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Helping build flexible relationships toward the self and the social world: Using CBS to support flexible growth in self and social connections with people aged 12 to 24 years


Helping build flexible relationships toward the self and the social world: Using CBS to support flexible growth in self and social connections with people aged 12 to 24 years

Presented in English, also available for session attendees (in Buenos Aires) via simultaneous AI (artificial intelligence) translation software in Spanish and Portuguese. More details available here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
(13 total contact hours) 

Workshop Leader:

Louise Hayes, Ph.D.

Workshop Description:

This workshop will focus on two contexts of growth for young people, showing how to intervene to build a flexible self and how to build strong social connections. We focus on this because young people are like the canary in the coal mine; data worldwide shows young people aged 16-24 are suffering more than any other age group, with up to 50% reporting distress that meets the criteria for diagnosable mental health problems. These high rates ought to point us away from the individual to increase our focus on the upstream causes of this suffering; these include social trauma, family and community change, loneliness, social media, climate change, politics, war and displacement, economic downturns, etc. In this workshop, we will focus on interventions to strengthen relationships:  parent-child attachment, friendship skills, life online, and prosocial behaviour in classes, schools, and community groups. We will also work on how to help young people see themselves as able to grow and change. We will explore opening to their vulnerable selves, supporting their ability to make room for emotions and respond with awareness instead of withdrawing, and how to let go of the self as labels, and see their inner-critical voices as ongoing events rather than a part of them. We will build on developing compassion toward themselves so they can achieve and reach out into the world with compassionate action.

The workshop will use DNA-v as a framework for this self and social development. DNA-V is a robust model of human change that has spurred enormous growth in the adolescent area, inspiring clinical protocols, school curriculums, and research.

We will not cover the basics of the model, but the workshop will still apply to those new to the model as we will provide reading and material on the basics before the workshop.

•       Prior learning will be provided one month in advance through lectures and reading.

Science and accessibility will be our key focus. The strength of DNA-V is its solid and clear scientific foundation, holistic approach, and readily accessible framework. In this workshop, we plan to use these themes to help practitioners feel empowered to work in youth social contexts and to help them with self-development.

For more information on this work, please go to -- and also

About the Workshop Leader: 

Dr Louise Hayes is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker, and educator.  She is a Fellow and Past President of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science. Louise currently holds a position as Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe University, where she collaborates on projects using contextual behavioural science. She is a peer-reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) trainer engaged in training professionals worldwide. Together with Joseph Ciarrochi, she developed DNA-v, a leading acceptance and commitment therapy model that has sparked international studies. In 2022 she released a new book for helping adults thrive in the face of change – What Makes You Stronger. She is the co-author of two best-selling books for young people – Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teenagers; and Your Life Your Way. She is also the 
co-author of the practitioner book, The Thriving Adolescent. Louise is an active clinician, working with adults and adolescents. Louise’s passion project and the highlight of her work is establishing a not-for-profit endeavour of taking professionals on the journey of their life into the Himalayas to develop their mindful way of being while raising funds to help children in remote Nepal. She is also a certified Buddhist meditation teacher in the Dzogchen tradition.

After this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Social - Explore the literature on social change and its influence on the well-being of young people
2. Social – Demonstrate and practice strategies to strengthen relationships, such as family and friendships
3. Social - Learn how to use DNA-v in group contexts such as classrooms and community groups
4. Social - Learn how to apply prosocial principles with adolescents (including the core design principles).
5. Social - Demonstrate and apply strategies for working with difficult social interactions
6. Self - Learn how to intervene with adolescent self and to apply flexibility interventions
7. Self - Demonstrate and practice strategies to build physiological and emotional balance
8. Self - Demonstrate and practice flexibility strategies with their conceptual self
9. Self - Discuss procedures to support achievement goals
10. Self - Demonstrate and practice procedures to build compassionate awareness

Target audience: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Clinical

Components: Experiential exercises, Didactic presentation, Case presentation, Role play

Topic areas (primary): Clinical 

Topic areas (secondary): Education

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