By Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson
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Additional resources for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change (1999)
If the actual process in therapy seems important at that moment, the ACT therapist might instead say, “And saying that to me right now is in the service of . . ” By focusing the client on the implicit consequences of an ongoing action in context, the therapist is trying to organize that action into functional units. Put another way, the purpose of the analysis is to find how best to construct a stream of behavior into whole units, and these units are organized in terms of the way the behavior seems to change the situation from one state of affairs to another.
A good example is the therapist who teaches and strongly reinforces “appropriate assertion” in a dependent female client, only to find that the client is not really becoming more independent but instead is now looking for approval from the therapist for this new behavior. In an ACT model, many forms of psychopathology are based on destructive types of pliance. Not all forms of pliance are destructive (it seems to be especially important in childhood, for example), but in adulthood the good that comes from pliance can almost always come more efficiently from tracking and augmenting.
Overexpansive tracks are those that are applied to situations that can only be contingency shaped. When following overexpansive tracks, a person is likely to behave ineffectively but will not know why. An example of the latter is hitting a baseball. , “Swing level and let your wrist break just as you hit the ball”). Overexpansive tracks are perhaps the most common form of strange loops. ”). Threats elicit anxiety, and thus the attempt to regulate it verbally through threats can elicit it. 34 THE PROBLEM AND THE APPROACH Cognitive therapy has paid considerable attention to altering the form of inaccurate tracks such as “I cannot be happy if anyone is unhappy with me” (see Zettle & Hayes, 1982).