A Liberated Mind

How to Pivot Toward What Matters
Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (155 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"In all my years studying personal growth, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is one of the most useful tools I've ever come across, and in this book, Dr. Hayes describes it with more depth and clarity than ever before." (Mark Manson, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)

Life is not a problem to be solved. ACT shows how we can live full and meaningful lives by embracing our vulnerability and turning toward what hurts.

In this landmark audiobook, the originator and pioneering researcher into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) lays out the psychological flexibility skills that make it one of the most powerful approaches research has yet to offer. These skills have been shown to help even where other approaches have failed. Science shows that they are useful in virtually every area - mental health (anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD); physical health (chronic pain, dealing with diabetes, facing cancer); social processes (relationship issues, prejudice, stigma, domestic violence); and performance (sports, business, diet, exercise).

How does psychological flexibility help? We struggle because the problem-solving mind tells us to run from what causes us fear and hurt. But we hurt where we care. If we run from a sense of vulnerability, we must also run from what we care about. By learning how to liberate ourselves, we can live with meaning and purpose, along with our pain when there is pain.

Although that is a simple idea, it resists our instincts and programming. The flexibility skills counter those ingrained tendencies. They include noticing our thoughts with curiosity, opening to our emotions, attending to what is in the present, learning the art of perspective taking, discovering our deepest values, and building habits based around what we deeply want.

Beginning with the epiphany Steven Hayes had during a panic attack, this audiobook is a powerful narrative of scientific discovery filled with moving stories as well as advice for how we can put flexibility skills to work immediately. Hayes shows how allowing ourselves to feel fully and think freely moves us toward commitment to what truly matters to us. Finally, we can live lives that reflect the qualities we choose.

©2019 Steven C. Hayes (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"In all my years studying personal growth, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is one of the most useful tools I've ever come across, and in this book, Dr. Hayes describes it with more depth and clarity than ever before." (Mark Manson, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)

"Steven Hayes possesses an extraordinary trifecta of skills: A brilliant theoretical and research psychologist, he’s also a compassionate clinician and a wonderfully engaging writer. A Liberated Mind is packed with jewels of insight and information that could change the way we deal with suffering as individuals and as a society. A compelling, revelatory read." (Martha Beck PhD, author of Finding Your Own North Star)

"Written for a very broad audience, Dr. Hayes is able to clearly translate the science and clinical complexity of this treatment into concrete guiding principles for people's lives. These principles not only apply to psychological suffering, but also to physical illnesses, relationships, corporations, societies, and cultures. The book is honest, compassionate, and profoundly insightful. It will transform your life by liberating your mind." (Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD, professor of psychology at Boston University)

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Great book!!!

I'm a social worker in the field of mental health rehabilitation and practice ACT. Im in the middle of the book but I find it so informative and inspiring that I decided to write a review now! The book is so great because of the way Steve Hayes skilfully walks the reader through the science and practice of ACT while keeping it Authentic and genuine. Even though Im just in the middle of the book but I know I'm going to come back to it again and again Thank you!

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Disappointing. A 14 hour long defense of ACT.

First of all I need to say that I think "Get out of your mind and into your life" is one of the most important and helpful books ever written. This book, in my humble opinion, adds little new to Steven's magnum opus. On the contrary, it seems like 2/3 of this book is rehashing the old ideas, and the remaining 1/3 is quoting studies about how some researchers have found ACT to be helpful against everything ranging from late stage cancer to dealing with the frustrations of not finding a good parking spot outside your local grocery store. That's all fine and good, and from my understanding of ACT, I could see how that might be the case. But the incessant repetition of quoting studies seems like a very defensive thing to include to this extent, leaving little of practical value for the reader. Surely a appendix of interesting relevant studies at the end would be the best way to go about including this information, for the minority of readers who want to deep dive into the scientific literature on the subject. On the topic of studies, many of the mentioned studies seemed to have obvious shortcomings. For instance, comparing outcomes of two groups, where one only receives a pamphlet and a newsletter, versus another group who receives training, newsletters and follow up calls is obviously an apples to oranges comparison. Again, this is criticism coming from someone who is fully "fused" with the idea that ACT can be of help in nearly all challenges life can throw your way. Finally, the parts about implicit bias, or unconscious bias, were disappointing. Most with knowledge of these studies know that the findings are inconclusive at best. Quoting their murky interpretations as facts is very unhelpful to being taken seriously. So is the un-ironic use of the word "mansplaining". Though the principle of being aware of the labels your mind can put on people is sound, the overemphasis on the idea that any white man is inherently evil and clueless as to the struggles of anyone, is a very unnecessary and narrow minded caricature of racial/sexist mind-content to fuse with. As the author might say; viewing things in this simplistic way is a "very familiar pattern." I did like the chapter with some practical examples of how to apply ACT in certain situations such a training, etc. In summary, to be brutally honest, this book adds little other than hours of justification for the efficiency of ACT. Whether this is to function as defense, or hubris for ACT is difficult to say, but it certainly is of little benefit to the practically inclined reader.

