Transcript for Episode 141 – Dr. Steven C. Hayes – Psychology, Tools for controlling Anxiety, Panic, Negativity

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for listening ladies and gentlemen

welcome we’ve got a phenomenal show

planned for you guys this evening we’re

gonna be speaking with dr. Steven C

Hayes so if you struggle with anxiety

panic attacks self-defeating thought

patterns or if you’re looking for ways

to actively improve the relationship to

your thinking and your mind this is

gonna be a show that you want to hear so

sit back grab a drink and enjoy this

conversation the human experiences in

session my name is Xavier katana my

guest for today is dr. Steven C Hayes

dr. Hayes is a psychologist who has

spent his career analyzing human

language and cognition he achieved his

PhD in clinical psychology at West

Virginia University and he is currently

a Nevada foundation professor in the

behavior analysis program at the

University of Nevada dr. Hayes is the

author of 44 books and over 600

scientific papers he’s ranked by Google

Scholar as among the top 1,500 most most

cited scholars in all areas of study dr.

Hayes it’s a pleasure welcome to hxp

really happy to be here with you saver

so I’m I’m really amazed by this book

dr. Hayes I mean you’ve outdone yourself

I ripped through it I thought I thought

it would take me some time to read this

book because it’s about 300 pages or so

but I really really enjoyed the reads so

before we get there though let’s let’s

start with a little bit of your history

who you are how you got into this line

of work tell us that give us a little

brief you know introduction about who

you are and what you do please well if

you’d asked me that early in my career

I’d say you know I’m a clinical

psychologist I’m interested in cognition

and trying to help people but early on

in my academic career I developed the

panic disorder which gradually took away

almost everything over about a two or

three year period and in that experience

it really challenged me in terms of what

am I here for what am i up to and I had

to have that sense of almost losing

everything before I could find an answer

to that question and what I found was on

the other side of the panic and maybe we

can talk a little bit in the

conversation about a liberated mind as

to kind of how that turn was made but

what I found when I turned towards the

anxiety itself was a person who had

watched domestic violence in his home

and had made an early decision that I’m

gonna do something about it

and felt that eight-years-old completely

inadequate to that that kind of

suppressed those memories I kind of knew

them I could have said them and so you

know I think at the beginning of my

career I would have answered that

question in the way I said but really

what I was up to was trying to build my

Vita and get grants and be famous and

and I think really the person that

you’re talking to right now you know

what I’m up to is trying to make a

difference in the lives of those who

suffer and empower people to turn

towards what brings meaning and purpose

in their life and the thing that’s

different maybe the one thing is


as enough of a geek scientist when I

really walked through that

transformational process myself mm-hmm I

did a couple randomized trials I quit

early on I mean the idea that you’d turn

towards you know Eastern ideas in the

early 80s mmm there wasn’t the Jon

kabat-zinn it’s out there to hold your

hand to kind of walk you through it you

know there wasn’t Lenna hands there

wasn’t you know it was a very different

world and I was enough of a hippie from

California to know I was now in the

strange land of you know Eastern

traditions and the kind of things my

entire generation explored right and so

what I did is spent almost 20 years

really in almost invisible trying to get

down to the processes that lead to these

life expansion type moments and we came

up with this core we call psychological

flexibility and then finally I wrote it

up right around the turn of the century

and it’s now I was 310 randomized trials

303,000 and 500 Studies on it and an

entire community around the world tens

of thousands of people millions of

copies of act books that are out there

and so and what’s out there is this

simple story of the 20% that maybe can

do the 80% then that’s what I try to put

in the book I tell that personal story

the science story but then I also try to

reach out other people were reading it

and lift them up you don’t have to get

there through anxiety depression it’s

after all you need to do is show up as a

human being and these processes are

relevant to you and to the people you

love and that’s what’s in the book yeah

I mean I I love that there’s so much

that you went through in that little

introduction that was supposed to be

brief but I mean I I loved your story

and I loved how much how committed you

are to this research and it really does

seem like you are you know devoted to

helping other people with their

struggles in it it kind of began with

your your own you know your own

challenge with this I mean a your own

personal challenge with this and and it

started but with your own anxiety attack

would you

or yeah I think the real gut-check was

when I started having panic attacks my

first one was in a department meeting

watching full professors fight as I say

in a way that only wild animals and full

professors are capable of but it touched

something I didn’t know it was touching

but it you know I I raised my hand to

just ask them to stop and by the time

they turned to me three or four minutes

of fighting later I literally couldn’t

make sound come out of mouth I said

they’re like a you know like a goldfish

going bad you know

you know I’m an untenured assistant

professor sitting in this room and just

humiliated so my first panic attack was

you know terrifying to me and

humiliating and and I did if you

actually know people have had panic

histories when you visit it and you

realize how far anxiety can take you

down in terms of your ability even to do

the simplest thing functionally like

make a sound come out of your mouth you

know the natural human thing to do just

to watch out for it scan for it

fight it hide it try to minimize it all

of which just feed it and then you it’s

just like you had a baby tiger and

you’re feeding it chunks of meat and

you’re waiting for it to go away and it

gets bigger and bigger and bigger and

eventually it wants to eat you and

that’s what happened to me over a

three-year period I got down to the

point where I couldn’t get in front of

five undergraduates and give a lecture I

mean I’d have to show them films if

somebody called me and asked me to give

a talk my graduate students gave that

talk and I’d tell a story about what a

wonderful mentor I am then promoting

their career and yeah that’s the ticket

but it turns out you can’t run fast

enough to run away from your own history

yeah thankfully I didn’t find a way out

but it would find a way in and it’s an

ancient way I mean it’s in all her

wisdom traditions or spiritual

traditions but what Western science can

do not have to disrespect but it can

pull it at its joints and do things that

you can do in minutes that can put on

the factory floor things that maybe are

a bit of what’s inside even what you

know monks and meditators and folks have

been doing for thousands of years now

that it’s a substitute for it I’m not

saying that I’m just saying we need to

be there for people in many different

ways and maybe Western science is an

important way to mmm-hmm I mean there’s

there’s many places that I could start

here but let’s start with something that

you mentioned you you mentioned act and

that that stands for acceptance and

commitment therapy so I mean this is and

and then also our of T which is a

relational frame theory so what is what

is difference I mean first it was rft

that you coined first and then act and

what it was a difference in where those

mean please well our F T is the basic

science of cognition act which also

means acceptance and commitment training

so because you can do it with sports and

business and things like that and you

can put it inside the healthcare system

with the word therapy but really what

we’re dealing with is just how the mind

works and that’s relevant everywhere

it’s relevant right now between you and

I it’s relevant to the people listening

to this so you don’t have to have the t

Werribee therapy it’s also training but

act as a set of methods that use

acceptance and mindfulness processes and

commitment and change processes together

to produce what we call psychological

flexibility but underneath it in that 15

16 year gap where we did the early

studies and then we went silent as far

as outcomes

mm-hm because I didn’t think I should

just kind of rush out the door and say

hey you know some of the stuff monks

have been doing for thousands of years

is probably a good idea I wanted to pull

it at its joints and put it out into the

world in a different way and part of

what I wanted to do is understand why is

the mind like that sure why does it work

like that sure and we’ve tried I’m out

of the behavioral tradition I’m kind of

