Climbing Our Hills: A Beginning Conversation on the Comparison of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Address correspondence to Steven C. Hayes, Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557-0062. E-mail:


The history and developmental program of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and relational frame theory (RFT) is described, and against that backdrop the target article is considered. In the authors’ comparison of ACT and traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), traditional CBT does not refer to specific processes, principles, or theories but to a tribal tradition. Framed in that way, comparisons of ACT and CBT cannot succeed intellectually, because CBT cannot be pinned down. At the level of theory, change processes, and outcomes, ACT/RFT seems to be progressing as measured against its own goals.