Plenary: The transcendent and the developmental ways of understanding ACT

Bartosz Kleszcz

Should we ever want more passengers on the bus? According to the traditional ACT model this question should be inconsequential to flexibility as the crux of the change is to hold anything inside in a neither appetitive, nor aversive state, and to maintain being more than the sum of all one’s experiences – called “self as context” – from which intentional responding happens. Such stance follows the classic “Making sense of spirituality” (1984), which subjects spiritual experience to behavioral analysis, assuming the psychotherapeutic utility of being able to radically transcend one’s conditions. However, self in a natural human development is derived from a sum of human-human relations. Such conditions do not always occur and oftentimes require long-term, cumulative interactions that outweigh one’s learning history. The lecture will present the tension between the two models of flexibility – the spiritual and the developmental, with their acutely different philosophies for progress – with consequences for how to understand type 1 and type 2 change in ACT, and whether to invite more passengers to the bus or stay indifferent in this regard.