The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris Interview

by | Sep 22, 2020 | Podcast, Podcast 1 | 0 comments

Learn what really keeps you up at nite

I was so excited to interview Russ Harris, Psychologist, Coach, and author of many books on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. We talked about what motivates him to write books like The Happiness Trap and what books he’s working on now.  I also asked why Russ got involved with mental health while working as a General Practioner and it all has to do with something called a Tim Tam. 
Listen to hear the story of how the cookie crumbles.



Leann 0:17
Welcome to the show for your books podcast. And today, I am honored and tickled to have Dr. Russ Harris joining us all the way from Australia. And tomorrow. Thank you for coming today. Dr. Harris.

Russ Harris 0:56
Oh, thank you. Thanks for inviting me.

Leann 1:00
So for those of you who have been listening to the podcast for a little bit, you may have heard us mention act once in a blue moon or maybe every single episode. And Russ is well known in the ACC community for those of you who don’t know, and he has written over nine published act books 35,000 therapists trained worldwide 600 workshops. The man is in I don’t know how many Facebook groups that he owns. He is on the professional listserv. He answers questions from anyone, everywhere, literally. So I want to talk a little bit about who you are as a person. And doing the research for this. I found an interview from you for a couple years ago. And someone asked the generic question, well, how did you get started in Act and you kind of summed it up in three sentences. You were a GP, you were interested in psychological aspects of your patient’s well being you found act and you quote, hopped on a plane flew to America to learn act. Now, there’s probably a little bit more behind that. A little bit of the story who just hopped on a plane to learn this thing they found?

Russ Harris 2:17
Well, yeah, look, so as a GP, you know, I, I became more and more interested in the psychology of health and less and less interested in that in the physical side. And my, my consultations, as a family doctor, were just getting longer and longer was, you know, getting to the point where I’d be spending 20 to 30 minutes with every patient and most of that talking about the psychological aspects of their conditions. I mean, you know, a lot of what family doctors deal with has got a significant psychological element that the biggest treaters of most depression and anxiety and so forth is treated by family doctors, but also lots of psychosomatic illnesses, lots of stress related illnesses. I mean, even the common cold, you’re far more likely to get it when you’re rundown and stressed and tired. And so I was like, Oh, this is what really interests me. It’s the psychology aspect here, you know, and I started at the same time, I was quite depressed. You know, I was, I was depressed, I was anxious, I was miserable. And I was like, you know, I’m gone. I’ve I’ve achieved the big goals here. I’ve made it as a doctor. Shouldn’t I be happy, you know, what, what’s going on here. And I was pushing my anxiety and depression away by eating vast quantities of chocolate. In Australia, there’s a type of chocolate coated chocolate biscuit called a Tim Tam. And, you know, they’re like, 12 of these big thick biscuits in a, you know, you can cookies, don’t you chocolate coated cookies in a packet. I was eating them all day long on a on a on a bad day at work. I could easily eat five packets of these chocolate Tim Tams. So I stacked on the weight I was, you know, about 20 kilograms heavier than I am today. And, and so I was a mess, you know? And so not only was I getting very interested in the psychological aspects of medicine, but also I was looking at myself, you know, why am I so depressed when I’ve achieved what society tells you? I’ve got good income, I’ve got great job, I’ve got status, I’ve got meaningful work. And so I was reading lots of self help books. And I, you know, I was just basically on a journey to find out you know, what, what is depression? What is anxiety? How can I help myself? How can I help my patients and I discovered the first model of therapy that I really clicked with was CBT cognitive behavioral therapy, and I really like that there’s a lot of value in it. I also discovered Victor Frankel’s work, Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, and is very interested in his work around kind of making meaning finding meaning in life. And I also discovered the work of Jon Kabat Zinn, the, the, you know, kind of the father of mindfulness in the Western world, really, his book, full catastrophe living. And so I was trying to, you know, bring these, I should say, at the same time, I’d been training and CBT, and had started to put some of my shifts aside from seeing patients as a doctor to seeing patients as a therapist. So I was kind of gradually winding down my medical practice and building up my therapist practice. And I was trying to put these elements together, you know, and a friend of mine said, Oh, you should, you should check out this acceptance and Commitment Therapy, you know, it’s got all of those things in it. And I was like,really,

