Sample Sociology Work and Human Services Research Paper on Acceptances and Commitment Therapy

Acceptances and Commitment Therapy

Overview of Steven C. Hayes

Steven C. Hayes has made a tremendous impact on the field of psychology. Currently, he is working as a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is known for coming up with Relational Frame Theory. Hayes is also positively recognized for his application on various difficult psychological concepts such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He is also a cognition and human language analyst (Rousmaniere, n.d). He has conducted several researches on the field of language and thought with the intention of trying to understand human development and suffering thus the reason for coming up with ACT. At the same time, Hayes is an author and currently he has 38 books which are all published.

His popularly known for writing the book titled “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life” which has been a focus of reference by my psychologists (Rousmaniere, n.d). The book has also been considered by many media outlets as the best selling which clearly depicts Hayes’ experience and knowledge on the field of psychology. Some of his other achievements as an individual are making an impact on the scientific societies where he has received several awards for his contribution. For instance, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award. The aim of this paper is to look at Hayes major contribution towards Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) especially his influence on the work and the way the theory is being used daily.

Influence of Hayes’ work

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a behavioral therapy that utilizes mindfulness skills and value-guided behavioral ways of intervention. The theory has been proven and found effective in the clinical sector. According to Hayes, ACT can be used to solve deeper clinical issues. For instance, it is being used by healthcare providers to solve clinical conditions such as workplace stress, anxiety, drug abuse, depression, schizophrenia, and even stress brought about by a terminal condition such as cancer (Rousmaniere, n.d). A study which Hayes conducted revealed that healthcare providers who decided to use ACT on patients while treating schizophrenia saw a tremendous positive result. For instance, after only four hours of applying the therapy, the rate of re-admission of these kind of patients reduced by 50% within a period of six months (Hayes et al, 2012).

On the other hand, ACT has been found relevant to people who are facing personal issues. Hayes mentioned that he intended to come up with work that is not hollow in nature or provide false result but rather one that can be used to uplift the personal lives of people which makes ACT relevant for several people while trying to solve different issues in their life (Hayes et al, 2011). The reason the therapy is effective is because it integrates individual interests in social change, stigma and prejudice, philosophy into their work which contributes to a good results (Hayes et al, 2016).  Another major contribution of ACT has been on social work. There are several social workers across the world who finds it challenging to intervene to meet the diverse and multifaceted needs in the market place. ACT is becoming a popular therapy that is being used by social workers to offer effectiveness and flexibility when dealing with cases that are challenging (Hayes et al, 2012). It is also the best alternative that social workers are using to handle various health issues that may affect their performance at work. For instance, ACT therapy is being used by social workers to manage conditions such as stress related to their work.

The reason ACT is being used as a therapy by social workers is because it creates meaningful and rich life while enabling people to accept the pain that is inevitable. The therapy involves allowing an individual to use their deepest values in life to solve the problems that they are facing. Through this, they become fully engaged in the process because they have accepted the situation that they are in at that particular time. Hayes also wanted to ensure that not only the workers can use ACT but also the clients. While being interviewed Tony Rousmaniere (n.d), he mentioned that there are several instances when clients tend to be in denial and struggle emotionally because of the kind of services that they got from a company. However, through the use of ACT therapy, they can appropriately respond to their deeper feelings which could have prevented them from moving forward because of bad experience (Hayes et al, 2011). With a clear understanding on the issue, the clients starts to accept any form of hardships that existed during the process and end up changing their behavior to the better regardless of how they might be feeling.

How the theory is used today

ACT is among those exceptional therapies that not only focus on getting the symptoms reduced but also ensuring that the symptoms are no longer a problem to a person. It is because the theory stresses on values, acceptance, being compassionate, forgiving people, living today, and obtaining a great sense of self. The best way in which the theory works is by controlling individual pain while at the same time positively changing the psychological experiences of people by suppressing their negative feelings that might had been causing distress (Hayes et al, 2012). The aim of Hayes when forming the theory was to encourage people to look at life positively by changing the way in which they think while eliminating those behaviors that seem to negatively affect their life. During the therapy, an individual is encouraged to pay attention to personal values that brings out the best in them. Through this, clients can change their emotions and attitude towards issues that they were experiencing.

During a therapy session, the ACT therapist role is to change the private experience of an individual through verbal and social context which might comprise of activities such as feelings and thoughts that results into forms such as overt actions. Through this, it becomes easy for them to have clearer goals and values which show the therapist the right direction which they need to take to reduce the negative experiences of an individual. Ones the therapist is able to control an individual’s emotions, they then introduce six major ACT principles which include defusion, acceptance, self observation, living in the present moment, values, and being committed towards actions (Hayes et al, 2012). While applying each of these principles, the therapist will be using exercises, metaphors and homework as strategies to ensure that he/she achieves good results.

In summary, Hayes managed to come up with ACT therapy which is today being applied in various aspects of life. Many individuals undergo through stressful situations ones in a while in their lives which requires intervention to change their attitudes and behaviors to the better. It is proven that ACT therapy has the ability to transform the experience of an individual to the better whether in the work place, at school or even during purchase an achievement that Hayes was aiming at when he came up with the theory.

References

Hayes, S.C., Pistorello, J. & Levin, M.E. (2012). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a unified model of behavior change. The Counseling Psychologist 40(7), 976-1002. http://www.apags.org/education/ce/acceptance-commitment.pdf

Hayes, S.C., Strosahl, K.D. & Wilson, K.G. (2016).Acceptance and commitment therapy: The process and practice of mindful change. New York: The Guilford Press. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Acceptance-Commitment-Therapy-Second-Practice/dp/1462528945

Hayes, S. C., Villatte, M., Levin, M. & Hildebrandt, M. (2011). Open, aware, and active: Contextual approaches as an emerging trend in the behavioral and cognitive therapies. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 7, 141-168. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21219193

Rousmaniere, T. (n.d). Steven Hayes on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). https://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/acceptance-commitment-therapy-ACT-steven-hayes-interview