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Book Review: “The Confidence Gap” by Russ Harris

Disclaimer: All following is presented as personal opinion and does not mean to be medical advice nor in anyway to be an endorsement. 

Russ Harris’ “The Confidence Gap” is an insightful and practical guide that addresses the root causes of self-doubt and offers tangible strategies to overcome it. Through the lens of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Harris offers a helpful reframe on the concept of confidence, asserting that genuine self-esteem and self-efficacy result from alignment of actions and values within one’s life. The core principles of ACT are woven throughout the guide, offering practical exercises and mindfulness techniques to help readers explore psychological barriers, identify their values, and take meaningful and actionable steps towards creating a more fulfilling life.


The book offers several key takeaways: 

    1. Acceptance of Fear and Doubt: Harris challenges the notion that confidence only exists within a vacuum of fear or self-doubt. Instead, he advocates the acceptance of these emotions as a natural part of the human experience. Individuals can move forward and take action aligned with their values by acknowledging and accepting these feelings.

    1. Defusion Techniques: Harris introduces various cognitive defusion techniques that help individuals separate themselves from the negative thoughts they experience and work towards observing their cognitive processes from a therapeutic distance.

    1. Identification of Values: A central theme of the book involves identifying one’s core values. By understanding what truly matters, individuals have the opportunitiy to direct their actions and efforts in alignment with these values that lead to a more meaningful and satisfactory life.

    1. Committed Action: Harris emphasizes the importance of building confidence through committed action. Taking small but consistent steps in alignment with one’s identified values, even in the presence of fear or doubt, helps to build resilience and confidence over time.

    1. Mindfulness and Present-Moment Focus: The book explores mindfulness techniques that help individuals remain anchored in the present moment. By focusing on the immediate moment rather than ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, individuals can take more purposeful actions towards their goals in the present.

    1. Psychological Flexibility: Psychological flexibility, a central tenet to ACT, is a golden thread in the book and encourages an individual’s adaptation to different situations and emotions, rather than focusing on resisting or fighting against them.

    1. Practical Exercises: Harris also provides helpful, easy-to-follow strategies and tools to facilitate the process of translation thoughts into action. These exercises aim to help readers integrate concepts from the book and apply them in their daily lives in a meaningful way.


Ultimately, “The Confidence Gap” is a useful and practical guide that helps to cultivate genuine self-confidence and self-esteem in a way that is a accessible to all.


On June 11th, our current electronic health system will transition to a new and advanced system to better serve you: Athena. Prior to the transition date, you will be sent a registration link to create a new patient account in Athena. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your therapist, or call our office to speak to a staff member.