a probably some ears will close when I

say this but I’m kind of a Neos canarian

and I really respected what he did BF

Skinner if you know but from rats to

Walden to is what I respected you know

this kind of visionary

can we get tight principles that would

take you all the way up to being able to

organize communes okay do an old hippie

and you know Walden 2 was so exciting

utopian novel he wrote but he didn’t

figure out language and cognition and

within the behavioral wing we’ve tried

for 300 years to make Association work

and if you understand what that is like

it into the II think of it like chalk on

one hand you put it on your other hand

and knowledge chalks on the other hand

Association has to do a time and place

bringing things together or they’re

similar in form they’ve the same color

of the same shape the same smells

something is similar physically that’s

it ok you can’t build a model of mine

that way and we’ve tried and tried and

tried and what I instead I could

proposed and I might even use the word

discover so if there’s anything you’ll

get me to say that self aggrandizing is

probably that sentence is that no the

mind is organized why your family has

organized hmm it’s organized by

relationships mm-hmm what difference

does that make

well here’s the difference if I imagine

let’s say your right hand is a toxic

thought or a memory or an emotion I

could imagine that you know if I could

just cordon it off and it wouldn’t rub

off on my left hand which might be my

work my relationships you know my

sexuality my peace of mind

I could imagine I could manage that well

but what if it’s like this imagine a

picture of a big family and they’re all

related but you don’t know who this new

person walking in the door is related to

okay okay and I tell you that’s Suzy’s

second cousin on the mother on her

mother’s side you now know the

relationship between everybody okay and

that person okay and if you do the math

on it you have things like you start

getting pages of zeros as to how many

possible relationships come with the

tiniest little input if you think of

your mind more like you’d think of a

picture of your family and you’re gonna

clean that mess up really you know if

you come in let’s say with oh don’t

that think this you now have created

hundreds of thousands of new

relationships and you can’t manage that

you take anything that anything it’s

important to you and let’s just take

this one one that you like a bit you can

find things about that that you don’t

like sure yeah of course

so you’re of two lines and about

everything and it’s vast and it’s moving

and it’s even happening in your dreams I

mean even when you’re not thinking about

it these things are moving around or

like you know it’s active families of

spiders all weaving their web so what we

brought to the vision is a we can use

that to increase intelligence to work

with kids who don’t have a sense of self

to do really wonderful things when you

understand how the mind works but the

other thing is instead of trying to

clean it up which in the behavioral and

cognitive behavioral tradition that’s

what we’ve tried to do you know detect

the irrational thought dispute it

challenge it change it instead we better

learn the tools to put your mind on a

leash to notice your thoughts without

getting entangled with them do not have

them dominate and dictate to you so that

you have some flexibility as to which

kind thoughts are worth your next life’s

moments attention mm-hmm behavior and

that turns out is vastly safer and more

effective than detecting challenging

disputing and changing that gets you to

focus on things that are already hard

you know goofy thoughts you have scary

memories you have etc I’m not saying

don’t think about it I’m saying think

about it learn from it and then attend

to what’s of importance and that formula

is a powerful one and it turns out

deliberates people and every domain in

which they apply it so okay let me let

me try to unpack this I mean that was

quite a lot so I mean your brain is at

any given moment creating these

relationships at all times two things

both good and bad that are happening

within your cognition within your active

mind at all times like so it’s so

whether you think something bad or good

it’s it’s kind of copying itself

and you’re moving through this sort of

process that is is always creating this

these relationships am i close to this

right now so yeah so the better way to

kind of get using your analogy a leash

around how we’re going to control this

is not to affect the thoughts themselves

but affect our relationship to how we’re

gonna let that thought determine the

next thing that we do or how it’s going

to affect the next thing that we choose

to think about yes

although little asterisk once that is

possible then it is safe I mean you can

push into creative new thoughts it’s

such a we want new thoughts it’s not

like the form of a thought doesn’t

matter but it’s it’s almost like for

example if somebody’s afraid of a

territory let’s take take me as an

example when I’m struggling with panic

you know I was doing relaxation tapes of

course what I do I was doing cognitive

therapy of course that’s the way I was

trained well yeah but there’s this

phenomenon called relaxation induced

panic and here’s here’s the way it works

from the inside out oh I’m doing a lot

better yeah yeah that tape must have

really worked

I’m feeling really calm I was nervous

last week in the same situation but now

what was that is that a little did my

heart just good yeah now I’m feeling a

look Oh God

but now I’m with how far away is the

door boom right you know so I actually

got to the point literally I was

understand I’m a clinical psychologist

I’m trying to do therapy where if

somebody said the word we had axed I

would get anxious and then if they said

the word in motion that would remind me

of the different kinds of emotion and

then I’d get anxious and then if they’d

started talking about their body I’d get

anxious and they know eventually all

roads lead to Rome you know we can do it

right here right now you want to play

just do it a little oh my god okay yeah

put me on the spot me let’s go for it

okay okay so let’s just take a common

phrase mary had a little lamb yeah sure

okay so I’m gonna say it again but this

savor it’s really important that you

come up with something that doesn’t have

anything to do with lamb at all this

isn’t related to it in any possible way

okay okay and everybody listening give

it a shot okay we have a little podcast

awesome okay now here’s the problem I’m

gonna say some words hot cold right sure


black yeah we’re going to the opposite

white right podcast just sitting at home

a little yeah yeah it’s a lamp yeah it’s

interesting yeah I like that what we

only did it once I should have done it

twice that cemented and I’m guarantee as

some of your listeners got to lamb and

you know you look at OCD or things like

that you know when you try to suppress

and push out you’ve created a new

relationship now it’s a relationship of

is nada or is different from or is

opposite – mm-hmm but it’s still a

relation and it’ll remind you so that’s

the difference between association and

relation and it gives us an appreciation

of how to program the mind we’ve done

wonderful things with that inside the

research community that we built but

also men how hard this thing this is

this is like a fractal you know just

kind of drawing pictures on its own with

this little formulas being repeated

repeated repeated and it has a life of

its own you literally will see it in

your dreams you’ll see connections

emerge in your dreams and you didn’t do

that just you noticed it so it’s good

it’s wonderful it’s a lot of where our

creativity comes from but it’s

hellacious when you start applying logic

to a process that’s psycho logic mmm-hmm

wow it’s incredible um yeah it really

reflects in the stuff that you’ve

written about and it I mean it really is

resounding it I’m not sure you know how

much Western medicine or Western

peuta Commodus n’ western psychology is

really adapting you know this model that

you’ve created or you discovered but

there’s you know there’s one thing one

of the main things that you talk about

in your book which is something like

that you call pivoting you know so what

is the the process of pivoting and you

know like give us the example of that

and the definition of that sure well i

pivoting as this concept its recent

inside the act work but that inside our

struggles is a yearning there’s

something we deeply want we may not even

know what it is but you can do the

research to find out what it is and a

lot of that research has been done and

so part of the message is you know when

you’re doing the most screwed up thing

that you can think of it’s not because

you’re a bad person it’s not because

you’re broken it’s not because you’re

damaged is because you’re a human being

and you’re doing the logical reasonable

sensible pathological thing and and

you’re the problem isn’t what you want

isn’t what you yearn for deeply not

superficially on unpack that okay but

it’s the solution itself that’s the

