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Steven C. Hayes (1948 [1]) is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is known for an analysis of human language and cognition (Relational Frame Theory), and its application to various psychological difficulties (his work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).

Hayes's work is somewhat controversial and was recently the subject of a lengthy story in Time Magazine<em> (see reference below), as well as related stories in the popular media around the world including, the Brazilian news magazine <em>Veja<em>, the German magazine <em>Emotion,<em> Oprah's magazine <em>O<em>, and other such outlets. His popular book <em>Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life<em>, rose to #20 on the list of all books in the Spring of 2006, and became the #1 self-help book in the US for a month, for a time outselling "Harry Potter" on Amazon. What seems to be most controversial, at least in the popular media (as is shown by the title of the piece in <em>Time:<em> "Happiness is not Normal"), is his claim that pain is ubiquitous and dominantly linked to normal language processes rather than abnormality. This has in particular placed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy somewhat at odds with mainstream Cognitive Behavior Therapy and empirical clinical psychology, despite the fact that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a form of behavioral and cognitive therapy. A number of similar methods have recently emerged in cognitive behavior therapy, however, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, suggesting that there is an ongoing struggle between traditional and new methods.

Dr. Hayes has been President of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology and of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (now known as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies). He was the first Secretary-Treasurer of the American Psychological Society (now known as the Association for Psychological Science), which he helped form. An author of nearly 30 books and 400 articles, in 1992 he was listed by the Institute for Scientific Information as the 30th "highest impact" psychologist in the world during 1986-1990 based on the citation impact of his writings during that period.

He has been married three times and has four children, ranging in age from 38 to 1.


  • Cloud, J. (February 13, 2006). "Happiness is Not Normal. (Subtitle: What is the best form of psychotherapy? How can you overcome sadness? Controversial psychologist Steven Hayes has an answer: Embrace the pain)." <em>Time Magazine, pp. 59-67.
  • Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (Eds.). (2001). Relational Frame Theory: A Post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Plenum Press. ISBN 0-306-46600-7
  • Hayes, Steven C.; Spencer Smith (2005). Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, New Harbinger Publications.
  • Hayes, Steven C.; Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson (2003). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy : An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change, The Guilford Press.

External linksEdit

  • Much of this work is available on, the website for the

Association for Contextual Behavioral Science which is a scientific society with about 1,000 members interested in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Relational Frame Theory. [1]


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