Georg H. Eifert

Georg H. Eifert
Chapman University · Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

Ph.D.

About

135
Publications
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Introduction
Georg H. Eifert, Ph.D., is a clinical scientist, author, and speaker. He is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of anxiety disorders. He is also a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Chapman University in California where he previously was department chair and associate dean. Based on his studies on how we tend get caught up in futile struggles with anxiety and other intense emotions, he helped to develop and grow Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)--an integrative approach balancing mindful acceptance, change, and compassion to help us let go of our internal struggles and reorient our lives toward what truly matters most to us.

Publications

Publications (135)
Article
Full-text available
Background Assessing in-session processes is important in psychotherapy research. The aim of the present study was to create and evaluate a short questionnaire capturing the patients’ view of the in-session realization of the six core components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Method In two studies, psychotherapy patients receiving ACT...
Chapter
Die Akzeptanz- und Commitment-Therapie (ACT) gehört zu den prominentesten Weiterentwicklungen innerhalb der Verhaltenstherapie und wird zu den sog. „Dritte-Welle“-Ansätzen gezählt. Die ACT ist in Grundlagen und Anwendungen empirisch fundiert, basiert auf einem prozessorientierten Modell und ist ein transdiagnostisches Verfahren. Aufbauend auf der A...
Article
Objective: Evaluate the incremental effects of a computerized values clarification (VC) activity on anxiety symptomology and quality of life over and above establishment of a mindfulness meditation (MM) practice. Method: Anxious participants (N = 120, Female = 86; Mage = 22.26) were randomly assigned to a 2-week, 10-min daily MM practice + contr...
Article
Mental health promotion programs (MHP) seek to reduce sub-syndromal symptoms of mental distress and enhance positive mental health. This study evaluates the long-term effects of a mindfulness-based MHP program ('Life Balance') provided by health coaches in a multi-site field setting on mental distress, satisfaction with life and resilience. Using a...
Article
Background: Psychological flexibility theory (PFT) suggests three key processes of change: increases in value-directed behaviors, reduction in struggle with symptoms, and reduction in suffering. We hypothesized that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) would change these processes and that increases in valued action and decreases in struggle wo...
Article
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Rigorous evaluations of cognitive behavioral self-help books for anxiety in pure self-help contexts are lacking. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) self-help workbook for anxiety-related concerns, with no therapist contact, in an international sample. Participants (N = 503; 94% mental health...
Article
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Mental health disorders account for a large percentage of the total burden of illness and constitute a major economic challenge in industrialized countries. Several prevention programs targeted at high-risk or sub-clinical populations have been shown to decrease risk, to increase quality of life, and to be cost-efficient. However, there is a paucit...
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Background: Nonresponsiveness to therapy is generally acknowledged, but only a few studies have tested switching to psychotherapy. This study is one of the first to examine the malleability of treatment-resistant patients using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial that included 43 patients diagnos...
Article
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a therapeutic balancing ACT between acceptance and change. ACT is transdiagnostic and based on the findings of numerous studies showing that much psychological suffering is the result of experiential avoidance. For this reason, reducing and eliminating unwanted thoughts and feelings (symptoms) is not a direct go...
Article
Zusammenfassung Akzeptanz- und Commitment-Therapie (ACT) ist ein therapeutischer Balance-ACT zwischen Akzeptanz und Veränderung. ACT ist transdiagnostisch und basiert auf den Ergebnissen zahlreicher Studien, die zeigen, dass ein Großteil psychischen Leidens Folge von Erlebensvermeidung ist. Kontrolle und Beseitigung unerwünschter Gedanken und Gefüh...
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Resumo Fundamentos: A ansiedade cardíaca (AC) é o medo de sensações cardíacas, caracterizado por sintomas recorrentes de ansiedade em pacientes com ou sem doença cardiovascular. O Questionário de Ansiedade Cardíaca (QAC) é uma ferramenta para avaliar a AC, já adaptado, mas não validado em português. Objetivo: Este trabalho apresenta as três fases d...
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Cardiac Anxiety (CA) is the fear of cardiac sensations, characterized by recurrent anxiety symptoms, in patients with or without cardiovascular disease. The Cardiac Anxiety Questionnaire (CAQ) is a tool to assess CA, already adapted but not validated to Portuguese. This paper presents the three phases of the validation studies of the Brazilian CAQ....
Article
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Objective: Randomized comparisons of acceptance-based treatments with traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders are lacking. To address this gap, we compared acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to CBT for heterogeneous anxiety disorders. Method: One hundred twenty-eight individuals (52% female, mean age = 38, 33% m...
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Cognitive fusion-or the tendency to buy into the literal meaning of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations-plays an important role in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders and figures prominently in third-generation behavior therapies such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Nonetheless, there is a lack of validated self-repo...
