Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D.
Foundation Professor in the Behavioral Analysis Program Department of Psychology, University of Nevada
Why Psychological Flexibility Matters to Clients, Practitioners, and to their Relationship
Psychological flexibility is comprised of a small set of processes (acceptance, defusion, flexible attention to the now, perspective taking, values, and committed action) that are known to relate to the development of psychopathology if they are absent or human prosperity if they are present. While psychological flexibility is best known as the model that guides Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), it is becoming increasingly apparent that flexibility processes are central to our understanding of a range of treatment methods. For example, psychological flexibility processes empower exposure methods, and help explain why they work. They help explain the impact of traditional CBT methods. They relate to clinicians’ willingness to use exposure and other evidence-based methods, and they help clinicians do their work with less burnout, stigmatization of recipients of care, and with a greater sense of personal accomplishment. Finally, these same processes foster empowering therapeutic relationships. This talk will describe psychological flexibility as a general model of behavioral development and change, and will show why it matters to target these processes for change both for clients and for the practitioners who serve them.