problem and the metaphor of a pivot the

pivot is you know the pin and the hinge

is the French word for it is that you

actually are able to move in a positive

direction more readily if you have

movement in a negative direction you

know that from dancing if your partner’s

moving this way you can swing them

around that way if they’re standing dead

still you know it’s like get moving you

know because you know we can’t play

together unless you’re moving right well

your oving when you’re suffering right

you’re moving it’s just you have the

wrong solution for the right problem and

if we can take that energy and and note

it and see what it is and then learn

this counterintuitive kind of twisty

flexibility alternative that’s inside

the research and that I walk through in

a liberated mind you swing that energy

in a new direction and very quickly I’m

in minutes you know what I went through

my panic attack my bottom one where I

think I’m having a heart attack and it’s

2:00 and 3:00 in the morning and I’m

sitting there I’m should I call the

emergency room you know I have to call

you know I have that voice with an

saying you’ve got Drive in this


make the call you’re dying and I had all

that you know the weight of my chest I’m

that other and somewhere in there I

realize I’m not having a heart attack

I’m having another panic attack and in

that horror that I couldn’t even trust

my own freaking body anymore Wow

you know I’m sitting there literally the

tears coming down that face you know I

caught that there was a voice telling me

to to run and fight and hide I think

it’s always we all have it’s that

critical I call it the dictator within

right the goal finger wagging you’re not

doing it right you’re not level you have

to earn your way in what’s the matter

with you

you’ll be okay if but you’re not there

yet because that voice and I said out

loud I don’t know who you are but

apparently you can make me hurt you can

make me suffer mm-hmm but I’ll tell you

one thing you cannot do you can’t make

me turn from my own experience you can’t

do it and I stood up inside a promise

that said never again

I’m not gonna run from me well the

reason I tell that story is there’s a

pivot and I’ll unpack it in terms of

quickly in terms of what it is it’s a

simple kind of on pivot okay but within

I mean really this sounds kind of weird

but I’d say within 60 seconds as I stand

up I know my life is different I just

know it’s different because I saw

something that was a hundred and eighty

degrees from what it’s been three years

chasing and so here’s what was the

yearning what was that trying to do well

I think one of the yearnings there was I

was trying to feel and I tell the story

in there of you I mentioned earlier you

know the domestic abuse in the home and

of course a kid would try to run away

from that

there’s nothing you can do with it you

can’t step in between your parents when

they’re hitting each other or

threatening to or when dad’s drunk or

and so I just hid under my bed and cried

but I’m not eight anymore I’m 28 or 38

or you know as different points in my

life where this has been relevant that

night on the carpet and in my thirties

and you know running and hiding under

the bed isn’t needed anymore but what is

the yearning I would say it was the

yearning to feel and what I’ve been

trying to do is feel only good stuff but

eventually that means you can’t feel at

all and you just sort of try to live

life with you let’s be like if you made

your fingertips numb so that you

wouldn’t feel the sandpaper mm-hmm then

you can’t feel the silk sheets you can’t

feel your lover’s face you know you you

lose so much right by that move right

and so if we take that yearning to feel

and instead doing what the mind says

which is I got a solution only feel the

good stuff feelings don’t come packaged

that way because right inside your love

for your child is the fear that maybe

something harmful would happen to them

you know right inside your love for your

parents is knowing that they’re gonna

die I mean if you walk through anything

that it brings joy to you you know now

where your vulnerability is where your

wound ability is that’s what that word

means in other words where you can be

hurt so if you don’t want to be hurt and

you got to be numb the happy numb is not

happy so what we do instead with that

pivot of acceptance that’s the one of

the six we take that energy that you’re

going to feel and you spin it around to

instead of doing what the mind says you

can only feel the good stuff how about

if we do this other form of feeling good

feeling good I’m not feeling good

feeling good means eventually don’t feel

at all we’ve actually seen this in the

research it’s pathetic

you start running from sadness you’re

sweating from anxiety you have to run

from joy do you know that people who run

from anxiety

cannot feel joy and sit inside it very

quickly it has to be detuned because

it’s a threat the bigger you are the

harder you fall maybe we’ll be betrayed

maybe they didn’t really mean it maybe

you’ll feel later yeah it’s a success

now but you know your mind tells you

that and so the concept of pivoting for

one thing is just to validate that we’re

doing our best but we’re trying to

manage this evolutionary mismatch with

our problem solving symbolic mind and

could be instead fine what the energy is

what the earning is and move towards a

way of satisfying that that’s real and

science there is helpful as heck because

you can just do the studies and there’s

some ways that trick you into a little

bit now and less later and as others

were a little harder now but a lot more

later let’s do the second one Wow

I mean there’s there’s so much to go

through and just that as you were

speaking you know there’s so much in

myself that I’m processing about the way

that I handle my own you know scenarios

of anxiety of panic and you know when I

feel nervous or you know and something

that I’ve been reading lately is I

wonder what you would think about this

is this method that sort of talks about

facing the fear you know like accepting

accepting it and moving into it moving

through it and really allowing yourself

to feel the entirety of it what do you

think about that I think that’s awesome

however we have some pretty good data on

this that in order to do that you need a

set of additional flexibility pivots why

because I’ll give you an example I bet

you some people and I bet you you’re not

once a Rabb I know you know this heard

what you just said to say okay if my

face might fear my fear will go away and

when my fear goes away then I’ll be able

to live a more flexible and useful in a

vital life

no that’s not what that means it means

if you because and it’s right in our

language we have to get through it we

have to get beyond it we have to get

over it no you don’t you have to get

with it

it’s in your history it’ll show up at

other times maybe or maybe not let’s

find out let’s let the future decide

that but meanwhile can we open up and

feel fully and without needless defense

and then have the skills when your mind

says oh I can’t you can thank your mind

for the help notice that the language

organ inside your head is doing its job

you probably don’t need that help from

them because it doesn’t know how to feel

and it just knows how to problem-solve

so thank you I’ve got this covered I’ll

do the feeling part you do the taxes

part and the fix the car part you know

if you do the you know deciding on the

investment part I’m gonna do the feeling

part the same way you know what are you

opening up to the world of emotion for

what’s the purpose of it and my guess is

is that your yearning for some sort of

self-directed meaning you sense that in

those emotions you have is a history

that might really be useful to you and

knowing how to Nagant navigate your

relationships your challenges your job

and enrich it and kind of ground it well

then we better get that in what is this

what is this in the service of if you

don’t do that the mind will say I know

what’s in the service of getting rid of

fear well now you’ve got two messages

let’s get with the fear in order to not

get with a fear no it’s yours with

yourself right so what’s in the book is

yeah we walk through and I resonate to

the one you raise very much we walk

through it but because we’ve done the

science geeky stuff as to how they all

fit together we have a pretty complete

set I mean there’s other things you can

add for sure but this set works and

we’ve done the studies to show if you

pull out any of the elements of the set

it doesn’t work as well it’s like six

sides of a box if you started just

taking sides of the box away by the time

you got one or two

out of the box you barely have a box

anymore and it’s all floppy and soggy

like so could we gradually assemble what

we need to be able to do what you said

in a healthy way and the book would walk

through that if you’re into what you

just said it’s awesome the book the

written mind will help you in that

because I don’t care about whether you

call it Act or not I mean that’s not the


it’ll all be forgotten but can’t we put

processes in people’s lives that matter