and I went to the bookstore, and I bought the original textbook, back in 1999. And I just, I stayed up all night reading it, I couldn’t put it down. And like, I finished it at about five in the morning. Like, wow, this is amazing. This is amazing. And then I read it about three or four more times over the next month. And that’s a hard book to read. So that was quite a feat in itself. And then Luckily, by by sheer chance, about one month after reading that Steve Hays, the creator of Act was in Melbourne, my hometown, running a workshop. So I went to his workshop. And I was like, Wow, this is amazing. But I need a lot more of this. And so I so it was after that, then I thought I need to go over and learn this. So I hopped on a plane and went to the Well, actually, there was this what the coolest Summer Institute, which is kind of like a small conference in Steve Hayes’s hometown of Reno, Nevada, and got to meet all the kind of act hobnobs. And I was just, you know, instantly addicted, and

Leann 7:14
I think it speaks to who you are as a person, you know, you find something you love, and you jump through it. At what point did you start to see changes in your own life through this journey of learning CBT and then act and then the training?

Russ Harris 7:31
Yeah, it was profound, you know, like,my, my wife at the time, my ex wife now, but back then, she said, when I came back from that conference, in the USA, it was like, I’d been kidnapped by aliens and transformed into a much nicer person. I don’t know, I had just had the ACC conference, there was this experiential workshop before it for two days run by Kelly Wilson, one of the pioneers of Act, and that was a life changing experience and really took me to kind of depths of compassion and self compassion that I had never previously experienced. And, you know, I came back from that workshop really with a, you know, in reading the book and seeing Steve’s one day workshop in Melbourne and had a kind of intellectual appreciation of Act, but actually doing the experiential workshop, it profoundly impacted me and, you know, the idea of living a life based on your values of, you know, kind of living in the present moment of practicing compassion for yourself and others. And, you know, taking that out into the world, all of that with a kind of secular scientific basis was very powerful. I mean, I had experienced these concepts through reading about Buddhism, but I’m not a religious person. So I love the kind of the science that underpins the act approach.

Leann 9:12
One thing that when I found your books, according to Amazon, it was 2014 in the happiness trap, in the confidence gap, you are approachable, understandable, and prolific. There’s got to be something driving this you know, you’ve been doing this for let’s see, you said beginning of 1999 it’s now 2020. And you’re still writing books. You rewrote act Made Simple. You’re coming out with a rewrite for the confidence gap. I think it was

The Reality Slapagain, how many to one um, what what do you feel like is driving you to keep producing and writing and stepping out of your comfort zone to help people?

Russ Harris 10:03
Well, a few things. I mean, one is I really want to get the message out there. I mean, actors just had such a huge impact in my life. And I’ve seen it impact so many of my clients, I’ve seen it impact positively so many therapists in the in the in the training workshops that I’ve done. And then I keep getting, you know, no one gets letters anymore, but, you know, emails and text messages from from readers talking about the impact it’s had on their life. So it’s like, wow, this stuff really actually does work in a very powerful way. And that’s exciting, I want to get the message out there to as many people as possible. That’s one of the factors, I think. Another factor is I just, I love the creative challenge of taking something very complex and making it simple and understandable. That’s, that’s always driven me. Because, you know, when I was at medical school, medicine has a lot of complexity. And I did very poorly at medical school, you know, I’ve failed all my exams in the first two years. And I realized the reason I was failing my exams was because I was going to lectures and lectures, were usually in comprehensible there, can they work for me anyway, you know, very complex, lots of technical jargon. And I would just get bored and switch off and then not take anything in. So

what I, what I figured out was, Alright, stop going to lectures, read the textbooks, and teach yourself from the textbooks. And so for me, the remaining years of university, I didn’t go to any lectures, and that’s when I started passing all my exams, you know, doing quite well. So it left me with, you know, strong desire to take complex stuff and make it accessible, so people can learn it and apply it. And, and I find that, you know, if I, you know, act actors. Now, there’s lots of great books making act very accessible and understandable. But in the early days, there wasn’t and that was kind of part of the challenge for me, how do I make this so that people can wrap their heads around these concepts? Get this stuff and apply it?

