Steven C. Hayes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Steven C. Hayes
BornAugust 12, 1948
Known forRelational frame theory, Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Process-based therapy (PBT)
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Nevada, Reno

Steven C. Hayes (born August 12, 1948)[1] is an American clinical psychologist and Nevada Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Psychology, where he is a faculty member in their Ph.D. program in behavior analysis[2]. He is known for developing relational frame theory, an account of human higher cognition. He is the co-developer of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that uses mindfulness, acceptance, and values-based methods, and is the co-developer of process-based therapy (PBT), a new approach to evidence-based therapies more generally. He also coined the term clinical behavior analysis.

Hayes is the author of 47 books and 675 articles. His books have been published in 20 languages.[3] As of January 2022, Google Scholar data ranks Hayes among the top 1,000 most cited living scholars in all areas of study worldwide.[4] As of December 2021, data ranks Hayes as the #63 Top Scientist in Psychology in the world and the #39 Top Scientist in Psychology in the United States.[5] He was listed in 1992 by the Institute for Scientific Information as the 30th "highest impact" psychologist. According to Time columnist John Cloud, "Steven Hayes is at the top of his field. A past president of the distinguished Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, he has written or co-written some 300 peer-reviewed articles and 27 books. Few psychologists are so well published".[1]


Hayes received his B.A. in psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from West Virginia University. After completing his clinical internship under David Barlow at the Brown University School of Medicine, he joined the Department of Psychology faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 1986, he became a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.[6]

Hayes has been president of the American Psychological Association Division 25, the president of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology, the president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies,[7] and the president of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science,[8] and the first secretary-treasurer of the Association for Psychological Science. He served a 5-year term on the National Advisory Council for Drug Abuse in the National Institutes of Health.[2] He is on the advisory board of USERN[9] and is president of the Institute for Better Health.[2][10][11]

In 2022, Hayes was involved in a controversy over two papers he published with David Barlow and Kelly Brownell in 1977 and 1983 about the practice of covert sensitization in homosexual and transgender individuals with the intent of changing their sexual arousal and gender identity.[12][13] The controversy emerged following a letter Hayes, along with 36 other past presidents of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, signed regarding the organization's role in the practice of conversion therapy.[14] Although the letter did not name Barlow, Brownwell, or Hayes as individuals who engaged in these research practices,[15] Hayes created a personal apology and requested that his research be retracted.[16]

Scientific contributions[edit]

Hayes developed a widely used and evidence-based psychological intervention often used in counseling called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT),[17][18][19] There are currently over 900 randomized trials of acceptance and commitment therapy[20] and as the result of multiple randomized trials of ACT by the World Health Organization, WHO now distributes ACT-based self-help for “anyone who experiences stress, wherever they live, and whatever their circumstances.”[21] Organizations that have stated that acceptance and commitment therapy is empirically supported in certain areas or as a whole according to their standards include: Society of Clinical Psychology (American Psychological Association Division 12), World Health Organization, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Australian Psychological Society, Netherlands Institute of Psychologists: Sections of Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation, Sweden Association of Physiotherapists, SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense.[22]

Hayes developed relational frame theory (RFT), an account of human higher cognition.[23] Approximately 300 studies have tested RFT ideas.[24]

In collaboration with Stefan Hofmann, David Sloan Wilson, Joseph Ciarrochi, and others, Hayes has been developing process-based therapy (PBT), an idiographic treatment approach based on cognitive behavioral therapy that combines insights from evolution theory and complex network theory to target processes that underlie effective psychological treatments.[25]


  • Nevada System of Higher Education: Nevada Regents’ Researcher Award (2022)[26]
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: Fellow (2018)[27]
  • Association for Contextual Behavioral Science: Fellow (2012)[28]
  • Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis: Impact of Science on Application (2007)[29]
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies: Career/Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)[30]
  • American Psychological Association Division 25: Don Hake Translational Research Award (2000)[31]
  • Nevada System of Higher Education: Regents' Mid-Career Researcher of the Year (2000)
  • University of Nevada, Reno: Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award (1997)[32]

Selected works[edit]