put it in the culture in a way that your

children’s children will have it even if

they don’t know you had anything to do

with it that would be cool okay okay so

dr. Hayes let me let me pause you a

little bit let’s let’s let’s change

gears a little bit I want to talk about

you know something that you mentioned

and I mean I want to talk about the

previous understandings of like

psychology through Freud’s work and

Jung’s work yeah and you know Maslow

like what were those people doing right

and what were those people doing wrong

well the ones you mentioned we’re what

they were doing right is they would not

accept minimization they would not say

oh it’s only you know only one I don’t

want to hear the rest of the sentence if

you want to talk to me about human

complexity and say it’s only stop at

those words because I know what’s coming

is is reductionistic and minimizing and

you know my hero my original hero in

psychology as high school student when I

decided I was going to be a psychologist

with Maslow and what I loved about him

was the peak experiences is the idea

that psychology could be about something

more than like you know solving mental

health problems it could be about

oriented towards a life worth living and

you know but but or an Maslow said yeah

but to do that we can’t just use the

normal methods of Western experimental

science I think that was a mistake I

know I he said it I even agree with him

for the era but we didn’t have a good

way of thinking about and studying the

mind at the time so what people were

doing is treating everything simply as


behavior like non-human animals period

end of story

and that’s actually my tradition as a

Neos canarian that and that was wrong

that was just wrong and so his pushback

on Western science methods of a

traditional sort and wanted to go more

into qualitative methods and things like

that I don’t think was enough of a good

science filter for knowing what works

and what doesn’t

Freud the same way and you know Freud

made the decision early on if so much

what he wrote about was just awesome I

mean it’s really cool and it and it has

held up some of it some of it but but he

made the decision early on we’re gonna

vet my methods by the clinical case

study method you know so you know little

Hans said to his mum would you touch my

wiggler and that meant that he had a

secret no you know and and the glasses

he was afraid of reminded him or that

was on the horse the blinders on the

horse reminded him of the glasses of his

father because his father would have

gone after his you know what if he knew

he was interested in having mom touches

would learn you know oh please

it could be right but you’re not gonna

get so the concern I had with those is

that they’re just they don’t give you

tight processes they Orientis human

experiences that require analysis and

they’re they’re cool sometimes and

they’re misdirect sometimes so you can’t

get to the 20% that does the 80% you end

up with lots of things that turn out to

be not that important and so they’ve had

a hard time standing up to the modern

era of show me with data almost too much

I mean I really kind of weep for what’s

happened is or humanistic traditions

that I feel so attached to and

appreciative of because they were

helpful to me when I needed it but what

I so we’ll have tried to do not just me

you’ll know from the book that I’m

telling a science story that’s about a

whole community and I’ve spent a lot of

years trying to empower other people to

step forward and to try to kind of lead

from behind and that community has dug

down and

some of these issues of human complexity

in a way that if you get a freudian or

you know somebody out of the Maslow

tradition to come and do some act

training they leave smiling because they

feel as though yeah this is the real

deal this is human complexity these

folks are really trying hard to do it

without any this is just or that’s only

sentences and so I I think Western

science at its best can simplify without

reducing and minimizing and that’s the

game I want to play hmm yeah it’s I mean

it’s really fascinating to hear your

perspective about you know what’s what

history is said and you know how that’s

transformed now to where we are now you

know so for someone who’s struggling

with with something like this like what

what would you give them as an example

to do like what would be what would be

something that you would do to give

someone you know a practical way to move

through or out of you know an anxious

place well let me give an example of one

of the other pivots which is that we

come in I think just even before human

language wanting to understand but once

you get language going by the time

you’re 3 you know that do you know the

data this with children on the

schoolyard preschool and kindergarten

errs what do they fight about the most

and you might think of beagle who gets

the favorite toy no no it’s who’s right

you know who is Jonah Doug I mean and if

you don’t know what I’m talking about

just go to your staff room and listen or

go to you know we’re still doing it we

just grew up but that DOM and that’s

once language gets going and it’s so

important we need to teach ourselves to

think consistently you kind of know if

you do a multiple-choice test and you

don’t know anything about the area good

test takers can get above chance levels

on anything because they can see if I

answer it this way the

next question has to be answered that

way and you can kind of you know look

for the coherence this is make sense hmm

yeah well here’s the thing if it’s like

a big spider web you’re not gonna get

coherence that way so could I take I

wrote over a little bit that nice there

is no it’s okay please keep going

well if you take something like somebody

who’s suffering with anxiety and they

have a thought like I’ll never be able

to function normally hmm you know and

their heart sinks and it fits so much of

the data look I’ve struggled for years

and it simplifies things it’s coherent

as soon as you do that your cognitive

world starts changing do you know you

start filtering out even what your

sensory system gives you so wait a

minute so what exactly are you doing in

that moment you’re buying into a

particular thought that organizes

thousands and thousands of bits of data

into a coherent set in it so now you’ve

got a confirmatory bias it’s going to be

easier to see data that suggests that

you’re never gonna be able to okay

you’re gonna be buying into that story

and you want to be right after all

you’re smart you should know your own

life and you start actually defending it

so know what cognitive bias that proves

exactly what you’re thinking yes like a

mindset or concept of iesson that and

and then once that happens it becomes

almost self-perpetuating as a life of

its own becomes like a little core

schema and it’s sort of sucking things

like a black hole of other thoughts get

pulled in and okay so what we’re gonna

do instead is we’re gonna do diffusion

and what that is is taking the yearning

for coherence finding a way to take that

language monster that metaphorically is

like the words you know I’ll never be

able to live a life worthwhile

if you wrote it on your hand and put it

right in front of your eyes so that

that’s all you could see

metaphorically that’s the situation

we’re in and what we’ll do is use

methods that will take your hand and

kind of push it out two feet out in

front of you it doesn’t go away it’s

still there it’s in your history mary

had a little podcast right and there it

is sure sure but so right yeah so it

gives me a different perspective on yeah

well change your relationship to it so

let me give you a practical example I

know it sounds goofy but just try it

sure if somebody’s struggling with a

thought like that distill it down to a

short sentence think it again on purpose

notice how it punches you normally and

then let’s do this deliberately to the

tune of happy birthday oh no sing it

just sing it just trust me on this okay

mentally okay unless you’re a good

singer not there but okay yeah I

understand what you’re saying the end of

that song this hand that’s right in

front of your face will be at least

several inches out hmm okay and no you

can’t walk around singing off your goofy

thoughts but one of 300 methods that

have been written about and many of them

studied word repetition distill it down

to a single word say that word over and

over again for at least 30 seconds at

about rate of one per second that fast

in 30 seconds that thought will have

significantly left less believability

and it’ll produce less distress takes

you 30 seconds to try it yeah and be

careful on or here’s another one um say

the thought in a funny voice mm-hmm you

know I’ll never be able to live maybe

Donald Duck could say oh man that’s


well and when I do this with clients

than Monday even I talked about this in

one of my TEDx talks I finished with

picture how young you were when you

suffered with thoughts like that

really take the time to picture what you

look like from those school pictures etc

mentally put that little kid in front of

you take this scary thought you have

that you’re really being punched hard by

