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Steven C. Hayes (born August 12, 1948) 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, and coined the term clinical behavior analysis. He is known for devising a behavior analysis of human language and cognition called relational frame theory, and its clinical application to various psychological difficulties, such as anxiety. Hayes also developed a widely used and evidence-based procedure often used in counseling called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which relies heavily on counterconditioning techniques, such as mindfulness (a private behavior in radical behaviorism), and positive reinforcement.
Hayes has been President of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology, the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (now known as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies), and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. He was the first Secretary-Treasurer of the American Psychological Society (now known as the Association for Psychological Science), which he helped form.
Hayes' work is somewhat controversial, particularly with his coined term "relational frame theory" to describe stimulus equivalence research in relation to an elaborate form of B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior (also referred to as verbal operants).
An author of 38 books and 550 articles, in 1992 he was listed by the Institute for Scientific Information as the 30th "highest impact" psychologist in the world during 1986-1990 based on the citation impact of his writings during that period.
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".
- 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, 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
- 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.
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