Enough Already with Syndromes

Lists of signs and symptoms is not telling therapists or people in need of help want they need to know. But what is the alternative? Stefan Hofmann and I have a proposal.

Having a Hard Time Sleeping? Do Nothing!

Do you toss and turn in bed? Can’t get to sleep (or go back to sleep) no matter what you do? New research suggests there may be a path forward, and it isn’t what you think…

Flexibility and Love: Reaching Children With Cartoons

What should children do with painful thoughts and feelings? Some modern cartoonists are giving our children research-based guidance that can compete with toxic cultural messages.

The Orlando Massacre: Why We Hate

The killings in Orlando were an act of hate. But what are we going to do in response? We can fight hate with love, but only if we target the processes that underlie both.

How Many Deaths Will It Take? Prince Is Just the Latest

The news stories say Prince died of an overdose but it was not just of opiates: his death came from our collective overdose on the medicalization of chronic pain.
Google image. http://thescientificparent.org/

Overwhelmed: Why Trump is Happening Now

Trump supporters show more prejudiced attitudes, but does that explain Trumpism? If you look deeper, research suggests that the story is more nuanced.

The Zen of Tinnitus Acceptance

Noise for a lifetime meets it match: I don't give a damn

What I Learned About Anxiety by Giving a Talk on Anxiety

34 years ago, I screamed as I hit bottom inside my struggle with panic. By giving a talk on that experience, I learned three things that speak to the nature of anxiety and panic.

Gay Marriage, Racism, and Obamacare: The Challenge of Caring

The gay marriage struggle, modern racism, and the disregard for the poor shown in the opposition to Obamacare all have a common root. We are wired for empathy, but not for a sense of common humanity and emotional openness. The challenge is not that we do not care: it is that we do.

The Mindful Geek

The last 50 years have seen an explosion of anti-smoking campaigns as public health officials realize that smoking is a chief cause of cancer, cardiovascular illness and a host of other diseases. To some extent these campaigns have worked: We are seeing a dramatic reduction in smoking among younger generations. Good progress, but frankly it isn’t enough.

Moving Toward Compassion in the Psychological Sciences

We practice a kind of hypocrisy in the behavioral health area that’s not only embarrassing but counterproductive.


Just because you’re not sick, doesn’t mean you’re healthy. We are used to that idea in physical health. The clarity we have with physical health, however, vanishes once we get to our own emotional, psychological, and social life.

Is Self-Compassion More Important than Self-Esteem?

Is it important to love yourself? It seems that depends on how you do it.

Perpetrators Are People Too

In the wake of the NFL domestic violence scandal the media has exploded with questions about what we need to do governmentally, institutionally, and politically to better manage partner abuse. Some have called the current rash of stories a “national teaching moment". I couldn’t agree more. A new way forward is desperately needed.

Behavioral Science and Local Empowerment

The West African Ebola crisis is holding up a mirror to the world, and what it is reflecting back is worrisome. I was listening to the news reporting yesterday with a mixture of interest and horror. The horror was not just about what is going on in these West African countries.

Kissing the Banana Trunk

Among the problems countries like Sierra Leone face in the battle against Ebola, two strike the American mind as all but incomprehensible: 1.) the widespread skepticism that the disease actually exists and 2.) burial practices that to our eyes are not only clear disease vectors but even a little macabre. First, let’s do some perspective taking here.

The Unexpected Way That New Technology Makes Us Unhappy

Your smart phone could be making your miserable. Young Americans today are facing levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses that are higher than they were a generation ago. And the rest of us aren't doing much better.

Ferguson and Beheadings

The human mind did not evolve for the world we live in. Over the last twenty-four hours I’ve gazed at the image of a reporter about to be beheaded. Moments later in the same newscast I watched a mother and father express their rage, sadness, and dismay when their teenage boy was shot to death after an unarmed altercation with a police officer...

Remembering Sandy Hook

Research in ACT shows that social connection and caring requires enough perspective taking and empathy to feel what it is like to be someone else and enough psychological flexibility not to run away when that is hard. Horrific events such as the Sandy Hook disaster challenge us to do this instead of looking away, but the suffering of those who died demands nothing less.

The Science Beneath The Untethered Soul: Defusion

Bestselling spiritual self-help book describes defusion, one of the core processes of ACT.

The Mental Spider That Claims to Be Us

Like a spider weaving a web, our stories of who we are cover us like a second skin. The methods used by the acceptance and commitment therapy community and other mindfulness based methods will help you alleviate psychological suffering as you become more flexible in your own thinking.

Watching Porn: The Problem That Must Not Be Named

No one seems to want to talk about it or do anything about it, but sometimes watching porn can be a problem. When it is, psychology has had nothing to offer that was empirically tested. Until now. It is counter-intuitive, but it works.

Stepping Out of Automatic Pilot

Thoughts cause our actions, or do they? We need to stop treating out own minds with the automaticity of tying our shoes or any idiot with a microphone has access to buttons to control us. In between agreeing with thoughts and disagreeing with thoughts, there is a middle path. In the noisy culture we have created we need to learn how to get there.

Are We Too Smart for Our Own Good?

Intellectually, we are a bit smarter. Emotionally we seem dumber. What if both are for the same reason? 

Giving Thanks for the Journey

I received this message a few days ago from someone involved in the ACT work. It was a message so painful and yet courageous I thought some might find comfort and support from it on this important day: Between the ages of about 5 until about 8 and a half I was sexually abused on almost a daily basis. Throughout high school I had panic attacks and was dissociating. Today I am alive. I'm not just going through the motions. I can have relationships with people. I can feel the rain, and the sun...

Holding Back from Life

What makes us most human is what we care about. In a word, what matters most are our values. The problem is that what we care about is also where we get hurt – so we tend to hide out from our own caring. We keep it from others – if we are really good at it we keep it even from ourselves. If you've been holding back from life, what you need to do can be summarized into a single word.