whatever it is and listen as that child

says that in his or her little voice as

young as you can go when you still had

thoughts kinda like that and listen and

then look at what does that pull from

you and my guess is it doesn’t pull

wanting to slap the kid or tell him to

shut up I mean things you would do to

the person in the mirror and an instant

you would never do and so do you deserve

less you know bring so this these things

are not ridicule methods these diffusion

methods they’re pry the monster off your

face put the dictator within on a leash

so that we can have this wonderful

symbolic tool without letting it have us

I love it love it love it I mean it’s

it’s such a great just simple way to

reframe what’s going on in your brain

and I think it creates enough and of an

interrupt like a pattern interrupt that

it will you know change your thinking or

at least the way your brain is

processing all of all of that sort of

neurological yeah you know chaos in your

mind there’s a really cool

neurobiological studies coming on this

like for example there’s one with

chronic pain where you can look at the

kind of how sensory motor information

comes up into the brain and this kind of

these heavy cognitive structures about

how much pain I’m in that’s never going

to go away I’m not going to be able to

live my life again I’m never going to be

a you know whole again you know my life

is ruined but all that kind of stuff or

this kind of conceptualized self you

know I’m only half of who I used to be

and you can show that pain actually you

know projects out into parts of the

brain that

involved in sense of self judgment

predicting the future you have this very

active default mode network you’re

looking you’re scanning you start doing

an act stuff and it looks a little bit

like very quickly like what you see in

contemporary practice with the early

data on psychedelics you know the

careful data the more recent ones not

though woohoo sure a sixties a version

okay and and what happens is these

needless connectivities start settling

down and people start feeling pain even

experimental pain there’s a study like

this with chronic pain patients who then

they have thumb screws put on them and

the pain goes up but it doesn’t produce

this thing in your brain it kind of just

you have access to it you notice it but

it doesn’t overwhelm you know the or

your capacity to orient your attention

towards what else is present and to the

whole of your experience I mean even the

thumbscrew is only one part of your

experience there’s other things

happening around you so I think we’re on

the verge of really walking this thing

out nor biologically not just

psychologically I love it I love

everything you’re saying dr. Hayes you

mentioned something that perked my

attention it got my attention which was

you know using psychedelics in a

controlled setting we’ve had dr. Denis

McKenna on we’ve had Rodolfo on the show

so you know I I really want to know what

your perspective is on this and using

tools medicines like you asked for

you know PTSD when would you recommend a

person or a patient go into you know

that realm of addressing a problem and

you know would you recommend it for

everyone or is it for just some people

how do you address that you know I think

a science a careful cautious scientist

and I hope I can put that on a Don would

look at their early trials and say hey

these are exciting be they’re not yet

fully determinative see we need more

research and D please let’s let

revisit the seventies and sixties we did

that you know I mean some of my best

friends didn’t make it out alive yeah

you know I just don’t want to do that

again because unguided it’s just not and

it’s not in any of our indigenous

cultures unguided none of them do it

that way

so that’s not Western folks just think

whoohoo you know that there’s magic and

the chemicals and it will speak to me no

that’s not really how the brain works

it’s not how psychology works and so act

is being adopted by a number of the big

centers NYU’s some other ones as part of

their randomized trials because they’ve

made the determination

I think wisely almost universally that

it’s not wise to study these chemicals

in this new era just by here’s the

chemical put on the behind hold period

you know know you need some sort of

preparation guidance etc you don’t have

to dominate you know you can let the

person go where they go but you have to

have a guide a roadmap for that that is

a kind of a psychological and scientific

roadmap and act really helps you with

that because these six flexibility

processes if I can spin around and name

them sure of this kind of witnessing and

observing sense of self instead of the

storied ego based evaluated sense of

self that then allows you to notice your

thoughts in flight without having them

write up on your face dictating to you

you don’t even notice that you’re

thinking to open up to your feelings

your memories your bodily sensations in

a in a flexible way in an open way

that’s not needlessly squeezing down

limiting information that your history

and the current situation is giving you

and then to come into the present moment

in a way that’s flexible fluid and

voluntary in terms of what you attend to

we’re always in the now what parts of

the now should we be attending to should

be broaden our view a narrower view

shifter view or stayed focused and let’s

let go of that tendency with a mind to

say you can only be in the now and you

can ruminate enough that you can predict

what’s going to happen and worried

enough that you can avoid some bad


let’s show up here on the now and then


what brings meaning and purpose to us by

choice not wagging fingers of shame and

blame or mama wanted me to do do it or

otherwise I’d feel guilty or know that

none of those things predict progress in

life but I mean the kind where it’s a

leap of faith that I hold this dear and

this is the kind of qualities I want to

put into my behavior and then good

old-fashioned behavior therapy build

habits of values based action take what

we know about how to build behavior

change in small increments sometimes in

large leaps some things like changing a

job getting married is a large leap

thing but you can well you know step up

to that by learning how to develop

competence in the way that you knew

perfectly well how to do before a

language getting a got involved when you

as an infinite for example spent hours

and hours and hours and hours just

trying to open a box or to reach a toy

or stand up on your two legs and now

with the mind going you want to suddenly

spring forth and the head of Zeus and

know things without any trial and error

well competency doesn’t come that way

and so those are the six processes and

if you can kind of bring them in you

know life starts opening up and going

back into this psychedelic piece I think

if we can use that as a guide then we

can look for and we see it in the

literature and early literature on

psychedelics that when you help people

in that way about things that they might

view of important as importance trips

make a little more sense because people

do find experiences of oneness in

oceanic awareness this sort of sense of

self that connects us in consciousness

to others they notice they’re thinking

they’re more open to their emotions that

are flexible in their attention and

values sometimes lifelong values are

coming out where people realize that

they do care about the environment are

living things or relationships in love

or you know taking care of people who

are suffering or whatever it is and the

willingness to persist and to walk

through what you need to do to build

habits that are organized around that so

I you know I’m not here to sing the song

of psychedelic therapy but I’m really

kind of pleased that some of the early

trials that have going in that direction

are using the flexibility skills that I

walked through and liberated mine

deliberately and they’re at least saying

that they find that the model really

fits well to what the data show are the

transformational qualities of those

experiences when they do work well I

mean well I mean there’s there’s

certainly something to Speas ed about

Western psychology and it’s felt Western

medicine and its failure to really cure

its patients I mean I’ve talked to

people who have been on you know a

litany of different medications for

anxiety and other problems and and you

know like I don’t you know they end up

you know buying a ticket to go over the

jungle for you know seven thousand

dollars because they’re just you know

they’ve tried everything and nothing

works and they end up going and seeing

the shaman and it it really does you

know help them it’s it’s amazing that

organizations like maps and people like

Dennis McKenna are you know studying

this and putting out the research that

we need to to make it you know a legal

thing that we can do aided by a doctor

that’s trained in it instead of you know

in your kitchen or in your living room

by yourself which they’re not advising


yeah well a lot of what we’re doing with

the biomedical ization of human

suffering and human pain of selling this