Article
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Women and men diagnosed with infertility experience a variety of infertility-related stressors, including changes to their family and social networks, strain on their sexual relationship, and difficulties and unexpected challenges in their relationship. Infertility stress is linked with depression and psychological distress, and can lead to prematu...
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An emerging pattern of results from panic-relevant biological challenge studies suggests women respond with greater subjective anxiety than men, but only to relatively abrupt and intense challenge procedures. The current investigation examined the relation between biological sex and self-reported anxious reactivity following biological challenges o...
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This paper presents a summarizing overview of the present conceptual, empirical, and practical status of the recent “cognitive trend” in behaviour therapy. The theoretical and practical similarities and differences of the three most influential cognitive-behavioural approaches are presented and some empirical evidence of their theoretical bases is...
Article
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an innovative acceptance-based behavior therapy that has been applied broadly and successfully to treat a variety of clinical problems, including the anxiety disorders. Throughout treatment ACT balances acceptance and mindfulness processes with commitment and behavior change processes. As applied to anxiet...
Article
Although the field of couple therapy has made significant strides in recent years, there continues to be a need for theoretically sound and empirically supported treatments. The current case study examines whether Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an experiential acceptance-based behavior therapy, can be effective in treating distressed coup...
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INTRODUÇÃO: É crescente a produção científica brasileira na adaptação de instrumentos internacionais para avaliar ansiedade. A tradução e adaptação transcultural de escalas é um primeiro passo na obtenção de instrumentos válidos que permitam a comparação de diferentes populações. O objetivo do presente estudo foi traduzir e avaliar a equivalência s...
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Cardiophobia, a clinical syndrome that affects hundreds of thousands of individuals in the USA, is characterized by abrupt, recurrent sensations and pain in the chest in the absence of physical pathology. This conceptual article seeks to address the significance of cardiophobia in western culture and to distinguish it from related disorders. In add...
Article
We investigated the degree and course of heart-focused anxiety (HFA) in patients with cardiac diseases before and after cardiac surgery. We examined 90 patients undergoing coronary bypass, valve replacement, or combined surgery before surgery, 6 weeks after surgery, and 6 months after surgery. Patients completed the Cardiac Anxiety Questionnaire (C...
Article
Taxometric coherent cut kinetic analyses were used to test the latent structure of anxiety sensitivity in samples from North America (Canada and United States of America), France, Mexico, Spain, and The Netherlands (total n = 2741). Anxiety sensitivity was indexed by the 36-item Anxiety Sensitivity Index--Revised (ASI-R; [J. Anxiety Disord. 12(5) (...
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The present study describes the development of a short, general measure of experiential avoidance, based on a specific theoretical approach to this process. A theoretically driven iterative exploratory analysis using structural equation modeling on data from a clinical sample yielded a single factor comprising 9 items, A fully confirmatory factor a...
Article
Change-oriented strategies such as problem-solving/communication training (PS/CT) and parental behavior management training (BMT) have been used to treat parent-adolescent conflict. Although several studies have documented the efficacy of these approaches relative to wait-list control conditions, clinically significant improvements have not been ac...
Article
The present experimental psychopathology study sought to investigate the extent to which pre-experimental levels of avoidance-oriented coping predict anxious and fearful responding during acute physical stress, relative to other theoretically relevant variables. Participants included 80 individuals with no known history of psychological or physical...
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In the past decade, there has been renewed interest in the feasibility and efficacy of purely behavioral treatments for clinical depression. Emphasizing the functional aspects of depressive and nondepressive behavior, these treatments focus on the concept of behavioral activation, which guides implementation of procedures aimed at increasing patien...
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This case study describes the treatment of a middle-aged, Caucasian male for alcohol dependence. Treatment focused on using the valued directions component of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a relatively new and promising intervention for substance use disorders. Rather than merely setting a treatment goal to “stop drinking,” we helped the...
Article
The present study compared the effects of creating an acceptance versus a control treatment context on the avoidance of aversive interoceptive stimulation. Sixty high anxiety sensitive females were exposed to two 10-min periods of 10% carbon dioxide enriched air, an anxiogenic stimulus. Before each inhalation period, participants underwent a traini...
Article
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In the present study, the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-Revised (ASI-R; ) was administered to a large sample of persons (n=2786) from different cultures represented in six different countries: Canada, France, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. We sought to (a) determine the factor structure and internal consistency of the ASI-R and...
Article
The present cross-sectional study sought to examine the extent to which heart-focused anxiety is associated with the co-occurrence of coronary artery disease (CAD) and a history of regular smoking in a sample of 148 postangiography patients from a cardiology unit. Individuals with CAD who regularly smoked demonstrated significantly greater heart-fo...
