Acceptance-Based Behavioral Therapy

Treating Anxiety and Related Challenges

Lizabeth Roemer and Susan M. Orsillo

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August 6, 2020
ISBN 9781462543946
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318 Pages
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Developed over decades of ongoing clinical research, acceptance-based behavioral therapy (ABBT) is a flexible framework with proven effectiveness for treating anxiety disorders and co-occurring problems. This authoritative guide provides a complete overview of ABBT along with practical guidelines for assessment, case formulation, and individualized intervention. Clinicians learn powerful ways to help clients reduce experiential avoidance; cultivate acceptance, self-compassion, and mindful awareness; and increase engagement in personally meaningful behaviors. Illustrated with vivid case material, the book includes 29 reproducible handouts and forms. Purchasers get access to a companion website where they can download printable copies of the reproducible materials and audio recordings of guided meditation practices. A separate website for clients includes the audio recordings only.

Acceptance-Based Behavioral Therapy is, quite simply, the definitive work on the subject. Roemer and Orsillo are leading scientist-practitioners who share their considerable wealth of experience in this rich yet easy-to-digest volume. Packed with theoretical insights and practical recommendations, the book deftly combines elements from dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and more traditional behavioral approaches for clients suffering from a range of emotional disorders. This is a 'must read' for contemporary cognitive-behavioral therapists, and will be one of my go-to references for many years to come.”

—David F. Tolin, PhD, ABPP, Director, Anxiety Disorders Center, The Institute of Living–Hartford Hospital


“Roemer and Orsillo have produced a worthy successor to their earlier seminal guide to ABBT. Reflecting the wisdom gained from 10 additional years of using and training others in their approach, Roemer and Orsillo have added more practical, step-by-step instruction for implementing ABBT strategies. This thoughtful volume also facilitates a richer understanding of diversity and culture in working with clients, and more flexible use of the protocol in time-limited, real-world contexts. This book is for everyone—it is accessible for the trainee yet sophisticated for the experienced clinician.”

—Joanna Arch, PhD, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder


“An essential resource for clinicians seeking an empirically supported intervention that approaches treatment of a range of clinical conditions with both rigor and humanity. Roemer and Orsillo present ABBT in an accessible style that supports the use and adaptability of this approach to collaboratively engage patients in meaningful change. Recommended for clinicians at all stages and across multiple fields of study.”

—Carl W. Lejuez, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas


“This is a great book! It builds on Roemer and Orsillo's earlier work on ABBT, which I have been using in a doctoral-level psychotherapy course for many years. This book is an even more accessible, practical, and useful teaching tool. I particularly appreciate how the authors promote clinical flexibility, providing a thoughtful, empirically driven approach to tailoring treatment to different settings and client characteristics. One of the most impressive aspects of this book is that culture is not an afterthought—the authors carefully consider how to meaningfully attend to culture (and contextual inequities, such as systemic discrimination) throughout the therapy process, with excellent examples. I look forward to adopting this book for my course!”

—Shelly P. Harrell, PhD, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University


“Manualized treatments with high emphasis on fidelity can be restrictive when applied to real-life situations. This timely book advances the field by focusing on the core elements and clinical strategies of acceptance-based behavioral approaches, so that clinical interventions can be customized to the needs of specific clients. This is an exceptional resource for students, clinicians, educators, and researchers interested in evidence-based treatments that value the client's unique needs and preferences and the client–provider relationship.”

—Mildred Vera, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico

Table of Contents

I. Setting the Stage for Change

1. Overview of an Acceptance-Based Behavioral Model of Clinical Problems sample

2. Gathering Clinical Information to Prepare a Case Formulation

3. Sharing Case Formulation and Treatment Plan: Setting the Stage for Therapy

II. Cultivating Acceptance-Based Skills and Clarifying Values

4. The Therapeutic Relationship: A Context and a Mechanism for Change

5. Psychoeducation to Cultivate Acceptance

6. Mindfulness and Other Experiential Methods

7. Using ABBT Methods to Cultivate Self-Compassion

8. Articulating and Clarifying Personal Values

III. Putting It All Together: Promoting Mindful, Valued Action

9. Integrating the Three Goals of ABBT into Each Session

10. Working with Contextual Inequities and External Barriers to Values-Based Actions

11. Evaluating Progress, Relapse Prevention, and Ending Treatment

Appendix A: Measures That Can Be Used to Assess ABBT Model-Specific Processes

Appendix B: Mindfulness Exercises

Appendix C: A Model of Integration of Topics, Exercises, and Forms across Sessions

References

Index

List of Audio Tracks:

- Mindfulness of Breath (3 minutes)

- Mindfulness of Sounds (5 minutes)

- Mindfulness of Physical Sensations (3 minutes)

- Mindfulness-Based Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Instructions (11 minutes)

- Progressive Muscle Relaxation, 16 Muscle Group Exercise (37 minutes)

- Progressive Muscle Relaxation, 7 Muscle Group Exercise (19 minutes)

- Progressive Muscle Relaxation, 4 Muscle Group Exercise (13 minutes)

- Mindfulness of Emotions (5 minutes)

- Mindfulness of Emotions and Physical Sensations (6 minutes)

- Mindfulness of Clouds and Sky (7 minutes)

- Mountain Meditation (8 minutes)

- Inviting a Difficulty In and Working It through the Body (6 minutes)

- Your Personal Experience with Self-Compassion (4 minutes)

- Mindful Observation of Self-Critical Thoughts (4 minutes)


About the Authors

Lizabeth Roemer, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she is actively involved in research and clinical training of doctoral students in clinical psychology. Dr. Roemer's research examines how people understand, react to, and cope with intense emotional reactions, most often in the contexts of anxiety disorders and posttraumatic functioning. She also supports her students in examining the relevance of cultural and contextual factors in these phenomena, with an emphasis on helping people thrive in the face of discrimination and racism. Her research team has a recent focus on dissemination, health promotion, and identifying and addressing barriers to care. Dr. Roemer has published over 120 journal articles and book chapters. Her books with Susan M. Orsillo include The Mindful Way through Anxiety and Worry Less, Live More (for general readers) and Acceptance-Based Behavioral Therapy (for mental health professionals). Their website is www.mindfulwaythroughanxiety.com.

Susan M. Orsillo, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Suffolk University in Boston, where she is actively involved in the education, training, and professional development of undergraduates and doctoral students in clinical psychology. Dr. Orsillo studies how acceptance-based behavioral therapy–informed strategies can help buffer against contextual stressors, build resilience, improve psychosocial functioning, and enhance quality of life. Her research team also has a focus on improving widespread access to evidence-based care. Dr. Orsillo has published over 120 journal articles and book chapters. Her books with Lizabeth Roemer include The Mindful Way through Anxiety and Worry Less, Live More (for general readers) and Acceptance-Based Behavioral Therapy (for mental health professionals). Their website is www.mindfulwaythroughanxiety.com.

Audience

Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.