  • 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. (2004-01-01). "Acceptance and commitment therapy, relational frame theory, and the third wave of behavioral and cognitive therapies". Behavior Therapy. 35 (4): 639–665. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80013-3.
  • Hayes, Steven C.; Spencer Smith (2005). Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications. ISBN 1-57224-425-9.
  • Hayes, Steven C.; Kirk D. Strosahl; Kelly G. Wilson (2011). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Second Edition: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change (2nd ed.). Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-60918-962-4.
  • Hayes, Steven C.; Follette, Victoria M.; Linehan, Marsha M., eds. (2011). Mindfulness and Acceptance: Expanding the Cognitive-Behavioral Tradition. Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-60918-989-1.
  • Hayes, S. C., Villatte, M., Levin, M. & Hildebrandt, M. (2011). Open, aware, and active: Contextual approaches as an emerging trend in the behavioral and cognitive therapies. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 7,141-168. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032210-104449
  • Wilson, D. S., & Hayes, S. C. (2018). Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science: An Integrated Framework for Understanding, Predicting, and Influencing Behavior. Menlo Park, CA: New Harbinger Press.
  • Hayes, S. C. & Hofmann, S. G. (Eds.) (2018). "Process-based CBT: The science and core clinical competencies of cognitive behavioral therapy". Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. ISBN 978-1-62625-596-8.
  • Hayes, Steven C. (2019). A Liberated Mind New York: Penguin/Avery.
  • Atkins, P. W. D., Wilson, D. S., & Hayes, S. C. (2019). Prosocial: Using evolutionary science to build productive, equitable, and collaborative groups. New Harbinger
  • Hayes, S. C. & Hofmann, S. G. (Eds.) (2020). Beyond the DSM: Toward a process-based alternative for diagnosis and mental health treatment. Oakland, CA: Context Press / New Harbinger Publications. ISBN 978-1-68403-661-5.
  • Hofmann, S. G., Hayes, S. C., & Lorscheid, D. (2021). Learning process-based therapy: A skills training manual for targeting the core processes of psychological change in clinical practice. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Press. ISBN 1-68403-755-7.


  1. ^ a b Cloud, John (13 February 2006). "The Third Wave of Therapy". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on February 8, 2006. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Steven Hayes | Department of Psychology". University of Nevada, Reno. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  3. ^ "ACT Books in 20+ languages". Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Highly Cited Researchers (h>100) according to their Google Scholar Citations public profiles". Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  5. ^ "Top Psychology Scientists". Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  6. ^ "Steven C. Hayes Bio". Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Past Presidents - History of ABCT". Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  8. ^ "2008-2009 Board of Directors | Association for Contextual Behavioral Science". Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  9. ^ "USERN BOARD - USERN". Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  10. ^ "About IBH". Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  11. ^ "About". 31 August 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  12. ^ Brownell, Kelly D.; Hayes, Steven C.; Barlow, David H. (1977). "Patterns of appropriate and deviant sexual arousal: The behavioral treatment of multiple sexual deviations". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 45 (6): 1144–1155. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.45.6.1144. ISSN 1939-2117. PMID 925223.
  13. ^ Hayes, Steven C.; Brownell, Kelly D.; Barlow, David H. (1983-01-01). "Heterosocial-skills training and covert sensitization. Effects on social skills and sexual arousal in sexual deviants". Behaviour Research and Therapy. Special Announcement. 21 (4): 383–392. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(83)90007-4. ISSN 0005-7967. PMID 6138027.
  14. ^ ABCT (2022-06-10). "ABCT Apology for Behavior Therapy's Contribution to the Development and Practice of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts: History and Next Steps" (PDF). Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  15. ^ "Conversion therapy apology statement raises questions". Retrieved 2022-08-15.
  16. ^ Steve Hayes on Conversion therapy, retrieved 2022-08-17
  17. ^ "About ACT". Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  18. ^ Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. Guilford Press.
  19. ^ Dougher, Michael J. (2002). "This is not B. F. Skinner's behavior analysis: A review of Hayes, Strosahl, and Wilson's Acceptance and Commitment Therapy". Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 35 (3): 323–336. doi:10.1901/jaba.2002.35-323. PMC 1284396.
  20. ^ "ACT Randomized Controlled Trials since 1986". Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  21. ^ "Doing What Matters in Times of Stress". Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  22. ^ "State of the ACT Evidence". Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  23. ^ Hayes, Steven (1991). "A relational control theory of stimulus equivalence.". In L. J. Hayes; P. N. Chase (eds.). Dialogues on verbal behavior. Context Press. pp. 19–40.
  24. ^ O'Connor, M.; Farrell, L.; Munnelly, A.; McHugh, L. (2017). "Citation analysis of relational frame theory: 2009–2016". Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. 6 (2): 152–158. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2017.04.009.
  25. ^ Hayes, Steven C.; Ciarrochi, J.; Hofmann, S.; Chin, F.; Sahdra, B. (2022-03-15). "Evolving an idionomic approach to processes of change: Towards a unified personalized science of human improvement". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 156 (September 2022): 104155. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2022.104155. PMID 35863243. S2CID 250272115.
  26. ^ "2022 Regents' Awards Recipients Named". Nevada System of Higher Education. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  27. ^ "Foundation Professor of Psychology elected AAAS Fellow". University of Nevada, Reno. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  28. ^ "ACBS Fellows". Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  29. ^ "Scientific Translation Awards". Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  30. ^ "ABCT Past Award Winners". Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  31. ^ "Don Hake Translational Research Award". APA Div 25. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  32. ^ "Winners of the Outstanding Researcher Award". University of Nevada, Reno. Retrieved 2022-08-10.

External links[edit]