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The Essential Guide to the ACT Matrix


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About the Author

Kevin L. Polk (Author)
Kevin L. Polk, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has been a practicing for twenty-three years, primarily helping veterans and others with troubling trauma memories. For the past eight years, he has dedicated himself to the study of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), spending close to 20,000 hours studying the philosophy and theory behind ACT, and learning and designing ACT interventions. He is a peer-reviewed ACT trainer who is passionate about teaching others how to use the matrix to increase psychological flexibility and valued living. Find out more at

Benjamin Schoendorff (Author)
Benjamin Schoendorff, MA, MSc, is a clinical psychologist with a passion for disseminating contextual psychotherapies. He is the author of two French language books, an ACT self-help book, and a clinician's manual based on the matrix diagram. A peer-reviewed acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer, he leads international workshops on integrating ACT and relationship-focused functional analytic psychotherapy through the use of the Matrix.

Mark Webster (Author)
Mark Webster is a registered psychotherapist with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Following a first career in the computer industry, he worked for ten years at a specialist personality disorder clinic in the National Health Service (NHS). His involvement in third-wave cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) began with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in 1997, which led to an early interest in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Webster has been an ACT trainer since 2002 and currently runs his own business specializing in acceptance and mindfulness therapies. In 2005, he founded the ACT special interest group within the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). In 2008, with Kevin Polk he created the ACT Matrix, a very user-friendly way of delivering ACT in a group setting. Webster's main interest is in finding ways to make ACT more widely available outside of traditional mental health settings. He has recently founded a community interest company called ACT Peer Recovery CIC to develop peer recovery in addiction and mental health. In addition to offering training in mental health, he regularly conducts ACT workshops for physical health practitioners, including nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. Webster has been practicing mindfulness for over twenty-five years and is current chair of the UKCP's Cognitive Psychotherapies College.

Fabian O. Olaz (Author)
Fabian Olaz, PsyD, is adjunct professor in clinical psychology and psychotherapies, and researcher and director of the Interpersonal Behavior Laboratory in the Faculty of Psychology, University of Cordoba (Argentina). He is an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and functional analytic psychotherapy supervisor and psychotherapist at the Integral Center of Contextual Psychotherapy (CIPCO), and a recognized trainer in Argentina, Brazil and other South American countries.


"For newcomers to ACT or experienced ACT clinicians, this is a much-needed, step-by-step guide to using the Matrix in psychotherapeutic sessions. It places this effective tool right at the heart of the clinical dialogue orienting client's behavioral change. Focused on daily clinical practice, it also illustrates how relational frame theory (RFT), the contextual behavioral approach to understanding human cognition that underlies ACT, can help progressively build better clinical skills and be more helpful to the client. It also extends the application of the Matrix to work with parents and children, couples, and in life coaching. What more could you ask for?"
--Giovambattista Presti, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychology, and coordinator of the undergraduate program in psychology at Kore University of Enna in Italy

"Tender, yet funny, this book is on the cutting edge of ACT. Offering page after page of practical interventions, newcomers will be presented with a clear frame of reference for doing ACT, and seasoned ACT practitioners will be exposed to fresh material that will excite and invigorate their practice. The six steps presented by the authors are simple, fun, easy to read, and always relevant to working directly with clients. This is my new clinical guide to doing ACT for my students."
--Timothy Gordon MSW, RSW, treats attachment and trauma in independent practice in Hamilton, ON, Canada; teaches ACT at McMaster University in the Clinical Behavioural Sciences program; presents workshops around the world; and is renowned for his passion as a presenter, and his experiential approach to training professionals

"The Matrix is a profoundly useful approach for teaching psychological flexibility. Simple and direct, it focuses on the most important dimensions in a way that cuts through the conceptual clutter--for ACT therapists and clients alike. Let me say it this way: if you care about ACT, you have to know the Matrix. It's not optional. And this is the best book yet for learning exactly what it is and how to use it. Highly recommended."
--Steven C. Hayes, PhD, codeveloper of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

"This book is the ultimate tool for training psychological flexibility in six basic but sophisticated steps. Clear guidelines are provided for practicing the ACT Matrix, present-moment and therapeutic relationship-focused clinical work, getting unstuck, sharing your own Matrix with clients, and going deeper with each step. Indispensable for anyone interested in delving more deeply into a functional contextual perspective, this volume can help clinicians do transformational work with individuals, couples, and families."
--Mavis Tsai, PhD, cocreator of functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP), and research scientist and clinical faculty at the University of Washington
"This lively and engaging book provides the most comprehensive, accessible, and practical guide yet to the Matrix model in everyday clinical work. Step by step, the authors present clear and useful examples of how the Matrix can increase awareness, psychological flexibility, and vitality in adult individuals, couples, and children. The Essential Guide to the ACT Matrix is just that; essential for anyone wishing to understand how to utilize, and even enjoy, this powerful new clinical tool with their clients."
--Christopher McCurry, PhD, clinical child psychologist in private practice, and author of Parenting Your Anxious Child With Mindfulness and Acceptance and Working with Parents of Anxious Children

"Whether you are new to ACT or experienced, you will find real clinical value in this book. As with the Matrix itself, there is nothing extraneous. Everything in it serves the clinician, and by extension the client, in psychotherapy. The writing is engaging and practical. The guidance is clear. The organization of the book is logical. Most compellingly, you will feel immersed in the authors' clinical wisdom and compassion."
--Gareth Holman, PhD, coauthor of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Made Simple
"Written in a skillful and highly readable fashion, this volume stands out as a valuable contribution to ACT practitioners looking for a structured, yet flexible, guide for doing brief and effective interventions. The authors have succeeded in providing a manual suitable for private practice, institutional work, and interdisciplinary integration."
--Michel. A. Reyes Ortega, PhD, director of the Contextual Behavioral Science and Therapy Institute in Mexico City, Mexico; and clinical professor of clinical behavior analysis at the National Institute of Psychiatry in Mexico City

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