Health and Wellness

ACT: Taking Hurt to Hope

JoAnne Dahl, Ph.D.

ACT: Taking Hurt to Hope – Struggling with Stigma

Welcome to ACT: taking hurt to hope. Today we are going to talk about something we probably all do to ourselves and others on a daily basis and something which is more harmful psychological than you think. Stigma. Stigma is defined as the dehumanization of an individual based on a social identity or participation in a negative or undesirable social category. Commonly we might call others or ourselves as idiots, fatsos, or might call someone a slush, a whore, or a gangster. A person who is stigmatized is devalued and seen as seriously flawed. Experience of being stigmatized over and over can have serious consequences but one thing you may not have thought of that happens, is something that mat to lead to something even more serious and that is internalization of the stigma. This means that for example if you have been called fat and lazy a number of times, you may start to believe yourself that you are fat and lazy. You may talk about yourself in that way and spread your own stigmatization. Experiences of stigma whether you hear it from others or you do it to yourself may have serious behavior health problem and problems getting a job. It is also related to poorer self esteem and lower quality of life. Today we are going to have a discussion about how ACT has been used successfully to help people work with their own stigma both towards themselves and subsequently towards others. This is a process that might be called self acceptance or to use a trendy word in psychology today, Self compassion.
Our guest today is Dr Steven Hayes. Steve 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). Steve is the author of more than 30 books 500 scientific articles. Among others a very popular book called Get Out of You Mind and Into Your Life
You can read more about Steve, his books and articles on his home page by clicking his name on this week’s episode of ACT taking hurt to hope, Webtalkradio.net. You can read more about ACT by clicking on Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.