An evidence-based treatment called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which sounds like “act,” is a blend of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), humanistic, and mindfulness-based approaches to treatment that is called “ACT.”
There’s a lot of good stuff in the treatment that can help your clients, so use it.
No better way to learn about ACT than by taking a class and getting help. People can learn a lot about Act by reading books, too.
Break down the 14 books and websites we think are the best for learning about the ACT in this post. You can also check out relevant material on our site to get your ACT education off the ground.
Our three Mindfulness Exercises can be downloaded for free before you go on with the rest of the class. These science-based, comprehensive exercises will help you cultivate a sense of inner peace in your daily life and give you the tools to help your clients, students, or employees do the same.
Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life – Steven Hayes
ACT founder Dr. Steven Hayes wrote this book.
Hayes writes in easy-to-understand language. He explains some of the more complicated ACT ideas in a way that readers can use to improve their lives.
Hayes is someone who has had anxiety problems herself, so he can easily get into the head of the person reading his book. It’s easy to do the exercises in this book, and they can be very useful for you or your clients.
ACTivate Your Life: Using Acceptance and Mindfulness to Build a Life That Is Rich, Fulfilling and Fun – Joe Oliver, Jon Hill, and Eric Morris
This is another book that tries to help people improve their life skills.
ACT is used in the book to help its readers become more engaged, open, and accepting of their own selves and others.
There is also a lot of mindfulness in this book, which is great for people who want to start or improve their mindfulness practice.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Guide to Self-Empowerment With CBT, DBT, and ACT – Tom Shepherd
People who read this book will learn how to use concepts from ACT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to live a more valuable and meaningful life.
Teaching yourself CBT could be a good addition to formal treatment. The book helps readers learn the tools that therapists use in these approaches to help them feel more powerful.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Second Edition: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change – Steven Hayes, Kirk Strosahl, and Kelly Wilson
This is a textbook written by the founder of ACT and two of his friends.
When I took the first ACT class I took in graduate school, my professor gave me this book to read from. In the beginning, it talks about relational frame theory, which is what underlies the rest of the book.
The text is a little long and complicated, so I think this book is best for people who want to learn more about the treatment rather than just learn about it for fun.
ACT Made Simple, Second Edition: An Easy-to-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – Russ Harris
This book is written by Russ Harris, who is probably the best-known person to write about ACT for a general audience. This book is called “ACT for the People.”
Harris has a sense of humor when he writes, his style is easy to understand, and his teachings are simple to follow.
Harris breaks down the concepts in this book, which is written like a textbook but is easier to read than most. This makes it easy for the practitioner to start working right away, making it easier for them to learn new things.
If you want to learn more about this book, you might want to read the first two chapters, which are available from the publisher, New Harbinger, and on Harris’s website.
The ACT Practitioner’s Guide to the Science of Compassion: Tools for Fostering Psychological Flexibility – Dennis Tirch, Benjamin Schoendorff, and Laura Silberstein
This book is a great help for people who work with their clients on self-compassion.
Self-compassion is an important part of ACT treatment because it can be hard for some people to do.
In this book, therapists learn how to help their clients be kind to themselves, while also working to help them become more flexible and improve their behavior.
The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises & Metaphors in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy – Jill Stoddard and Niloofar Afari
ACT practitioners often use metaphors to explain things in therapy.
Our minds aren’t always so literal. Metaphors can help us have a more visceral and emotional experience because they can cut through the literalness of our minds. They also tend to stay with us longer than simple words.
A lot of people who do ACT have come up with metaphors that have been passed down from clinician to clinician.
These are all in this book, which is a great resource for therapists who want to expand their ACT repertoires and improve how they use these powerful tools.
Not ACT, but Close
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times – Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron’s best-known book has the title: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.
She is a Buddhist monk from Canada, and she has written a lot about Buddhism for people in the West.
Because ACT is based on Buddhism, the lessons in this book are important for both practitioners and people who are just learning about it. They will help you improve your mindfulness practice and coping skills for everyday life.
Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
If you’ve read this classic book, you’ve heard the story of Siddhartha. He spends most of his life wandering around, looking for the right path in his life.
It’s another story with a lot of Buddhist roots. At one point, Siddhartha meets the Buddha. In the end, only when Siddhartha gives up on trying and looking for what he wants does he find it.
This lesson is very similar to ACT, which tells people to stop trying to change themselves and accept the things and qualities that come naturally to them.
Ishmael: A Novel – Daniel Quinn
This book has a message about the environment and talks about human behavior from an evolutionary point of view.
This book is both funny and scary because it’s told from the point of view of an old gorilla. The reader comes away with a new way of looking at life that includes more empathy and compassion, as well as a new way of looking at human pain.
As long as the text doesn’t have anything to do with ACT, it all fits together pretty well.
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah – Richard Bach
To help you think about the world in a different way, this book tells the story of how a wandering messiah helps his traveling partner to rekindle his faith in himself.
Bach’s writing has a message of self-empowerment, wonder at the universe, and faith. In this novel, the lines between secular and religious beliefs are blurred.
Recommended Books for Your Clients
The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living – Russ Harris
This is the best self-help book for ACT. The Happiness Trap is written for people who don’t know much about psychology. It shows how the pursuit of happiness can be a trap that leads to long-term sadness.
People who read this book learn concrete skills that help them change their mindsets so that happiness comes as a result of living a meaningful life, not as the goal of mindless activity.
How to Be Nice to Yourself: The Everyday Guide to Self-Compassion – Laura Silberstein-Tirch
As we said before, self-compassion is an important part of the ACT therapy process.
This book is a practical guide that clients can use to help them lessen their self-criticism and become more self-loving.