Review by Doody’s of ACT for Interpersonal Problems: Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Schema Awareness to Change Interpersonal Behaviors


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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems: Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Schema Awareness to Change Interpersonal Behaviors.
New Harbinger Publications, 2012, $39.95.


McKay, Matthew, PsyD; Lev, Avigail, PsyD; Skeen, Michelle, PsyD


ISBN: 978-1-60882-289-8, 204 pages, soft cover.


Howard A Fox, MA (Fielding Graduate University)


This book provides insight into how schema and acceptance therapy, with the addition of mindfulness techniques, provide an effective approach to helping clients gain an awareness of, and to reconcile, disruptive interpersonal behaviors.


The purpose is to provide techniques for integrating schema and acceptance-based interventions and tools together with mindfulness techniques to treat individuals who are presenting with interpersonal problems. Therapies that include mindfulness techniques seem to be at the forefront of much scholarly and nonscholarly writing. The authors provide sufficient background, examples, and tools for interested readers and practitioners to begin incorporating these techniques into their practice.


Although intended for behavioral professionals at the MA, PhD level, this book also will be helpful to graduate students and professionally trained and accredited coaches who are familiar with an evidence-based approach.

The book notes the difficulties of treating individuals with interpersonal problems using commonly recognized approaches and details their shortcomings.


The authors proceed to introduce the 10 schemas that are associated with interpersonal issues and present easily reproducible tools that clients can begin to use to understand their specific situation and their method for coping. The book goes on to provide techniques to help clients understand the schema(s) that affect them, and to introduce them to techniques for changing their long-term patterns. Techniques and tools for moving the client toward recognizing the origin of their schema and to begin the transition to acceptance commitment therapy and mindfulness skills to change their situation are then presented. What surprised me was that much of the current scholarly, evidence-based, and lay practice writing about mindfulness has acknowledged the work of Jon Kabit-Zinn, but there is no mention of him in this book.


I found this book to be very helpful in providing an increased understanding of disruptive schema, acceptance and commitment therapy, and especially the mindfulness techniques. Books written at this level are highly accessible and serve to strengthen a belief in an evidence-based approach to serving clients.

Weighted Numerical Score: 80 – 3 Stars

"This is an excellent book for clinicians, and I believe that people could also buy it as a self-help book. Really a very nice and original contribution to the ACT literature, and a nice addition to my practice." —Shawn Smith PsyD, Author of "The User's Guide to the Human Mind"

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