tradition and repackaging it to make it palatable and sell.” 😕
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great introduction to ACT for beginners with handy role play transcripts showing how you can explain things to clients. Great for any level of practitioner, though not suited as a self-help book. I particularly enjoyed how he paired this with the ACT made simple facebook group which is a great therapist support network and with his own 'act mindfully' pdf guide to worksheets and audio guides that you can access for free! ...more
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
ACT Made Simple is one of many necessary books for both novice and advanced ACT oriented therapists to have on their bookshelf. It is tailored towards clinicians, not the lay public, and offers countless resources, techniques, theory, and ways to incorporate ACT into your clinical tool belt. This book was recommended to me by a colleague who is a big ACT proponent and I'm happy to say I'm one as well after finishing this book. I plan on rereading as needed. ...more
Luiz Fabricio Calland Cerqueira
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psicologia
The name is quite on the Spot. It makes ACT as simple as it can get. Of course, ACT is something to only really be learned trough experience, but the book is as pretty decent roadmap in this trail. Much easier than Hayes’ I already read.

On the other hand, I can’t understand and feel ACT as more than some extensive and elaborate intervention to increment a CBT treatment and not something with a life of its own.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book to start with ACT. The whole book took me some time to finish but it was a very pleasant read. It feels like a personal conversation with Russ, a one on one course with him.

ACT is an amazing kind of therapy and also in a certain sense a way of living.

I feel already better prepared and have now tools, knowledge and a structure to work with. Just need to practice all I've learned!
Katie Erin
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m not sure I agree with everything in this model quite yet, but I LOVE the conversational style the author uses to teach the process of ACT. I will definitely use the values-based worksheets and some of the mindfulness exercises. I’m looking forward to re-reading to get a better understanding of my discomfort with some of the model!
Sehar Moughal
This is a very practical and hands on book. I guess I would have enjoyed it more if I was a practising ACT therapist. I read this book as part of a PD course. However, I’ll definitely be purchasing a copy for myself in case I ever need to use it with clients. There are many examples or metaphors that might not work for someone from a non-western culture but that’s a discussion for another time.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent introduction to ACT for therapists, and a good reinforcer if you’re somewhere past brand new beginner (like me). Loved the conversational style and the abundance of scripts and worksheets. Have used them in counseling sessions with great results!
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely brilliant! It is easy to follow and implement and has completely shaped the way I do therapy.

It is entertaining and engaging and Russ is incredibly relatable.

An absolute must-read for beginner therapists!
Daniel Coburn
Solid, accessible introduction to ACT with lots of exercises for applying it in practice.
Louise Hendry
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent for practitioners
Vahe Torozyan
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book about mindfulness and current trends in psychologic disorder treatments
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great explanation of a very complicated concept!
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked it, and it is a good start to ACT. It’s also a bit glib or colloquial.
Dannielle Brown
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read and understand.
Moriah Conant
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
The interventions are really helpful, but the examples are very condescending toward the client, and the descriptions can be really difficult to understand.
Patricia Likakis
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nicely explained and clear with examples and worksheets. Can be used by laypeople such as myself. If you are looking to do some personal growth work, this technique should help.
Sofie Hampton
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Really informative.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent work resource
Saleh Sulaiman Al Omar
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I finished reading this book. I am a nurse who is interested in mental health. I found it useful, but you need to focus very well while reading in order to get the benefits of reading this book.
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: therapy
More user friendly than other ACT books I've read. The focus is on using the theory into practice rather than just explaining the rationale and basis for the theory. ...more
Esraa Abd Ellatif
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A very good start to ACT for professionals
Emilie Adams
Good, yet a lot of therapeutic conversations seem slightly unrealistic. Helpful to start understanding the ACT concept!
Apr 12, 2021 is currently reading it
Shelves: thought
Was curious to find out what the fuss about ACT is, and this book looks accessible and practical enough.
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Dr Russ Harris is a medically-qualified doctor, stress consultant, executive coach, trainer, author, and a leading authority in the powerful new paradigm of Psychological Flexibility. (This is a revolutionary new development in human psychology that enhances performance, reduces stress, and improves health and wellbeing.) Dr Russ regularly presents workshops on Psychological Flexibility at both na ...more

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