vision that really if you suffer it’s a

disease if you’re in pain it’s a disease

if you’re sad it’s a disease if you’re

actually it’s it’s it’s bull it’s not

true there’s not a single not one

syndromes collections of signs and

symptoms that has turned into a disease

the last one was general paresis which

is untreated syphilis and and and good

academic psychiatrists will absolutely

say yes to what the sentence I just said

and you can look at the dsm-5 work group

document could for at all what walks

through it and says that in so many

words what I just said

and so and and people like Alan Francis

the dsm-4 guy who’s an endorser uber of

a liberated mind and you know good

academics are conscious well because

what we’re gonna do instead I think what

we need to do is yes take Western

science but walk into the processes of

change that liberate human lives or on

the negative side that walk

lives into restricted and a pathological

space and when you do that you don’t

need the labels and the cubbyholes and

the five of the nines and you know I I

worry a little bit about you know kind

of some of the hype around some of the

early psychedelic ones and you know if

you look at you know people like Baba

Ram Dass and so forth you know they’ll

late news so the dick Alpert people from

that era who are saying you know they’ve

walked down this kind of contemplative

practice road well that’s cool but

that’s not the only way to get to some

of these processes and you know the

person on the factory floor is probably

not doing a 10-day silent retreat this

has not happening I mean even in the

Eastern cultures where that happened

people were giving alms to the mumps to

do it the normal folks weren’t doing it

they were working well can we take when

out of respect not out of disrespect I’m

not saying it’s the same thing or it’s

substitutes but can we take something

that we know scientifically is kind of a

safe guide to being able to create a

more open and flexible way of being that

walks your life forward in all these

different areas and what’s exciting

about the the a quirk and psychological

flexibility work is that if you learn

the skills let’s say with anxiety if you

learn them with depression if you learn

from a substance abuse you’re gonna find

it’s relevant to losing weight or it’s

relevant to keep into your exercise

program what’s relevant when you have a

diagnosis of cancer what’s relevant when

you’re running your business or when

you’re trying to engage in high

performance at competitive sports and

you know in the book I walk through this

I mean I literally have watched people

win gold medals

that coaches at the Olympics and so we

have it’s not that one-size-fits-all

because the techniques are different and

every person is different but the human

mind is not that complicated in the

sense of what we need to do to at least

get it bumped in the right direction

once you understand how it works and so

I want to bring something into the

culture that’s why I wrote this book

it’s the first one that you

comprehensive act book you can kind of

give to people without feeling as though

you’re either tell them they need a

shrink or should be one where you just

walk through and say holy beans you know

everywhere I all these areas that are of

importance to me the science of sand

there’s some cool things I can do and in

the book I try to walk through some

learning exercises so people don’t feel

as though it’s just that here’s the

theory blah blah there’s the data sure

no you try it try it

here’s an exercise here’s another

exercise there’s no chance and on the

websites that support it and so forth if

it’s okay I mention mine later but no

you can get those tools and supports and

stuff and then all those other self-help

books I mean there’s 150 Act books and

several million copies floating around

the world you know you can dial into it

once you get what the game is and that I

don’t want to say that that substitutes

for what we’re trying to do with some of

these more innovative things including

what we’re doing now finally I think

properly but taking a serious look at

psychedelics but I would say hold your

horses be cautious you know don’t drink

the kool-aid too quickly you know let’s

let’s let the science move along and if

you do do it at least look at well some

of it you’ll find some of the folks who

are doing that kind of thing or

themselves adopting act as a method for

their studies and they must be doing it

for some kind of reason maybe you should

read about it and see if it’s relevant

to what you really want to have happen

by that trip to the jungle and that

might be useful to you I can’t say

there’s a piece of research on that but

I can

that the underlying processes have

changed and even what your neurobiology

does I’m writing a paper on this right

now on psychedelics and what did have

they work and how they relate to what we

know about how psychological flexibility

works really echoes it looks really

resonant it looks like yeah there’s

something in here that’s worth chasing

so dr. Hayes I’ve got a couple different

directions left to take this

conversation but since we’re talking

about act right now there’s a question

from Kate and she asks well she says I’m

loving the conversation how do you see

act growing in the next decade or how do

you hope to see it expand well I’m

really actively trying to do some things

there I’m really excited about where

it’s going one is that we’re you know

we’ve never been about just act act as

even our main scientific society that

has about 8,500 members and 27 chapters

around the world it’s called the

Association for contextual behavioral

science it isn’t the Association for act

you know act can come and go the names

come and go everything dies everything

passes away you know I wear a little

bracelet this is in Hebrew this too

shall pass you know and can we dig down

to the processes so that’s one thing

that I try to do in this book but what

has that what is that allowed

well now at our conferences we’ve got

the compassion focus therapy people

we’ve got the mindfulness based

cognitive therapy people we’ve got the

metacognitive therapists in a

dialectical behavior therapists and the

behavior analysts and all these you know

this the social workers and the

biologists and the other thing I’m

trying to put it inside an evolutionary

frame because I really think here’s

what’s going on I mean if you look at

all of the life sciences all of them

except one if you take any phenomena and

you say why is that like that and then

whatever answer the expert gives you you

say well why is that like that and then

whatever answer they give you you say

well why is that like that by on average

three questions out they’re going to say

the e word they’re gonna say it evolved

and they’re gonna talk about why it

evolved except one the behavioral


you can ask that question for now till

next Tuesday nobody ever said that you

were and I get that evolution sounds

like the jeans made me do it

it sounds reductionistic and well that’s

just only but modern evolutionary

thinking is looking at how variation

selection retention in context at the

right dimension level moves systems

forward businesses of all cultures

evolve people evolve I mean there’s

studies it’s so exciting that like a

learning process like classical

conditioning you know here’s a smell

there’s a shock here’s a smell there’s a

shock let’s say in a mouse model right

the pups of the pups of the mom that was

exposed to that with really good

controls startle to the smell yeah so

Lamarque is back you know there are

things going on and I mean literally

whether or not you know how you relate

to things might be based on the fact

that your grandmother went through the

Holocaust or that you know your mother

was part of the Dutch winter cohort and

at the end of the Second World War or

your grandmother and almost starved to

death and so what I’m trying to do is to

take processes and then link them to a

larger knowledge development journey

that has been powerful in every area

from economics I mentioned Lynn Ostrom

we’ve she won the Nobel Prize in

Economics 2009 and she David Sloan

Wilson a major evolutionary biologist

myself and a psychologist in Australia

named Paul Atkins have created this

method called pro-social where we

combine act with what Lynn won the Nobel

for which is showing that indigenous

peoples can protect their forests their

lakes the rivers their streams if you’re

hearing the climate crisis you should

can do that without any government

regulation and without private ownership

without an invisible hand and without

command and control but only if they

organize their groups in a way that

promote human cooperation so where are

we going

I and it’s in the last chapter

the book I want to put these flexibility

processes now scaled into the social

processes and downwards to the

biological processes that lift up human

beings connect them to others and that

empower us to step into the challenges

of the modern world instead of shrinking

and running away and fighting and hiding

and you know you can’t turn on your

television or so you can’t look at your