Leann 12:36
In you were the first I mean, I think you were the only one, it was the blue act book to read. And then the book that if you actually wanted to understand act well enough to do anything with it, was the happiness trap, at least for me. So I really, personally, really appreciate it. And you’ve also done a lot of online trainings that are not only for therapists been open for coaches and people who are just highly motivated, self help book readers, and want to learn how to apply these principles. You brought up mindfulness earlier, do you remember how things change for you, when you were able to integrate mindfulness in with those traditional CBT thoughts, and just putting all those pieces together?

Russ Harris 13:27
You know, I came at mindfulness through the work of junk about zen, which is very heavy on mindfulness meditation. So that was a, that was very difficult, like lots of people don’t really like meditation, they find it hard, they find it boring, even if they do it for a while, they don’t keep it up. And so when I discovered, you know, ACT’stake on, on mindfulness that you don’t have to meditate that there are these really simple mindfulness practices that you can learn in literally a couple of minutes and do anytime, anyplace anywhere. That was, wow, wow, this is great. Now we can get mindfulness out there, act as an inherently pragmatic approach. And, you know, if you wanted to get people exercising more, you wouldn’t say you’ve got to go to the gym for 40 minutes every day. You know, you get a lot of resistance. It’s a you know, park your car a bit further from the supermarket, take a flight of steps instead of the, you know, elevator or the, you know, go for a five minute walk at lunchtime, you build up slowly over time and make exercise something that people can incorporate into their everyday. And it’s the same with mindfulness. If you tell people you’ve got to meditate, you know, for 20 minutes or 40 minutes every day, lots of resistance. So these kind of little simple ways of bringing mindfulness into everyday life. So useful, and I found it really helpful for me because, you know, my new year’s resolution every years to match Tape. And I keep it up for you know, a couple of weeks, you know, maybe a month if I’m lucky. And I definitely feel the benefits, but I just, I find it hard to keep it going. Whereas on a daily basis, I use these kind of simple little mindfulness practices that I know through act throughout the day. And that’s very easy.

Leann 15:25
Could you share probably your favorite one, or you go to?

Russ Harris 15:29
Tuning into the world around you through the five senses. So it starts when I come downstairs in the morning, and my dog comes to meet me and kind of mindfully stroke the dog and feel how warm fair and notice her you know, trying to lick me. And, you know, I’ll just really savor that moment. I like spend, you know, three or four minutes just playing with stroking with the dog. And, you know, absolutely, savoring and noticing what I see, hear, touch, taste and smell that kicks off my day. And then I’ll kind of bring that into the kitchen, where are kind of, but we’ve got a nice little kind of coffee maker machine. And I’ll turn that into a mindfulness practice, it’s, you know, taking out the coffee part and putting it into the machine and pressing the button down and hearing, you know, smelling the coffee as it comes up. And then slowly, savoring that first taste of the, you know, like, the coffee hits your tongue, and, you know, so it’s just like, it’s just a way of being present, that kicks off my day, with a kind of attitude of openness. And curiosity is very, very different to meditating. But it massively enhances the fulfillment and pleasure in those experiences, it saw too easy, you know, if I compare myself to my teenage son who comes downstairs, you know, says hi to the dog for about 10 seconds, and then goes into the kitchen and pulls out, you know, a carton of up and go chocolate milkshake drink from the fridge, you know, to kinda you know, sucks it down in three gulps without even noticing it. You know, it’s it’s a very different way of starting off your day, you know, not having to go with my son, I was exactly the same as a teenager, obviously. Yeah,

Leann 17:25
Exactly. And I and I think most of the people who need your books are more like your teenage son. And they’re looking for those practical ways to insert more mindfulness, But to your point, resist or aren’t quite as willing to participate in a daily formal meditation practice. And I like how in your books, it kind of breaks apart those differences. There’s a difference between a mindful moment and feeling pressured to start that formal meditation.

