Open, aware, and active: contextual approaches as an emerging trend in the behavioral and cognitive therapies

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2011;7:141-68. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032210-104449.


A wave of new developments has occurred in the behavioral and cognitive therapies that focuses on processes such as acceptance, mindfulness, attention, or values. In this review, we describe some of these developments and the data regarding them, focusing on information about components, moderators, mediators, and processes of change. These "third wave" methods all emphasize the context and function of psychological events more so than their validity, frequency, or form, and for these reasons we use the term "contextual cognitive behavioral therapy" to describe their characteristics. Both putative processes, and component and process evidence, indicate that they are focused on establishing a more open, aware, and active approach to living, and that their positive effects occur because of changes in these processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy* / methods
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy* / trends
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods
  • Motivation
  • Treatment Outcome