The best acceptance and commitment therapy books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about acceptance and commitment therapy and why they recommend each book.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

By Steven C. Hayes, Kelly G. Wilson, Kirk D. Strosahl

Book cover of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change

The best way to characterize Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is: if Victor Frankl (above) and Jon Kabat-Zinn (the father of the modern mindfulness movement) had a kid, it would be Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. ACT is one part mindfulness and one part the belief that a meaningful life is one that is based on values. It is in this second part of ACT, the emphasis on values and the belief that happiness consists in the virtuous life, that the authors owe an unacknowledged debt of gratitude to Aristotle, while of course, we can thank the Buddha for the mindfulness practices that flourish today.

Who am I?

As an emeritus professor of philosophy now working as a licensed therapist, I feel uniquely qualified to span the two worlds of philosophy and psychotherapy. In addition to dozens of academic articles which no one has ever read, I’ve published books on modern China, ancient Greek Stoicism, Bob Dylan, and the TV show The Sopranos, which at least a few people seem to have picked up.

I wrote...

Blogging The Plague: Camus, Covid-19, and the Current Chaos

By Peter Vernezze,

Book cover of Blogging The Plague: Camus, Covid-19, and the Current Chaos

What is my book about?

Peter Vernezze set out to reread Camus’ classic and apply it to events in real-time. The result, Blogging The Plague: Camus, Covid-19, and the Current Chaos chronicles a crucial four-month stretch when the pandemic transformed from smoldering fire to a full-blown inferno, inflicting death and suffering on a scale not seen in America for more than a century while simultaneously devastating the economy and upending most of life as we know it. Vernezze uses his reading of The Plague as a jumping-off point for Camus-inspired observations on everything from One World at Home to Black Lives Matter, from Neflix’s Pandemic to the conspiracy film Plandemic, from the Coronavirus task force briefings to the Michigan state capitol protests. What emerges is a Camus who not only anticipated the psychology of a pandemic and contemplated its ethical dilemmas but a Camus who can provide soul-sustaining insight absent from the current landscape. This book will change the way you look at the pandemic, at Camus, and at yourself.

Activate Your Life

By Joe Oliver, Jon Hill, Eric Morris

Book cover of Activate Your Life: Using Acceptance and Mindfulness to Build a Life That Is Rich, Fulfilling and Fun

This is the first self-help book I have ever read, and I read it in 2019. I have always been honest about my battle with my mental health, from anxiety to depression. This book was recommended to me by an excellent expert in the field and it changed my view of my relationship with mental health as a battle. It sounds corny putting it into words but when you learn to accept the different parts of your personality and how they help and protect you, then it is easier to say “not right now, I need to make dinner, not crawl into bed”. The analogy that stuck with me was pulling a rope opposed by a character representing anxiety on the other side, and a pit in the middle. You can pull and pull, trying to avoid the pit, or you can… let go of the rope and accept that…

Who am I?

I am an astrophysicist. I am a mother. I am an author. I am a cleaner of dishes, a cooker of meals. I am a daughter, a friend on the end of the phone, a reader of bedtime stories, and the one who hugs away the tears and kisses it better. But I am also just me. Emma. And the books I read are always to escape or understand the internal fight I have between identities and the feeling that pursuing one is failing all the others. Lift yourself above it all, breathe, and read yourself into a different world.

I wrote...

First Light: Switching on Stars at the Dawn of Time

By Emma Chapman,

Book cover of First Light: Switching on Stars at the Dawn of Time

What is my book about?

Astronomers have successfully observed a great deal of the Universe’s history, from recording the afterglow of the Big Bang to imaging thousands of galaxies, and even to visualising an actual black hole. But when it comes to understanding how the Universe began and grew up we are literally in the dark ages. In effect, we are missing the first one billion years from the timeline of the Universe.

Incorporating the very latest research into this branch of astrophysics, this book sheds light on this time of darkness, telling the story of these first stars. Emma Chapman tells us how these stars formed, why they were so unusual, and what they can teach us about the Universe today.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

By Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, Matthew McKay

Book cover of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

My copy is the sixth edition, but this groundbreaking workbook now offers a seventh edition and is based on the authors’ decades of clinical experience working with clients suffering from varied symptoms of stress including insomnia, worry, hypertension, poor digestion, depression, and anger. This hefty book offers a comprehensive compilation of stress-reduction strategies—including techniques for relaxation, managing time, dealing with stressful thoughts and feelings, and effective communication. The workbook format provides helpful guidance to create a personal action plan for stress reduction.  

Who am I?

I'm a yoga therapist, health journalist, and author, and my passion is helping people harness the powerful medicine of movement. In my work with hundreds of yoga students and yoga therapy clients, and in my own life—facing some serious health challenges—I’ve found that taking yoga off the mat and into daily life with these simple practices is a powerful way to relieve stress and find ease in body and mind. In our busy, hectic lives, Yoga Sparks offers a welcome chance to pause, breathe, and connect to our inner wisdom. They will help you pay attention and move mindfully through your own precious life. 

I wrote...

Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less

By Carol Krucoff,

Book cover of Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less

What is my book about?

You only need a minute—or even less—to get the stress-relieving and health-enhancing benefits of yoga. This book is a collection of simple yoga “micro-practices” you can weave into your day to create transformative moments that turn ordinary activities—like answering the phone or waiting in line—into opportunities to stretch and strengthen your body, quiet your mind, and lift your spirits. 