Russ Harris 17:58
When I wrote the happiness trap, the term mindfulness was not that well known. And so I didn’t actually mention the word mindfulness until about halfway through the book. Now, you know, whatever it is, 13, 14 years later, the word mindfulness is incredibly well known. And with that has come all sorts of misunderstandings. A lot of people think mindfulness means meditation. A lot of people think it means Buddhism, a lot of people think it means relaxation. Some people think it means a way to control your feelings and feel good. Some people think it’s a way to distract yourself from your thoughts and feelings. Some people even think it’s a type of positive thinking. So the term I’m actually in my training workshops to therapists advising them to stay away from using the word mindfulness, and come up with alternative terms because there’s so much confusion around this particular meaning around this particular term. As therapists I recommend, you know, use terms like unhooking skills, learning how to unhook from difficult thoughts and feelings or focusing skills, how to focus your attention on what’s important or saving skills, how to savor and appreciate something that’s potentially enjoyable and pleasurable, or opening up skills, learning how to open up and make room for difficult thoughts and feelings. You know, it’s not like there’s one agreed definition of mindfulness, I would kind of define it this way. And this is a compilation of many different definitions that are floating around, I would say. Mindfulness refers to a set of psychological skills for effective living, all of which involve paying attention with openness, curiosity, and flexibility. So it refers to a whole set of different skills and there’s a purpose to these skills there to help you live effect. Typically, and they all have at their core, particular way of paying attention, you’re open to what you notice whether it’s difficult or whether it’s pleasant, you’re curious about it. And it’s flexible attention for an example of inflexible attention. Think of a 13 year old boy, playing Xbox, you know, glued to the screen, completely unaware of anything else that’s going on, burglars could come into his house, steal everything. And he wouldn’t notice as long as they leave the Xbox, right? That’s inflexible attention. Flexible attention means I’m talking to you right now, I can see you on the other side of the computer screen. You know, and I’m aware of you, but I can also if smoke starts coming out of the kitchen, right? Now, I can notice that and shift my attention to where it needs to go. You

Leann 20:54
I really think that’s a great lead into your book, The Happiness Trap you like everyone else have seen the surge in happiness book, The happiness program, the happiness, path, the happiness, just stick the word happiness on any anything else, and you’ve got a book. But yours is about the trap of the need to feel happy. For those who have not yet read the book. Tell us a little bit about how that’s a trap.

Russ Harris 21:23
Yeah, well, so the book gets its name because popular ideas about happiness, mislead, misleading, inaccurate or even completely false. And if you base your life on popular notions of happiness, it’s a recipe for misery. So paradoxically, the more you chase happiness through popular ideas, actually, the less likely you are to be happy. And there are a number of these happiness traps. You know, probably one of the biggest ones is, the way to be happy is to avoid escape or get rid of difficult thoughts, feelings, emotions. And the technical name for this is experiential avoidance, the ongoing practice of trying to avoid or get rid of unwanted thoughts and feelings. And what the research shows us is the higher level of experiencial avoidance. In other words, the more time and energy you’re expending on trying to avoid and get rid of unwanted thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, all of that difficult stuff that shows up inside you. The more you invest your time and energy in that pursuit, the greater your risk of depression, anxiety, all sorts of other psychological disorders, you know, it appeals to common sense, the common sense problem is there’s all these painful thoughts and feelings here. Common Sense solution is let’s get rid of them. But what we find is that that actually doesn’t work in the long term. You know, a lot of the things that we do to get short term relief or escape from difficult thoughts and feelings actually make life worse in the long term. You know, the classic being the stuff that we put into our bodies, right, we all kind of put stuff into our bodies to escape difficult thoughts and feelings back then. You know, 25 years ago, I was putting double coated chocolate Tim Tams into my body to escape unwanted thoughts and feelings. And it works in the short term. You know, you’ve got chocolate, Tim, Tim, in your mouth, and I tell you Leann Have you ever come to Australia, you got to have some Tim Tams there,

