Dr Steven Hayes on ACT, OCD and Living A Meaningful Life

In episode 4 of The OCD Stories podcast I got the honour of chatting with Dr Steven C Hayes. Steve is the founder of Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He has written 35 books and close to 600 academic articles.

Dr Steven C Hayes

Steve is an engaging, funny and enlightened man. In our conversation he goes into a lot of detail around his research showing the validity of ACT as a therapy for OCD. We talk about the ins and outs of applying ACT for OCD. He explains how his own pain has driven his compassionate research. It was a real pleasure to talk with Steve as ACT has helped my own recovery from OCD but also because he’s a great guy who has a lot to offer. I know you will get a lot from this podcast. Enjoy and start accepting!


To listen on iTunes click the button, or go to iTunes and search “The OCD Stories“. If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe and leave a review. It helps us reach more people who need to hear these remarkable stories of recovery!

You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.

Show notes:

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) research depth (3:20)

ACT vs CBT in the research (4:40)

Steve’s OCD, anxiety and research story (6:00)

Why and how Steve came up with ACT (12:50)

Relational frame theory (RFT) (15:45)

How Eastern philosophy links with ACT (20:50)

The importance of using our minds without our minds using us (23:20)

Psychology within the media, marketing and technology (26:00)

Getting ACT into schools (28:45)

Tinnitus story to understand ACT (39:00)

Why you shouldn’t try to stop thoughts. Instead accept them (46:20)

Accept your emotions, not just your thoughts (47:20)

Can you beat OCD? (48:00)

Finding meaning in suffering (51:00)

ACT and Logotherapy (53:20)

How to accept your thoughts and defuse from them – including exercises (58:25)

Steve’s thoughts on meditation (1:12:50)

Using ACT to get rid of physical compulsions (1:20:30)

How ACT is gentler than ERP, and mental health vs illness (1:26:40)

Why you are one of the lucky ones (1:44:20)

Find out more about Dr Steven Hayes:

Steve’s site – http://www.stevenchayes.com

Steve’s books (Amazon UK/Amazon USA)

Get out of your mind and into your life (Amazon UK/Amazon USA)


Resources mentioned:

Marianne Williamson quote –

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The worry trap by Chad LeJeune

Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl 

Increasing Willingness to Experience Obsessions: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Michael P. Twohig, Steven C. Hayes, Akihiko Masuda 

To your success,
Stuart and The OCD Stories team

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