Yoga Sparks arose through my 45 years of yoga practice and two decades of teaching, and they focus on four main aspects of yoga: postures, breathing, meditation, and principles (such as gratitude). No need for a yoga mat or special clothing, they’re designed for anyone, regardless of age or fitness level.  If you can breathe, you can do Yoga Sparks

The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook

By Daniel J. Fox,

Book cover of The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook: An Integrative Program to Understand and Manage Your Bpd

This book is directed to someone who identifies with symptoms of BPD. It is a workbook with an emphasis on work! It is not designed to cure BPD, but to help the individual more productively address dysfunctional behavior. With scales and forms to fill out, the individual reader can confront specific problems.

Who am I?

As a psychiatrist, I've had a special interest over the past forty years in working with patients with symptoms of BPD, preceding even the formalization of the diagnosis. I've been intrigued by these patients who often display enormous intelligence, creativity, and energy, yet are handicapped by emotions and behaviors that are out of their control. I established one of the early treatment centers specifically designed for their treatment. Where once these patients were stigmatized by professionals and others to be bothersome, untreatable, chronically suicidal, and to be avoided, I've witnessed great advancements in treatment approaches. We now appreciate that the vast majority of patients get better. It's been a privilege for me to participate in these advances.

I wrote...

Talking to a Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder: Communication Skills to Manage Intense Emotions, Set Boundaries, and Reduce Conflict

By Jerold J. Kreisman,

Book cover of Talking to a Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder: Communication Skills to Manage Intense Emotions, Set Boundaries, and Reduce Conflict

What is my book about?

My other books and papers describing borderline personality disorder (BPD) focus on the description of BPD for a general audience and provide referenced data for professionals. This book specifically describes practical approaches for a loved one to confront common dilemmas when interacting with someone with symptoms of BPD. Described communication skills will help you interact with a loved one with a volatile personality.


By Patrick Fanning, Matthew McKay,

Book cover of Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem

I recommend this book to many of my clients because you create your life based on your perceived self-concept about who you are in the world. If you don’t feel good about who you are it’s hard to build a good life. This book is great because it applies the well-researched principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to overcoming the inner critic and building a positive view of one’s self, creating the much-needed platform for transforming your life.

Who am I?

I’m a psychologist in Los Angeles specializing in helping people identify their blind spots and break the cycles of their past by retraining their mindset about the future. I developed a new treatment called Future Directed Therapy and I’ve been helping people build better lives for over 15 years. I’m very passionate about empowering my clients to find practical skills and tools for taking charge of their emotional health and achieving the things they want in life. I recommend these books to my clients on a regular basis and find inspiration in them for my own blog Living Forward which I write as a featured expert for Psychology Today

I wrote...

Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind's Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life

By Jennice Vilhauer,

Book cover of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind's Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life

What is my book about?

Science has shown that anticipating a positive future is the key to well-being and mental health. Yet when many people think of the future, they experience anxiety, depression, fear, and self-doubt. Unaware of how to change the future, most people are trapped in a cycle of re-creating their past. But your past does not define who you are or where you are going — you can break free. Future Directed Therapy (FDT) is a new psychological method that helps people create their future with awareness and choice, using skills based on cutting-edge cognitive science. Think Forward to Thrive is filled with information and step-by-step exercises to help you: overcome negative emotions; identify what you want in life; transform limiting beliefs; and take action.

Fear of Flying Workbook

By Dr. David Carbonell,

Book cover of Fear of Flying Workbook: Overcome Your Anticipatory Anxiety and Develop Skills for Flying with Confidence

An extensive and powerful read. Whilst it focuses on the fear of flying (including in-depth worksheets and exercises that you can start using straight away) David breaks down exactly how this fear came to be and what you can do to break the anxious cycle. Even if fear of flying is not something you struggle with, all of the information in this book can be applied to various anxiety disorders. A great source of psychoeducation! 

Who am I?

A self-confessed anxiety disorder nerd, I have a deeper level of understanding beyond the textbooks and training. I grew up in Manchester, UK, and was once diagnosed with crippling anxiety; suffering from panic attacks, agoraphobia, health anxiety, and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), as well as intrusive thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and all the other fun stuff that comes with a nasty anxiety condition. I’m now a qualified psychotherapist and it is my mission to help as many people as I can recover from anxiety disorder and live happy, healthy lives.

I wrote...

Untangle Your Anxiety: A Guide To Overcoming An Anxiety Disorder By Two People Who Have Been Through It

By Joshua Fletcher, Dean Stott,

Book cover of Untangle Your Anxiety: A Guide To Overcoming An Anxiety Disorder By Two People Who Have Been Through It

What is my book about?

Do you struggle to understand your anxiety? Are your days often consumed by worries that have no clear answers? Perhaps you don't feel like your usual self? Untangle Your Anxiety was written by psychotherapist and best-selling author, Joshua Fletcher (@anxietyjosh), and the owner of Instagram's largest anxiety community, Dean Stott (@DLCanxiety), to help you overcome excessive anxiety. Having both been diagnosed in the past with anxiety disorders, then successfully overcoming them, Josh and Dean have written this honest and powerful self-help book as a reassuring aid in your recovery.

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