Leann 23:34
You’re making me hungry,

Russ Harris 23:36
But make sure you get thethe ultimate, you get the double coated they, the, they are the best and, and you know why you’ve got that timtom in your mouth and you’re enjoying the chocolate, you know, for me, it would kind of relieve my anxiety for a couple of minutes. But it would be back again. And then I’d have to have another 1010. And, you know, and then before long, I’m putting on the weight and I’m getting unhealthy. And it’s not good having all that sugar in your diet. And, you know, of course, the same goes for drugs and alcohol and cigarettes. And so many of the things we do to try to escape pain, that give us short term relief from pain actually make life worse in the long term.

Leann 24:19
But you give a pass to box though, right when I’m reading during COVID that that’s totally not experiential avoidance, right?

Russ Harris 24:29
So, if I mean, that’s a great question, if you’re doing something and the primary aim of what you’re doing is to distract escape, get rid of these difficult thoughts and feelings. It’s a very different experience than when you’re doing that very same activity in the service of your values. So if I go to the gym, motivated by values of caring for myself, caring for others, I want to be fit and healthy so I can play with my grandchildren. That’s a very different experience than going to the gym. Because I want to avoid thoughts that are fat or ugly, I want to escape feeling like a loser, I want to escape anxiety. You know, if you’re going into an activity trying to escape or avoid feelings, it’s, it’s like you’re under threat, you’re trying to escape something. Whereas if you’re going into an activity motivated by your values about how you want to treat yourself and others and the world around you, and what’s important, deep in your heart, it’s like you’re going into activity approaching something that you really want and like. So it’s, it’s like the the difference when you’re running through a forest, you could be running through a forest to meet your lover at the other end of the forest, a beautiful reunion, that’s a very different experience than running through a forest to escape a bear that’s chasing you, right? both cases, you’re running through the forest. And so this is, you know, a big piece of, of the Act model is, let’s get people in touch with their values, get them using their values for motivation, doing the things that are important, deep in their heart, rather than doing things primarily to try to escape pain.

Leann 26:15
Can you talk a little bit about what you tell people nowadays about that feeling of just being stuck in trying the same things over and over again, and not knowing what else to try?

Russ Harris 26:25
Yeah. Creative hopelessness is my least favorite term in the app model. You know, it’s a textbook term. And it is, it’s so easily misunderstood he, the odd name is because what you’re aiming to do as a therapist, or as a self help author is create a sense of hopelessness about the ongoing attempt to try to avoid pain. So you don’t want to create a sense of hopelessness in yourself or your life or your future. But in this agenda of trying to avoid and get rid of difficult thoughts and feelings, with hope that that leads an openness to an alternative agenda, the agenda of mindfulness and acceptance, the agenda of unhooking from these thoughts and feelings and allowing them to flow through you without getting swept away by them. And without getting into a battle with them. Basically, in the book, I asked the reader three questions, what have you tried, so far to avoid and get rid of these difficult thoughts and feelings? You know, how has that worked for you short term and long term? And what does that cost you? And usually what happens is people realize, well, I’ve tried lots and lots of difficult things to get rid of these thoughts and feelings. And it works in the short term, you know, take some drugs, drink some alcohol, distract yourself with a computer game, you know, think positively, you know, watch a movie, you know, these things kind of work in the short term to give you a bit of relief from your pain, but in the long term, it just keeps coming back his thoughts, feelings, emotions, negative self talk, it comes back. And a lot of the time it actually comes back with a vengeance, you know, there’s a good research for example, on suppressing emotions, you can can squash down a painful emotion in the short term, but it rebounds with greater intensity in the long term. You know, thought stopping you can can stop thoughts, you know, snapping elastic band or say stop or, you know, imagine a stop saying and kind of push the thought out of your head, but it rebounds comes back with greater frequency and intensity. So, these things kind of work in the short term, but not in the long term. And then, you know, what does it cost you using all these methods to try to avoid and get rid of your pain? You know, what is the cost of eating five packets of double coated chocolate dim times a day, or drugs or alcohol or you know, if you if you feel anxiety in social situations, maybe that you try to avoid that by avoiding socializing. So, you know, what does that cost you? a, you know, I have always suffered from was at least once a teenager from significant social anxiety. And in my teens and my 20s the way I tried to avoid that was by avoiding socializing, and I wouldn’t go or I would just drink really heavily so that I would go and the alcoholic can help me cope. Neither of those were really very satisfying. They have big costs. And so, you know, what have you tried, how has it worked, what does it cost you and what we want people to do is kind of see that the, the while they get short term relief, from their pain, with most of these methods, Most of them in the long term, make life worse, not better.

