ACT For Gender Identity is the go-to-guide for mental health professionals introducing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to their transgender and nonbinary clients. Packed with exercises and metaphors to help gender variant people actualize their best life, ACT for Gender Identity fits neatly on the shelf between Russ Harris’ ACT Made Simple and Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw.
Gender identity can be expressive and empowering, or sticky and self-stereotyping. By mindfully exploring how sex, gender, sexuality and culture intersect, clients and their therapist can collaborate as a team to spot old shame cycles and break free of gender normative pressures. ACT for Gender Identity accomplishes this through mindful awareness, value congruent self-actualization, mental adaptation, and ongoing affirmation.
In their comprehensive guide, Alex Stitt aligns their voice with that of the client, addressing the complexity of self-actualization and minority stress in a personable, digestible, and decidedly queer way.
Introducing how relational frame theory (i.e. the development of language and pattern recognition) shapes our respective gender constructs, Alex Stitt introduces how mental flexibility can dis-empower all the doubt, negative thoughts, and internalized prejudice building up inside. ACT has a long history of helping people expand beyond the self-limiting rules and cyclical rationalizations of rigid thinking to connect with the Observational Self. By using mindfulness practices to observe the whole self without judgement, ACT for Gender Identity explores how gender is both a social construct maintained by the Thinking Self, as well as an intimate, emotional, and above all innocent mind-body connection that exists without words: The Somatic Self.
As a manual for therapists practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and a primer for psychology students learning the nuanced world of gender minorities, ACT for Gender Identity combines evidence based practices with a little touch of the fierce and fabulous.
Alex Stitt has accomplished something wonderful; they have fully elaborated the relevance of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to working with gender and gender identity. This book is grounded in cultural awareness of the needs of gender diverse clients with a strong unifying thread of respect for the agency and autonomy of transgender, genderfluid, and non-binary clients.
— Matthew D. Skinta, Ph.D., ABPP, Peer-Reviewed ACT Trainer, Assistant Professor, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL
A courageous volume that leaves no issue unexamined in its goal of modifying and applying ACT to function as a gender affirmative therapy. Never condemning, and yet never avoidant, this book asks practitioners to look deeply within themselves and to embark on a values-based journey to create a space in which the full range of issues in gender identity, expression, and experience can be approached openly, competently, and compassionately. Moving, wise, and effective it rises to the challenge it sets for itself, and invites readers to do likewise.
— Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D., Foundation Professor of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, Co-developer of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and author of A Liberated Mind
Alex Stitt has written a truly delightful, comprehensive, thoughtful, and engaging book about working with trans and nonbinary clients in therapy. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – a mindfulness based approach – provides a meta framework for understanding gender, sexuality, and intersectional identities. I have learned so much from Alex Stitt’s perspective, about the complexity of gender, the power of relational therapy, and of course, about ACT – a series of skills and techniques available to all clinicians, regardless of your background and training. The tone is deceptively casual, the language is decidedly queer, and the range of tools is broad and comprehensive.