10 people found this helpful

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The freedom of love in words

Steve wrote many books and articles, but this book reaches new dimensions. The capacity to deeply touch me, that have been working, developing and researching in the area for more than a decade and to also be able to resonate with my partner that is as far as possible one can be from psychology or psychotherapy is an art. And yes, this book expresses the heart of not only Steve, but the heart, hands, and art of our CBS community (Contextual Behavioral Sciences). To be able to put all the evidence in Part I in a way that is interesting for the general public is per see something unique. Then part 2 digs into how to do meaningful and relevant pivots in life with the 6 core processes for att finally in part 3 learn how to create your own way to increase your behavioral flexibility, the capacity to navigate difficulties in life without getting stuck in old and dysfunctional avoidance mechanisms and thus, being able to grow and blossom. Highly recommended! Graciela Rovner, PhD in Rehabilitation Medicine

9 people found this helpful

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Good as an action manual for those in need

I went into this book expecting a sort of history of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy combined with a pop-sci feel. While it certainly covers the history of psychotherapy and the development of ACT, it is very much also a workbook filled with actionable steps and exercises for people currently in need of an improvement in their mental well-being. One thing I appreciate about Hayes is that he is a dedicated scientist. He makes it clear where ACT has strong scientific support and also points out where the studies are lacking. I am not experienced enough with mental health methods to judge the validity of ACT versus CBT or any other approach, but I do like when an author not only has spent decades refining what he/she advocates but also is upfront about its limitations. While I didn't read this in order to address any current issue I was personally having, there are MANY exercises in the second and third parts of the book for those of you who are seeking help, and I know all of us can use a mental tune-up from time to time. Still, my general recommendation for this book would be not as something everyone should read (just b/c I gave it 5 stars), but rather as a tool to read when it becomes necessary (for anxiety, depression, etc.).

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wonderful read!

so many wonderful, heart warming stories! every chapter kept on surprising me with valuable insight and so many real life examples. This book is a valuable tool if you approach it with an open mind. If you have heard of ACT and want to know more about how to apply it to your own life, this is a must read. Thank you Dr. Hayes.

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A New Classic

Dr Hayes has summarizes the history of leading methodologies in our field and presents this information in a meaningful perspective. His work brings science and spirit together to provide the most effective methodologies. His work is respected and is popping up in other fields including behavior analysis. Dr Hayes is generous in sharing his methodologies as well as his research. It is exciting to find a resource for anxiety that I can use both professionally as well as personally. Although I enjoyed the audio version, I will order the printed book for future reference.

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Open up to what really matters

Having read and loved Steven’s previous work, this book takes those ideas and greatly expands both the science and how these pivots can create deeply positive impacts in your life. Highly recommend.

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Sacred!

After listening to this work, I bought a box of 25 copies to share with others. it's a sublime mix of science and the human heart!!!

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A Bit Too Much Self Help for Me

I chose this book to increase my acquaintance with this powerful therapeutic approach. It did not disappoint, but I found the self help exercises a distraction. Perhaps another of Hayes's books would have been a better choice. This book had the advantage of being very current and addressing the wide range of situations in which ACT can be helpful.

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His best book yet

Dr. Hayes delivers a powerful message throughout this book, relying on his own story as an example of the principles of ACT and their life changing properties. He is so vulnerable in this book that it will endear any reader. His openness also removes the iron curtain one can feel when reading a book by a mental health expert. It’s easy to think the author has it all together and is speaking from an ivory tower. But not so here. I can not recommend this more highly. I’ve already purchased tons of paperbacks for colleagues and friends. My only criticism is that the narrator mispronounces “tinnitus” and it made me twitch every time he said it. But that’s minor and no reflection on the content.