Historically, ACT trainings have focused primarily on three core areas: an experiential understanding of the space behind the work, description of the underlying model and the research evidence for it, and exposure to ACT techniques. The exact structure of a given workshop, or the balance among these areas, has been determined by the trainer and by the content areas being examined (“Tahoe style” experiential workshops; ACT for anxiety; ACT for substance abuse; and so on).
These three things lay the groundwork for successful ACT practice but there is more to be done. Practicing ACT flexibly is a more developed skill that comes only gradually with practice. ACT II is designed to shorten that learning curve.
This workshop is meant specifically for people who are reasonably familiar with mid-level ACT terms, in particular the six core ACT processes (mindfulness, self-as-context, acceptance, defusion, values, and commitment). Anyone who is trying the model, or who has had a beginning ACT workshop somewhere can be confident that they will benefit from ACT II but even expert ACT clinicians will also find a lot of new learning opportunities that will polish their skills.
This workshop is different in terms of what it is training, how it does it, and the vision for evidence-based practice it contains. Instead of being primarily rule-based, this workshop relies on seeing, doing, and getting feedback in round after round of targeted experiences. The goal is to be able to use evidence-based processes linked to evidence-based procedures that address problems and promote prosperity in people. That is a model of evidence-based practice that is quite different than the “protocols for syndromes” era we are finally putting in the rear view mirror.
The workshop is a “skills building intensive.” I have developed a comprehensive set of exercises, tools, and film clips that will help ACT therapists become fluent in ACT micro-skills: reading, targeting, and moving psychological flexibility processes. ACT II will help you see psychological flexibility processes in flight, and target these processes at will within the therapeutic relationship. At any moment in any session you will be able to go in any flexibility direction you wish. This degree of flexibility and fluency changes ACT as an evidence-based therapy from a kind of march into a fluid psychotherapeutic dance that can fit the demands of your setting, client, and time restrictions.
By the end of the workshop I hope to convince you about the only way you can fail in ACT is to get stuck; and the most certain way to get stuck is to fail to change to fit the demands of the situation.
The style of the workshop is very interactive. Just as you can’t learn to dance solely through verbal instructions this skills-building intensive creates more fluid and flexible ACT abilities by creatively breaking ACT down into a manageable set of skills. If you have ever felt stuck in a corner of the psychological flexibility model in your ACT work, after this workshop you will know how to bust a move that takes you out of that corner and advances therapeutic progress.
The two days of training will help you:
- Detect psychological flexibility processes in-flight in-session
- Conceptualize cases in terms of flexibility processes
- Target psychological flexibility processes at will at any point in therapy
- Be able to stay focused on a given flexibility process or shift to another process based on clinical need
- To respond to any statement from any corner of the model
- To develop flexible and productive core intervention skills in ACT
- To use these skills to create a powerful therapeutic relationship
I look forward to seeing some of you at the workshop.
Peace, love, and life,
Steven C. Hayes
Love isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.