Beginning ACT Lessons and Developing Improvisation Skills for working with Trauma Memories: Kevin Polk, Ph.D.

Printer-friendly version

Beginning ACT Lessons and Developing Improvisation Skills for working with Trauma Memories: Kevin Polk, Ph.D.

A four-session Webinar February 3, 10, 17, and 24, 2010 (Wednesdays) at 4pm Eastern Time USA

Limit of 10 participants. Suggested tuition is $125.00 (However, Values-Based tuition is in effect. That means pay what you can afford and what you think it right.)
Sessions will be recorded and available for download for paid participants.

Sign Up Here: Just email Kevin at [[]]

Individual, Beginning ACT Lessons can also be arranged. Just contact Dr. Polk for details.

If you know of others who might be interested in the webinar or individual ACT lessons, please forward this email to them.

Overview: In this webinar you will advance from Beginning ACT Lessons to learning the basics of Improvisation when working with trauma memories. Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) can be used as an effective treatment for PTSD. One reason ACT works for PTSD is because it has similarities to Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET), which is already empirically supported for PTSD.  ACT, however, is a much gentler approach to PTSD treatment than traditional exposure therapy and almost all trauma clients will engage in the ACT process. ACT principles can also be used to guide conversations with people who have recently experienced trauma, and we will discuss this throughout the webinar.

• Lesson 1 (Feb. 3, 2010): An overview of Trauma, PTSD, empirically supported treatments for PTSD, and Beginning ACT: Lesson 1.

ACT can be viewed as a better way of doing exposure treatment for trauma memories. By the end of the first lesson you will know how ACT is consistent with PET for PTSD and how to set up the ACT therapeutic context for working with trauma memories. You will learn to use a simple, conversational tone that gently invites trauma clients into the therapeutic process.

Beginning ACT: Noticing the difference between Five Senses and Mental Experiencing

The most important part of the process is noticing the difference between sensory and mental experiencing. In Beginning ACT: Lesson 1 you will learn how to get people interested in this process. We will also cover “homework” that will elegantly become and ongoing exposure exercise for trauma memories.

• Lesson 2 (Feb. 10): Moving Away from Trauma Memories and Moving Toward Values

You will learn simple exercises to establish a reference for clients to analyze their own behaviors using simple values and defusion exercises; moving toward values and moving away from unwanted mental experiencing (including trauma memories).

• Lesson 3 (Feb. 17): Sorting Trauma Stories

In Lesson 3 you will learn how to use the skills from Lessons 1 & 2 to establish the sorting of trauma memories.

ACT provides a very functional way of having people tell their stories within a therapeutic framework. Unlike PET that can be gut wrenching for clients and therapists, the sorting inherent to ACT can literally make retelling trauma stories interesting. Through this process we will develop Unconditional Curiosity in both the therapist and the client. Through this blending (sorting) work most clients alter their relationship with their trauma memories such that they can do more valued living.

• Lesson 4 (Feb. 24): Improvisation

You will learn how to use the skills from Lessons 1, 2, & 3 and apply them to the art of improvisation when working with clients with trauma memories.

While working with trauma memories (even while using a step-by-step process) invariably things come up that can get you and your client off the process. You will learn some simple rules of improvisation to get back on track.

About Kevin Polk, Ph.D.: Kevin has been the director of Intensive PTSD Programming at the Togus Veteran Affairs Hospital for 20 years. He first directed an inpatient PTSD unit and then transformed that unit into an Intensive Outpatient PTSD Program (IOP). The program has always used evidenced-based practices for treating PTSD. About five years ago Dr. Polk and his colleague, Dr. Jerold Hambright, became aware of ACT and almost immediately recognized it’s usefulness as a treatment for PTSD. Over the past five years the ACT IOP as been refined into a step-by-step program of ACT for trauma memories. The program is also a training venue for clinical psychology, social work, psychiatry and nursing students. Much work and creativity have been put into developing rapid and effective ACT training lessons. In addition to students, the PTSD IOP has welcomed over 50 clinical observers from around the U.S. and the world to observe the 5-day IOP. The program was recently recognized by the National Center for PTSD for it’s innovative, cutting-edge treatment for PTSD.

Just contact Dr. Polk at to sign up for the webinar, or for private lessons.

Note: Dr. Polk's mailing list may not reach everyone who might be interested in this training. Feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.