Beyond mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) there are various applications of mindfulness across therapeutic modalities, including the use of mindfulness as a core skill in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and as it is woven into the core processes of the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) hexaflex. At New harbinger, we’ve stayed at the cutting-edge of mindfulness research, which has shown how mindfulness-based approaches can be applied beyond one’s internal experience, as in psychotherapy, such as in business, and on college campuses. Back in March, Arianna Huffington wrote about the benefits of mindfulness meditation in corporate America, while Forbes reported that Google is now providing employees with emotional intelligence training, offering “practical, real-world meditation you take with you wherever you go.”
And perhaps most notably (or at least we think so), New Harbinger published the first book on applying ACT in the workplace: The Mindful and Effective Employee: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Training Manual for Improving Well-Being and Performance, by renowned ACT trainers and researchers Paul E. Flaxman, PhD, Frank W. Bond, PhD, and Fredrik Livheim, MS.
“The book reflects the culmination of our training and research that stretches back some 15 years, right back to the development of Frank Bond’s pioneering ideas on the utility of applying and evaluating ACT interventions in the workplace,” said co-author Dr. Paul Flaxman.
Over the years, the authors have published summaries of the workplace training protocols they’ve used across a variety of CBT and occupational health journals. Having gathered substantial evidence that these approaches were extremely economical, relatively easily adoptable, and effective, the authors decided to compile a comprehensive account of the training, and thus The Mindful & Effective Employee was born.
Enlivened by the ACT research being done in Sweden, particularly by co-author Fredrik Livheim and his colleagues – who were working on exploring ways to deliver ACT interventions to a growing number of the Swedish working population – Flaxman and Bond were delighted to join forces with Livheim to include some of his pioneering work in the book.
“We were deeply concerned by the shocking prevalence rates of mental ill-health found among the workforces of most, if not all, industrialized nations. High levels of employee distress are not only a problem for the individuals concerned, but also costly for employing organizations who pay the price of having a workforce that is not functioning as well it could, and in terms of absenteeism and turnover. Improving psychological health among working age adults is one of the most pressing issues of the modern age, and we have found that ACT is one of the most effective approaches for this purpose,” said Flaxman.
The Mindful and Effective Employee offers a comprehensive program that yields:
- Increased awareness of present moment experience, improved concentration, and ability to sustain attention on current actions and tasks
- Reduction in the need to engage in stressful and unnecessary internal struggles with unwanted thoughts and feelings
- Enhanced sense of resilience in the face of challenging events and situations
- Improved ability to take effective action even when experiencing difficult thoughts and feelings
- Reduction in the power of “internal barriers” to goal achievement
- Greater awareness of deeply desired work and life values, goals, and actions
- Increased sense of direction, meaning, and purpose in people’s work and home lives
The book also presents the newest research supporting ACT interventions in workplace settings, featuring some of the most recent studies which show the utility of employee flexibility among a range of occupational groups. Particularly noteworthy research includes the application of ACT processes and strategies in customer service roles; the use of ACT to reduce and prevent work-related burnout; and exploration of the link between psychological flexibility and the quality of employees’ leisure time experiences.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be offering up nuggets of wisdom from the book, including research round-ups, an interview with the authors, and further discussion of why ACT is such a good fit for the working population.