Leann 30:04
So if someone listening right now is realizing they’re similar to young Russ, what would you say to young Russ back then, to help them know what to start doing?

Russ Harris 30:16
Well, first of all, I’d say this is normal, you know, everybody, I don’t know, anybody who likes, you know, painful thoughts and feelings, you know, we all tried to avoid and get rid of them. And a little bit of avoidance is not a problem at all, you know, the problem is when avoidance becomes excessive, high levels of avoidance create all sorts of problems. So that would be the first thing and I would say, you know, that the the methods that, that most people use to avoid it are methods that we grow up being told to us, you know, we’re all told to distract ourselves, are all taught to avoid difficult situations, difficult, challenging stuff to back off, stay away from those things. We’re all taught thinking strategies to try to think our way out of pain, you know, there are starving kids in Africa, what have I got to complain about, you know, think positively. This too shall pass. You know, every cloud has a silver lining, don’t cry over spilt milk, you know, all of this kind of stuff. And we all put substances of some form into our body, whether that’s just a, you know, aspirin or paracetamol, or whether that’s, you know, prescription medication, or whether that’s junk food, or whether that’s drugs and alcohol, we’ll put stuff into our bodies to escape pain. So, so the strategies are widespread, everyone uses them. And so it’s normal that you would be doing this, the first step is to kind of, you know, ask, Are you open to doing something different? Are you open to a radically new, a totally different way of responding to painful thoughts and feelings, that’s completely an utterly different to everything else you’ve ever tried.

Leann 32:12
And, of course, Russ talks more about all of the following steps after you realize that you’re ready to figure out a radically new way to move forward, the happiness would be the best website to go to where you can get all sorts of free downloads and free tidbits from the book. And there actually is one of the chapters that I want to ask you something about. So you have chapter seven, Look who’s talking. And then realize you probably don’t remember, which is in every single chapter. But you talk about your thinking mind, in the observer mind. And going back to the idea of, of mindfulness. Tell me a little bit more about how people can start to notice what is the difference between the thinking mind in the observer mind, and why should we care?

