Evidence-based Therapies

New Harbinger’s books offer techniques drawn from the most well-researched, proven-effective therapeutic models available, and are written by the foremost experts in psychology. Our editorial team ensures each book is accessible and useful to those who need them most—regular people who are either struggling with physical or mental health conditions themselves or searching for help for their loved ones. Here are a few of the therapies our authors use.

CBT        ACT         DBT         MBSR          MBCT          CFT

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

is a name used for a broad range of psychotherapies that aim to help clients overcome dysfunctional thought patterns and behavioral patterns. These psychotherapies have several characteristics in common, for example, all forms of CBT are based on the idea that thoughts primarily affect our emotions and actions. As a result, CBT focuses on changing and controlling the way the client deals with his or her thoughts. CBT therapists may encourage clients to challenge the damaging beliefs and assumptions they have about themselves and their world. These therapies are popular with therapists and clients because they achieve rapid results and are time-limited. CBT has been proven effective for the treatment of general anxiety disorder, depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health issues. CBT is just as effective as medication for some disorders, such as anxiety and insomnia, and several studies indicate that it may be even more effective than medication in the long term.

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Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

is a type of psychological intervention that focuses on the development of psychological flexibility, or the ability to contact the present moment and accept negative thoughts without judgment. Created by Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, and Kelly G. Wilson, ACT focuses on directing behavior in ways that match clients’ core values. Unlike cognitive behavioral therapy, ACT does not stress the importance of controlling thoughts, feelings, or mental health disorder symptoms; instead, ACT therapists encourage their clients to accept their feelings unconditionally, even when those feelings are initially very painful. Therapists using ACT help their clients define a set of core values—goals or states of mind that are important to the client. With these core values in mind, the client commits to acting in ways that reinforce and further these values regardless of the limits and restrictions imposed on them by their condition. The six core principles of ACT are cognitive defusion, acceptance, contact with the present moment, observing the self, values, and committed action. ACT has been proven effective for the treatment of depression, anxiety, stress, addictions, eating disorders, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and myriad other mental health issues.

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Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

is a psychotherapeutic method originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. It has since been successfully adapted for use with other mental health disorders that stem from problems with emotional regulation, such as eating disorders and bipolar disorder. From a position of nonjudgmental acceptance and validation of their feelings, this therapy helps individuals cope with out-of-control emotions by using a set of four practical skills: how to be more effective in interpersonal relationships; how to tolerate and accept distressing situations more easily; how to regulate emotions; and how to use mindfulness-based skills to accomplish any of the preceding tasks.

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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

is an eight-week program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn that blends mindfulness meditation and yoga. It is based on the concept of mindfulness, or being fully engaged in the present moment rather than worrying about past or future events, an ancient concept in Buddhist psychology. Unlike traditional cognitive therapy, MBSR emphasizes focused attention to one’s thoughts without judgment. Originally developed for stress reduction, it has since been proven to be enormously helpful for patients with anxiety, panic, depression, chronic pain, and a wide range of medical conditions. MBSR can also help people without mental health or medical conditions improve the quality of their lives and overcome struggles and life changes. MBSR is offered in over 200 hospitals, medical centers, and clinics around the world, including the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, and the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine.

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Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

is a type of hybrid therapy that blends aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness techniques drawn from the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. In general, MBSR can be used by anyone, while MBCT is appropriate for those with specific mental health conditions. The goal of MBCT is to enhance client awareness so that he or she is better able to recognize emotional triggers and avoid being drawn into automatic patterns of thinking and behaving. MBCT is used for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, among other conditions, and is especially beneficial for clients who tend to relapse.

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Compassion-focused therapy (CFT)

Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the development of self-compassion in people who are prone to feelings of shame and self-criticism. Created by Paul Gilbert and his colleagues, this therapy is rooted in Mahayana Buddhist psychology, which considers compassion and mindfulness to be central to healing the mind. CFT develops four skills: compassionate attention, compassionate thinking, compassionate behavior, and compassionate feeling. This therapy has been proven effective for the treatment of eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, and can even benefit those who do not suffer from these disorders as it improves emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and nonjudgment.

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