Fear No Emptiness

Truth is tribe-specific, mind-specific, moment-specific, fear-specific information.
You make a sound (whatever it is that your culture designated for a given fear)
And - bam! - everybody’s mind stops agog: “What? What?!”

I know one thing: there is no one thing, i.e. there is no one truth, i.e. there is no truth.
I left some blank space above and below for you to process this information
out of the singularity of your emptiness.

Fear no emptiness, certainly not your own!
"Boo!-ddha" is but an alarm call for: "beware of informational fullness."
Empty your mind of fear.

Your (and my) skull is a soup bowl full of alphabet; tip it over.
Fear no information.
Let mind spill.

What's in the thought bubble above your head?

Current favorite primary care intervention...


Who am I?
D’ you know it? Shall I know it some day?
I am my own way,
the waiting room of the being
That is waiting for me.
Today I’ve been a coward, a genius yesterday
And a stupid some other day;
I am an exhausted walker,
A deserted way,
A passing cloud
A gentle rain
A sour tear
A lonely wind
An extinguished fire.
And who knows what
I’ll be tomorrow.
And what about you,
Do you know who are you?
How many “you” are in you?
And who are all those people around…?
Do you know what “to be” means?
Tell it to me, please
I am yearning to know it.

Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression - a group process

I am using the Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression in a group format at Lehman College, and will document my findings here. I did look at the resources here to see who has done depression groups or groups in general from an ACT perspective, and what I have found has been helpful.

Setting: Lehman College

Using the Hexaflex as a way of underpinning a school's organizational framework

I have been a Guidance Officer with Education Queensland for the last 12 years. In that capacity I have visited many, many schools: I am constantly amazed that none of them has a psychological framework that underpins the functioning of those schools. My belief that the Hexaflex is an an excellent model for underpinning the functioning of a school! I am posting this in the hope that someone might know whether this can be done/is being done, and if possible 'help me with the cause' of implementing the Hexaflex as an organizational framework. Any help/advice will much appreciated.

Open inpatient groups

I am attempting to put together a small, daily, open co-ed group of 5-8 patients with a dx of PTSD or trauma related issues. The average stay of a patient is 7 - 10 days. The primary questions arises, how do I present a psycho-ed / process group model and apply it with the above noted parameters. I presume that I will teach a "module" on Monday and another "module" on Tuesday, etc. -How do I convey Monday's module to the new members in Tuesday's group w/o taking up inordinate amount of time. Any ideas? Thanks


Hi Folks,

I just uploaded a new video showing the basic structure of how Jerold and I assign homework.

We always assign homework and then review it in the next session.

We have 100% homework compliance.

Take care,


Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D. P.S.

Learning ACT through the Matrix and New (free) Value a Day Course


The recording of the March 31, 2010 Webinar titled
"Learning ACT through the Matrix"
is now available at [[]].

This was a slightly more technical webinar in which I established the Matrix
and also talked about Relational Frame Theory, Functional Contextualism and
the Hexaflex. We talked a lot about the target of ACT: Psychological Flexibility


The Value A Day email course has been updated. It is now more consistent

WALRUS -- Working and Living Resiliently Under Stress

Have you stumbled upon this site while looking for information about the WALRUS stress reduction program and online in-service course? You're in luck! Keep reading for more information, or email to enroll.


This is a press release I recently wrote for a stress reduction program I'm running through UNR with education employees in Nevada. Hopefully we'll be able to help some people out in these rough times. Plus, we'll be collecting data that can help others down the road. Here's the release:

On Being a Graduate Student and Learning ACT

I'm about halfway through my Master's in Counseling program at Webster University in St. Louis, MO (U.S.). ACT, along with Existential influences, is my theoretical orientation. I was wondering if anyone out there who is also in graduate school and subscribes to ACT theory has encountered the absolute weirdness that this brings. That is to say, that ACT runs against many traditional therapies, including aspects of CBT. However, ACT seems to really run counter to psychodynamic theory in case conceptualization, theory of psychopathology, and many other aspects.

Experimental Blog Entry: Do not wash . . .

Dedicated to the people I serve, I have enjoyed providing psychotherapy and mental health care through the practice of evidence-based cognitive and behavioral therapy for two full decades. My solo private practice offers an elegant, relaxed and entirely confidential setting for the effective realization of vital personal change.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Treatment for Depression, Anxiety and Panic
Seattle Mental Health Therapist: Psychotherapist and Psychologist Referrals
Private Counselor: Learn Self-Regulation of Your Mood, Emotion and Behavior

Sorting for Self as Context Video

For those who are interested, I just posted a "Sorting" video here [[]] in the Glossary section of the ACT by Numbers website.

Sorting refers to, "Noticing the difference between five-senses experiencing and mental experiencing; and noticing the difference between moving toward and moving away." The sorting is done from a distanced, self-as-context point of view.

Just email me if you have questions.

Take care,


Update to the PTSD IOP at Togus

Hi Folks,

Attached you will find a pdf for the new IOP format. This adjustment shows our moving "The Press Box View" from Thursday to Tuesday in light of program evaluation data showing we needed to ramp up self as context.

Take Care,


Kevin L. Polk, Ph.D.
PTSD IOP, Togus, Maine

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New Matrix Design

Hi Folks,

Over on he [[]] website (ACT for Personal Growth and Development) I posted a new Matrix design.

The big change is over on the Values side. Now a line goes from the Self (III) to a chosen value. A dotted line is a planned action, then the line can be made solid after the valued action is done.

The multiple lines over on the Toward (Values) side represents widening choices of actions toward values. The single line on the Away side represents restricted choices on the away side.