Article
The present study examined the affective consequences of response inhibition during a state of anxiety-related physical stress. Forty-eight non-clinical participants were selected on the basis of pre-experimental differences in emotional avoidance (high versus low) and subjected to four inhalations of 20% carbon dioxide-enriched air. Half of the pa...
Article
Anxiety-related responding and skill deficits historically are associated with performance-based problems such as mathematics anxiety, yet the relative contribution of these variables to substandard performance remains poorly understood. Utilizing a 7% carbon dioxide (CO2) gas to induce anxiety, the present study examined the impact of anxious resp...
Article
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Despite the widespread use of metaphors to teach relaxation, there is no research to explore whether children prefer and/or respond better to metaphorical compared to literal instructions. Thus, our primary goal was to investigate preference for and compliance with literal versus metaphorical instructions commonly used to teach relaxation to childr...
Article
Although multicenter clinical trials have impressively attested to the efficacy of psychological interventions for common psychological disorders, some individual patients still do not profit from treatment. In this article, we present a theoretical model and some supportive results to explain this unsatisfactory state. Apart from early treatment d...
Article
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment that targets ineffective control strategies and experiential avoidance—the unwillingness to accept negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Although ACT has been suggested as an effective treatment for panic, substance use, pain, and mood disorders, there are no published...
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The authors examined whether motivations for drinking alcohol are associated with the anxiety-related dispositional tendencies of anxiety sensitivity, experiential avoidance, and alexithymic coping. The authors administered the Anxiety Sensitivity Index, Experiential Avoidance Scale, 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Revised Drinking Motives Quest...
Article
Anxiety-related responding and skill deficits have historically been associated with performance-based anxiety disorders such as social phobia. Prominent cognitive-behavioral models of social phobia have typically deemphasized skill deficits and focused more on the effects of negative cognition on social performance. Considering that empirical acco...
Article
The present investigation evaluated affective style in terms of anxiety sensitivity, emotional reactivity, and distress tolerance in heavy smokers. Specifically, heavy smokers (≥20 cigarettes per day) were partitioned into those who were able to quit for at least 7 days (n=10) and those who were able to quit for less than 7 days (n=12). All partici...
Article
The present investigation evaluated affective style in terms of anxiety sensitivity, emotional reactivity, and distress tolerance in heavy smokers. Specifically, heavy smokers (≥20 cigarettes per day) were partitioned into those who were able to quit for at least 7 days (n=10) and those who were able to quit for less than 7 days (n=12). All partici...
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The present study explored psychological predictors of response to a series of three 25 second inhalations of 20% carbon dioxide-enriched air in 60 nonclinical participants. Multiple regression analyses indicated that only anxiety sensitivity physical concerns predicted self-reported fear, whereas both physical anxiety sensitivity concerns and beha...
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A 20-year-old female who met DSM-IV criteria for both hypochondriasis and panic disorder (PD) reported intense anxiety-provoking daily chest pain, several panic attacks per month, and firmly believed she was suffering from coronary artery disease. More than 100 emergency room (ER) visits, numerous negative medical tests, reassurance, psychotropic m...
Article
We examined whether certain “risky” drinking motives mediate the previously established relation between elevated anxiety sensitivity (AS) and increased drinking behavior in college student drinkers (n=109 women, 73 men). Specifically, we administered the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), Revised Drinking Motives Questionnaire, and a quantity-freque...
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Although control over aversive events maintains a central role in contemporary models of anxiety pathology, particularly panic disorder, there is little understanding about the emotional consequences of specific types of control processes. In the present study, offset control over 8 20% carbon dioxide-enriched air administrations was experimentally...
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This study evaluated whether a diminished perception of control over environmental and interoceptive events differentially predicted interpretive biases for threat for ambiguous scenarios. The sample had 95 participants without a history of psychopathology. Results indicated that the internal dimension of the Anxiety Control Questionnaire (ACQ; R....
Article
Fear of bodily sensations has received extensive attention in relation to panic disorder, and more recently, other types of anxiety pathology and chronic pain problems. Extending this work, the present study examined fear of bodily sensations and its underlying dimensions in emergency room patients with Noncardiac Chest Pain (NCCP; n = 63). We posi...
Article
Despite advances in our understanding of the nature of anxiety-related responding during periods of elevated bodily arousal, it is not necessarily evident by what psychological mechanisms anxiety is produced and maintained. To address this issue, researchers have increasingly employed biological challenge procedures to examine how psychological fac...
Article
Predictability of aversive events impacts the development and maintenance of anxiety, particularly panic disorder. Although animal studies typically have found a preference for signaled (predictable) over unsignaled (unpredictable) aversive events, results of research with human participants have been less clear. Using a panic-relevant paradigm, th...