Russ Harris 33:04
When we use the term mind, in everyday language, there’s these two kind of different aspects that get blended together. You’ve used the terms, the thinking mind and the observing mind. And that’s a good way of describing it. So so most people, when they talk about the mind, they’re talking about all this thinking stuff, mind chatter, all the millions of thoughts that go through your head every day. But there’s this other aspect. Sometimes we might call it consciousness or awareness. The sometimes people call it the Silent Witness, or the silent observer, or the silent mind, this kind of silent observing, noticing aspect. There are thoughts popping up and there’s a part of me that can step back and notice those thoughts. Observe those thoughts. And notice how they change from moment to moment. The example I often give is you playing a game of tennis, and all your attention is on the ball coming towards you. And you’re really noticing that ball. And, and the speed and the direction. And as long as you keep your attention on the ball, you’re gonna play the game better. The you know, focus is a big part of performance. But you’re thinking self pipes up. Oh, am I holding the the tennis racket correctly? Where should my feet be? Oh, is that my, that my mum over there watching me? Oh, am I going to hit the ball Am I going to miss up the ball. And now as you’re kind of attention starts to turn away from the ball and you start to give that attention to all of those thoughts. Then you’re going to play the game worse, your performance will go down. So there’s this kind of Silent observing focusing path. And then there’s this chattering, talking thinking path. And when we use the word mind, we can lose the distinction between those two different paths. And mindfulness is about using this kind of silent, noticing, observing part of the mind, we can use it to focus in on what’s important right here. And now we can use it to kind of expand our awareness of very broad awareness of things that are happening, we can turn it inwards to notice our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions. We can use this kind of noticing observing part in meditation practices, where we observe our thoughts coming and going. And it’s a very different experience than this thinking part of our mind that’s just chattering and talking and thinking and reflecting. And both of these are very important aspects of being human. why it’s important to have this distinction is because most of us before discovering mindfulness just spent way too much time lost in our heads, we’re just all caught up in our thoughts all caught up in our mind chatter. We go through life on automatic pilot, and our thoughts just jerk us around like a puppet on a string. When we learn how to use this silent noticing observing pad, it enables us to take a step back from our thoughts to see that they may or may not be true, or they may or may not be helpful, or they may not be particularly important. When I can step back from my thoughts, I can have a look at them and go, you know, are these thoughts useful and helpful? are they helping me to take action and do the things that matter in life? Or are these thoughts actually kind of hooking me and jerking me and pulling me into self defeating patterns of behavior that are keeping me stuck on making my life worse?

When we discover this, noticing observing part, it enables us to switch off automatic pilot mode and become more conscious and more aware. If we’re just kind of lost in our thoughts. We were, we go through the motions on autopilot, and we miss out on a lot of the satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

Leann 37:22
Talk to me a little bit about where you are today. What’s the challenge for you now what what is the next thing for you?

Russ Harris 37:31
Well, says said the rewriting is, is just because over the years I have discovered, you know, but I guess better or more accessible ways of doing act explaining act teaching act. As you said, I rewrote my core textbook app Made Simple. And that turned into a mammoth job, it ended up being over over 50% new material, which I wasn’t expecting. I’ve just finished rewriting the reality slap, which is really a book about grief and loss. And that, again, over 50% new material just about started, so the happiness trap just a few months ago that reached the the million copy bestseller status. So that was pretty amazing. And I’m rewriting that and based on past experience, that’s probably going to have about 50% new material too. But after that, I’m not doing any more rewriting. That’s life’s too short. There’s too many other books I want to write. I can’t I can’t spend all that time on rewriting.

Leann 38:45
Well, please tell us what Russ Harris wants to write next, so that we can just sign up now and pay today.

Russ Harris 38:54
Well, you know, I’m I’m in the midst of writing a textbook on trauma for therapists and other people that work with trauma. And, and then I’m going to take a break from writing ACTbooks, I’ve got three novels that I’ve been brewing in my head, kind of sort of science fiction and horror, and I’m going to write those. And then maybe after I finished writing those, maybe I’ll come back and write some more books. Butit you know, I was wanting to be a novelist. And I’ve got all these unpublished novels sitting here, which are really bad and will stay sitting here. But I’ve got these three new novels that I want to write and hopefully they might be a bit better than the old ones that are sitting there unpublished.

Leann 39:54
I asked a lot of people are they a therapist first, writer second or writer and you happen to be therapist or would you say you’re closer on the you’re truly a writer?

Russ Harris 40:05
Yeah, I think I think writing is my number one love, I think,

Leann 40:12
Well, anything new on the horizon, you want people to know about any new workshops you’d like to announce?

Russ Harris 40:18
The website you mentioned before is kind of the self help website. But if if therapists are listening to this podcast and they’re looking for online training in enact, then the website they want to check out for online training is

Leann 40:39
Great. Well, thank you so much for your time.

Russ Harris 40:42
Oh, well, thank you. It’s been a pleasure. And thanks for all your penetrating questions that made me think so which I enjoy being a pleasure. Thanks. Thank you. Take care. You too.

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