Take care,


Values in ACT

I am currently reading The Art and Science of Valuing in Psychotherapy by Dahl, et al. Thus far (about halfway through it), it has been very accessible and engaging. It provides a nice synopsis of RFT as well as the basic tenets of ACT and does well to clarify different types of cognitive fusion, which would seem to be a helpful way of conceptualizing fusion with clients (or with ourselves). I would recommend this book to anyone interested in ACT, though like with most ACT books, it is highly advisable to read the original ACT book (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999) before you do so.

ACBS Spotlight: Bridging the RFT - Clinical Process Gap

As the CBS community gears up for the 8th World Conference in Reno, NV in June, there has been talk of how this year, the community is focusing on how we can make further strides in translational research and not only learn how to talk to others doing work of interest to us, but also to seek out ways to collaborate. Our mission: Find new ways to alleviate human suffering, stretch our intellect and reach for new questions and new ways of answering them, and learn from the tools developed by others.

Lesson 1: Moving Toward Unconditional Curiosity

Dear Colleagues:

Upcoming Webinar Announcement

Lesson 1: Moving Toward Unconditional Curiosity

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 4 to 5:30pm EST

This is a one-time Webinar lasting 1.5 hours.
Fee is $20.00
Register at:
You can pay with any credit or debit card.
After registering you will receive a PayPal invoice for the fee,
however, you don't need a PayPal account.

Oops! Yes, There is Values-Based Tuition for the Webinar

A couple of people have asked if "Values-Based" tuition is in effect for the upcoming Webinar starting Feb. 3. (They asked because I managed to forget to mention it.)

Yes, $125.00 is the suggested amount, but anyone can pay what he can afford combined with what she thinks is right.

I also fixed this in the announcements.

Take care,


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

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 [[]]

protocol for ACT and cancer

I am applying for a research fellowship to study depression in cancer populations. I was wondering if anyone knows how I might get access to the ACT protocol that Branstetter et al. (2004) used in their study that demonstrated ACT was effective in reducing psychological distress for terminal cancer patients.

Eileen Delaney

Presentación en la Sociedad Argentina de Psicotrauma

En adjunto está la presentación que se dio en el "Curso de Especialización en situaciones críticas individuales y colectivas "de la Sociedad Argentina. Primera presentación del modelo!
Se agradece cualquier feedback...

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ACBS Spotlight: Transforming the Function of Healthy Eating with the Food Dudes

Obesity is an increasing problem in the developed world for adults, and sadly, children as well. While numerous factors play a part in weight problems, from a behavioral science perspective, the importance of healthy eating behavior patterns in combatting this epidemic is clear.

Musings on Japanese Concept of "Ba" - the Arrow of Circumstance

Whether we sit alone or sit together, we sit in the ba. “Ba” is Japanese for a circumstance of a shared space: “what I feel now is not in me, but in the ba” (1).

Life is movement. There is no movement without friction. This friction you feel when you sit (meditatively) alone is the feel of the internal circumstance that is moving through you. This friction you feel when you sit (socially) together with another is the feel of the external circumstance that is moving past you. It’s the feel of the ba – feel it and put it back, back into the River of Circumstance.

ACBS Spotlight: Nurturing Environments - Bringing Behavioral Science into the Culture

For 25 years Tony Biglan of Oregon Research Institute (and long-time ACBS member) has been diligently working to bring behavioral science to the area of prevention with the purpose of building well-being at a societal level. With such initiatives as changing public policy to increase safety behaviors (such as seatbealt wearing), preventing smoking, preventing and addressing risky behavior in youth, Tony and countless others have sought ways to move closer to a more real "Walden Two" for children and adults.

ACBS Spotlight: Recent Grant Activity

There are new grants hitting all over the world in the ACT/RFT arena. Today I want to point out two recently awarded grants that we know about.

  • [[|Andrew Gloster]] has been awarded a grant from the German government. The title of the project is (paraphrased from the German): What Should We Do When CBT for Panic/Agoraphobia Fails: ACT! The goal is to test whether ACT can help those patients who are categorized as non-responders following an intense course of CBT.

ACT in New England #11: October 2009

Click [[|here]] for working links.
Click [[|here]] for printable version.
Click [[|here]] to subscribe.

ACT in New England List
Mailing #11: October 2009

1. Welcome
2. ACT Trainings in New England
3. ACT at ABCT in NYC
4. Online Survey on ACT Interests
5. Start planning for Reno!

Addendum: Subscribe/Unsubscribe Links & Info


Does anyone know of any workshops or presentations happening in Minniapolis or in Toronto Canada or Winnipeg Canada in 2010


The Psychological Flexibility Warm Up on YouTube

Hi folks,

I created a video of me doing the psychological flexibility warmup. It's the set up for the Matrix.


If you can rate it and leave a comment, that would be great.

You can even sign up for updates. I will be posting the Values exercise soon.

Also, The Psychological Flexibility Blog is at:


Sign up to Follow the blog to receive the lessons as I update them.



The Psychological Flexibility Newsletter

Hello Folks:

Just checking in to let you folks on the email list about upcoming training events. Also, my friend and colleague, Benjamin Schoendorff, just published the first French language ACT book. You can see it at


I will be facilitating a “new” Webinar in October called

Working with Trauma Memories using the Matrix.

This four-session Webinar will be held on Tuesdays at 4pm EST USA, October 6, 13, 20, and 27.

More writing tips for psychologists - webcasts on "reader sensitivity"

What's it take to be a good writer for popular audiences? How about a strangely named skill called "reader sensitivity"?

On my writing tips blog, I've created 4 linked webcasts explaining this skill and how to nurture it. Comments welcome! Here's the link:

[[|Webcast: How to develop “reader sensitivity”]]

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