cell phone without feeling like there’s

something really wrong in the world you

know and you know I think these

psychological journeys people are

interested in can be scaled into a

social and cultural journey if we focus

on processes and don’t be so prideful

about the names of methods and

trademarking things and tithing to

founders and all this nonsense that is a

grasp a tent or tality instead let’s put

processes of change and into the world

and it you know from reading the book

Xavier I really try to simplify it and

put it out there in so many areas that

you can come away and say by golly these

processes are important and maybe I

should work on them and maybe I should

that’s what my kids are doing and maybe

I should think about my church group and

maybe I should look at my business and

how am I actually fostering the values

based group inside my business or

whatever it is that you’re doing and so

that’s the two things of joining and

community with all the process oriented

kind of New Wave therapies out there and

then leveraging that over into not just

psychotherapy don’t put it in a little

cul-de-sac like that but into human

transformation behavior change growth

that we can scale even to the social

problems that we either face or we’re

not going to have a world worth living

in yeah yeah I agree with so much of

everything you’ve said and you know like

I said in the pre-interview and the

conversation that we had briefly before

the show started I loved the book I

ripped through it I mean it’s I mean it

usually if I am struggling with moving

through a book it’s because it’s it’s a

difficult read and I didn’t find that to

be the case

whatsoever with this book and and like I

said it’s you know it’s it’s like 300

pages so you know just getting the book

and holding it I was just huh but you

know I couldn’t put it down and I

grabbed a pen and I was just underlying

and you know that’s a testament to how

much work there’s such an immense work

that you put into this research putting

it together into this book it you know

and and offering it to people in a

useable practical way that can affect

you know their lives in in a measurable

sense so you know I think people want

science but they don’t want to be talked

down to they don’t want to be lectured

to they don’t want to have that finger

wagging you know you I would remind

people you know that psychologists their

divorce rates you’re just about as bad

as anybody else out there their suicide

rates are actually a little higher you

know be careful about all those experts

and so forth and well the one reason I

wanted to write a really evidence-based

book but I think you’d agree it doesn’t

land that way it doesn’t really it is

Evans’s though it’s based that’s that

scientific heft to it

but I hope it doesn’t ever feel like and

here’s another study where 124 people

randomized that fall you know like yeah

yeah you know I’ll let my textbooks do

that I’ve written some books that are a

cure for insomnia I mean even I can’t

read them even though they’re elegantly

written but it’s so arcane you know

you’re just painful almost to read the

sentences and I I think sometimes we

have a responsibility as the science

folks to step forward in a way that to

be frank could I just say something it

sounds a little critical of other human

beings I understand the heart of it but

there’s a whole lot of people out there

saying things that they’ve learned by

their personal experience and all of

that and there’s basically no science

behind it and the problem with it is

just too many voices and how do you pick

them right how do you know yeah next

thing you know the voices were listening

to other commercial voices and the other

ones are trying to sell stuff yeah you

know if I can sell that you’ve got a

latent disease man you got to be on


you got to be listen you look at the


current follow-ups and a side-effects

and you’re saying wait a minute I didn’t

used to hear the commercial frienda

depressants with a warning that it could

increase suicidality I didn’t remember

that no because as the data has rolled

along you know we find things out and so

I’m not saying there’s not a role for

antidepressants sometimes so-called

that’s a marketing term but those you

know it properly done at a particular

time but be careful because people who

are talking just about their own

experience don’t know how to simplify

necessarily and the people who are

talking out of science that’s

contaminated by commercialism sometimes

there’s other agendas and so can we put

something in there that’s evidence-based

and we’re consumers themselves you can

make the decision and here’s what I tell

folks at the beginning of the book I say

here’s what you want

does this help is a good evidence that

it helps second do you know why it works

and if the answer is no to either one of

those this is not a method for you and

this book I hope you’d agree really

walks through that we know something

about how to create transformational

change and it’s not the only thing

that’s going on but man’s psychological

flexibility is a pretty powerful set the

20% that does 80% so I hope I’m doing

this in a way that is scientifically

responsible in one hand at the same time

as a good read and really empowers

people so I think so and I mean there’s

many people in the chat that we have

that have mentioned about you know

because of this conversation they’re

going to go and buy the book and I

highly recommend that you go and do that

dr. Hayes I have one more question it’s

kind of bugging me if I don’t ask you

then I’m gonna think later you know why

didn’t I ask him and then you’ll

probably end up getting an email for me

like six months from now like dr. Hayes

I didn’t ask you this so you know I’m

wondering about a little bit of a

paradox that you know we’re in as far as

the larger picture the macrocosm of

humanity and our connection to

technology I mean you yourself and your

book you talk about how we are

social beings and you know what and you

know there’s this comparison belonging

aspect to how we relate to other people

so you know with social media and

technology and things like Facebook and

Twitter and when human beings are yes

social animals were social creatures and

you know to quote you even you say that

just having a word for something is is a

social act right so so if you know if

it’s the cooperative nature that that

drives us then and that can be useful

then you know like when I’m looking

through my Instagram for example just

not off tonight but it happens but you

know and and I see let’s say you know

someone that I’m comparing myself to

yeah like let’s see let’s say that I see

another podcaster and they’re you know

they have millions of followers and and

I have this thought process that happens

in my mind that is creating this

comparison between me and this other

persons I have no idea of like I don’t

know this person in real life whatsoever

so yeah I think that this happens often

and with other people in normal

situations where you know they’re just

on their Instagram I mean maybe they’re

younger maybe they’re in school and you

know they’re just flipping through

social media and they experience this

where it becomes this internalized

judgement or their self-reflection that

is highly negative like what do you say

about this what do you think about this

boy you’re just right on and one of the

things I’d say is if we don’t understand

the processes we’re moving around by

this technology then we don’t know how

to put in our children’s lives or in the

lies or in the things that we’ve created

like you know our school system or you

know kind of our learning we don’t know

how to put things there you know yet and

some of the folks that we need to reach

or people yeah the podcasters yeah the

the Nam

Reiter’s the the cartoon makers the

songwriters the you know we have many

allies here and you know there are

spiritual religious traditions that know

a lot and so if we can take the science

to focus on what needs to happen and put

it out there you know if you google my

son that as favorite cartoon is called

the Stephens universe and Google that

here comes a thought and it’s this

wonderful song that has been viewed on

YouTube or whatever by the different

versions something like 2025 million

times and and it was a powerful land

well in the wiki site they even say this

was based on that concepts and actually

in they tell me actually that might even

be so that Steven wore a bald wig on

bald you can’t see it but I am in the so

you know somebody forgetting her name

and sugar or something something that


saw something and put it into kids lives

so we have allies here we can work

together perhaps and I you know I see

that in the attempts to put things in

our movies for children and things like

that so the the media you know that

little computer in your pockets it’s 120

million times more powerful and what

landed Rock you know people on the moon

right and we’re just looking at it to

see what the Instagram post is you know

you can do wonderful things and if I can

finish and just you know you said the

last question do you have enough time to