Article
This article reviews the concept of heart-focused anxiety that may occur in response to cardiac-related stimuli and sensations. Our aim was to examine the relation between chest pain, panic, and heart-focused anxiety in persons with and without heart disease. We identify a preoccupation with the heart and its functioning based on the belief that it...
Article
Predictability of aversive events impacts the development and maintenance of anxiety, particularly panic disorder. Although animal studies typically have found a preference for signaled (predictable) over unsignaled (unpredictable) aversive events, results of research with human participants have been less clear. Using panic-relevant paradigm, the...
Article
Heart-focused anxiety (HFA) is the fear of cardiac-related stimuli and sensations because of their perceived negative consequences. Although HFA is common to a wide variety of persons who experience chest pain and distress, it often is unrecognized and misdiagnosed, particularly in cardiology and emergency room patients without and with heart disea...
Article
Predictability, or lack thereof, is believed to play a critical role in the development and maintenance of anxiety, with unpredictability being associated with heightened levels of anxious and fearful responding. Despite the potential importance of predictability in theoretical accounts of emotional dysregulation, currently no standardized assessme...
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Prediction and/or control of threatening events generally results in less pronounced anxiety-related responding compared to when those same events are unpredictable or uncontrollable. For this reason, researchers have suggested that predictability and controllability may modulate anxiety-related responding, thereby serving an important role in the...
Article
The increasing recognition that panic attacks are heterogeneous phenomena necessitates better and more objective criteria to define and examine what constitutes a panic attack. The central aim of the present study was to classify subtypes of panic attacks (i.e. prototypic, cognitive, and non-fearful) in a nonclinical sample (N=96) based on the conc...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which anxiety-related individual difference variables predict anxious responding when individuals experience aversive bodily sensations. Thus, we explore several psychological and behavioral predictors of response to a single 25-sec inhalation of 20% carbon dioxide-enriched air in 70 nonclinica...
Article
Control over the offset of repeated administrations of 20% carbon-dioxide-enriched air was assessed in nonclinical participants (n = 30) reporting elevated levels of anxiety sensitivity-a population at an increased risk for experiencing panic attacks and possibly developing panic disorder. In Phase I, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 c...
Article
Full-text available
Control over the offset of repeated administrations of 20% carbon-dioxide-enriched air was assessed in nonclinical participants (n = 30) reporting elevated levels of anxiety sensitivity--a population at an increased risk for experiencing panic attacks and possibly developing panic disorder. In Phase I, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2...
Article
How can people from different cultures collaborate effectively? How can we imagine joint futures when we come from radically different background? Is cultural diversity an asset or a hindrance to effective collaboration? Is celebrating cultural diversity enough? This essay explores these questions by discussing the problems of convergence and diver...
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Laboratory studies of conditioned anxiety using a between-subjects group design typically involve only one session of conditioning trials. Because research suggests that anxiety disorders develop and change with repeated exposure to aversive events, these studies may fail to mimic the developmental course of anxiety in the natural environment. We h...
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Laboratory-based experimental research has led to important breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders as well as other types of psychopathology. Despite the importance of this work, the relevance of laboratory-based research using clinical and nonclinical populations has been understated—particularly given concerns about...
Article
Although researchers successfully have used carbon dioxide-enriched air in experimental and clinical preparations, its functional properties may differ across laboratories due to procedural differences. Additionally, current procedures may be too simplistic for more complex experimental designs. To address these issues, we present three devices for...
Article
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Four college students were exposed to a Sidman avoidance procedure to determine if an avoidance contingency involving 20% carbon dioxide-enriched air (CO2) would produce and maintain responding. In Phase 1, two conditions (contingent and noncontingent) were conducted each day. These conditions were distinguished by the presence or absence of a blue...
Article
This study examined the relation between the intensity of CO2-induced psychophysiological responses and content-specific fear conditioning. Sex-balanced groups of undergraduates (N = 96) were assigned to 1 of 3 conditioned stimuli (CSs) differing in fear-relevance, and within each CS, to either 20% or 13% CO2-enriched air (unconditioned stimuli [UC...
Article
This study examined the relation between the intensity of COP-induced psychophysiological responses and content-specific fear conditioning. Sex-balanced groups of undergraduates (N = 96) were assigned to 1 of 3 conditioned stimuli (CSs) differing in fear-relevance, and within each CS, to either 20% or 13% CO2-enriched air (unconditioned stimuli [UC...
Article
The present investigation attempted to clarify whether a lack of control affects self-reported anxiety and physiological reactivity during eight administrations of 20% carbon dioxide (CO2)-enriched air. Thirty individuals who reported high levels of suffocation fear were randomly assigned to a condition that either permitted or did not permit contr...