put a little bit of roundabouts this

okay you know what what lynn ostrom

won the Nobel for was showing that

indigenous peoples can cooperate to

protect their environment the tragedy of

the Commons doesn’t have to happen but

what David Sloan Wilson did in an

article with Lynn before she died my

colleague David and I’ve written a

couple books she’s a very close

colleague of evolutionary biologist at

Binghamton as he showed that this

follows the same principles of what’s

called multi-level selection which is

that higher levels of organization can

be themselves selected as long as the

lower levels or

taken care of but are not allowed to be

selfish so for example you got 37

trillion cells in your body right mm-hmm

not counting the gut biome which is you

weigh more than that if any one of them

says hey I just would like more of me

yeah well you’ve got the c-word and your

body will detect the early transcription

errors it’ll try to repair it if it

still won’t behave it’ll try to kill the

cell while functioning immune system

right so the basic message there is

we’ll all work together I’ll cooperate

you’ll do pretty well cell because I’m

gonna feed you you do a lot better than

you would out on your own but you can’t

be selfish if you’re selfish I’m gonna

rain you back in a little transcription

correction and if that’s not adequate

I’m gonna kill you I’m gonna set up a

job well we have the same thing going on

culturally right and we have the same

thing going on inside us not just with

cells but when you talked about

comparison mm-hmm that’s like a little

part of you you have that capability

right and you want it you want that part

of you that can compare because if

you’re thinking through how should I do

theirs next podcast you got to be able

to imagine a future that’s never been

you haven’t done the podcast and weigh

it in your mind and pick a good route

forward right so you want that capacity

but you don’t want to feed that to the

point that it starts eating the whole of

you now you’ve got a psychological

cancer and so can you allow it to

succeed to be used where it’s useful all

of these things ego you know pushing

away emotions there are some

circumstances let me give you one from

the research literature I was a little

surprised when I first saw it because

being open to your emotions is more

helpful in almost every area of life and

then here comes this study I mean thirty

hundreds of studies they probably now

we’re headed close to a thousand on

experience avoidance our name for

running away from emotions sensations

and memories needlessly and here comes

this anomaly ambulance drivers while

they’re out on their drive

do better if when they get out of that

ambulance they can suppress their


well of course mm-hmm I don’t want some

my ambulance driver crying those are the

brains on the street over here when this

person over here might be saved

so all of these little parts of us have

a role can we treat them with kind of

kindness and and use them and they’re

useful and let them go when they’re not

which is kind of like finding a way to

help produce healthy cooperation and

then can we scale that same sense

between you and your spouse you and your

spouse and your kids your family and

your neighborhood your neighborhood in

your city your city in your state your

state in your country your country in

the world

you start thinking this way and

everything gets global and don’t we know

that if there’s a climate crisis dude

you can’t sort of like draw some little

imaginary thing and go say well this is

a US of A I mean come on you know your

sky is darkening from what happened in

the windstorm and in the Middle East

yeah and and the same thing with what

we’re seeing with violence and

immigration and you know the clash

between us religious traditions and so

here’s my message is that

let’s take Western science to focus on

these individual psychological processes

but then that are healthy that that

essentially are like rules of engagement

how we can have a cacophony within how

we can have multiple cells how we can

have different parts of us and integrate

them in a way that they all get to

succeed but only by cooperating that

voice that wags its finger I want

sometimes but I don’t want it dominate

in my life I did that I know what

happens it’s a train wreck everybody

listening to be knows it because when

you’ve let that run you’ve got like the

psychological equipment of cancer but

it’s the same thing with your

relationships your family or community

your business can you find a way for

your success to be embedded in the

success of small groups

and then in groups of groups and then

the group’s of groups of groups where

the same rules apply and that’s the last

chapter of the book but it’s sort of the

spirit of the whole of the book make

those reeds make and know how it works

man we have so many more tools than just

a lecture or you know something that our

priest Minister rabbi might say to us or

my mom as important as that is Western

science has a role in producing and

disseminating wisdom – and we’re gonna

do it one little study at a time and I

hope people find something in the book

that his powerful uplifting in that way

I really think they will dr. Hayes we

held this interview to the wall I mean I

can’t believe how much we got out of

this conversation in just a little over

an hour and just you know from my

personal recommendation I would highly

recommend that you go and pick up this

book it’s called a liberated mind how to

pivot toward what matters my guest is

dr. Steven C Hayes and dr. Hayes why

don’t you also give your website where

people can find your work how can they

reach you are you are you on tour are

you giving a big book tour or doing

lectures or any of those things

I’m not yet on a book tour but I’m

talking with people who want me to talk

but I’m you know if they go to Steven C

Hayes comm they can find things of use

I’ll send them a little seven item kind

of a freebie thing of an act if they

don’t you want that they can go and go

over to /a – liberated – mind all

lowercase and there’s tools there’s

things that give away there’s freebies

and you don’t have to go in if you don’t

want to go into a you know like me

capturing or email and blah blah blah

I don’t spam people but if you don’t

want to just go there and I’ll give you

the freebies and including an awesome I

mean an awesome book drawn by my 28 year

old daughter man you got to see her

depiction of the dictator within I mean

you will you will not forget it it’s an

awesome image

and so you know but but how do I also

say it’s not all about me act is out

there if you just put in psychological

flexibility experience avoidance Act

you’re gonna find a vast network of

people who are trying to put

transformational processes into humans

lives one little database step at a time

and the reason we have a lot to say is

we’ve been doing it for 40 years mostly

under the radar screen mm-hmm but times

up it’s too important and there’s too

many things happening in our culture and

so you know I’m stepping forward and its

best way I can to let people know that

there’s something of use here not out of

some arrogant you know

mimimi way but in a way that it’s just a

little flashlight on here’s something

that might be useful check it out try it

out and very quickly you may sense

there’s something in there for me and if

so there’s a lot of supports out there

from my website on down perfect dr.

Hayes stick with me while I do this

close for me for a second guys thank you

so much for listening to this episode

once again the book is called

a liberated mind my guest dr. Steven C

Hayes this was such a phenomenal

opposite Wow usually what we do after

the episodes is we have a discord server

it’s just a community server that we run

and so if you’re if you’re listening to

this and you made it through the end and

you’re listening to my voice right now

you can find that link in the

description of this video and you can

get over to that area of our community

and I will be in there we’ll discuss how

the episode went but uh guys that’s

gonna do it for us here at a check back

for you next week or sorry not next mate

we actually haven’t have an interview

tomorrow night

we have a double-header this week we’ll

have dr. Daniel Amen on the show

tomorrow night so hopefully you tune in

for that and if you’re listening to this

via the podcast version please get over

to iTunes leave us a review positive or

negative it really helps us stay

relevant one of the things that I hear a

lot is people when they hear the show

they have no idea they that we just did

and they’re just wondering how we have

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content and they’re only just finding

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biggest compliment that you can give us

is just by sharing our work with your

friends and your family thank you guys

so much for listening and being here

without your presence, this would not be

possible we are going to get out of here

see you tomorrow night 8 p.m.

Eastern Time thank you so much

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