ACT in the Workplace

This blog is from Working with ACT, a blog I co-author with Rachel Collis.

So many leadership courses are based on the idea that to improve performance we must firstly sort our thinking out. So we focus on motivation, confidence, self-belief or ways of controlling or removing anxiety and stress. Sounds logical enough.


There are many great metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. But to the best of my knowledge this is the first Mo-taphor.

I'm growing a moustache as part of the Movember fundraiser for the battle against Prostate Cancer and Depression. Two great causes, and a great way to raise money. I grow a mo and look like a fool, and then people make a mo-nation in exchange for laughing at me and telling me how ridiculous I look. Feel free to laugh and donate here:

ACT the Matrix Free Conference Call 11.1.11

We discuss a Matrix group and a bit of Evolution Science.


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ACT: the Matrix Free Conference Call "Automatic Mindfulness"

Here is the recording of the 10.25.11 call titles "Automatic Mindfulness"

The Psychological Flexibility Training book is on Amazon

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Steve jobs Speech.

My new offsite blog

Committed Action

My blog in Spanish: Conductista en Perú (Behaviorist in Peru)

Some time, some day, I hope soon... I will translate it to English.

The "Bull's Eye" in German

To all german ACT therapist here is a translation of the Bull's Eye.

Ich bin für Verbesserungsvorschläge offen. Bitte an mich wenden.

Viele Grüße


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Laura Schenck, M.A.

I am a doctoral student of Counseling Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado with an M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Boston College.

Please visit my blog, where I enjoy writing daily posts related to current topics in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Choice Theory.

Finding ACT metaphors

Hi all. I'm searching for two ACT metaphors, referred to in the protocol for treating clients with a comorbid developmental disability and psychotic disorder (written by Julieann Pankey, available on the ACBS webiste in protocols section). The first two metaphors referred to are Two Mountains and Dirty Glass. The text says to refer to the ACT handbook, but I can't find them in there, and I can't find them in the (fabulous) compendium of metaphors posted on this site by Colleen Ehrnstrom...Any advice greatly appreciated!

Uncertainty Training Therapy

Psychologically speaking, koans are a unique way to inoculate a human mind to the anxiety of uncertainty. When we encounter uncertainty, we are stumped. Uncertainty frustrates us with its enigmatic nonsense. Koans, in their unanswerable quality, effectively simulate such moments of uncertainty. Author Hee-Jin Kim explains: the koans are “realized, not solved” (1975, 101). Admittedly, this explanation is a bit of a puzzle itself. But here’s how I make sense of it. A koan, once again, is an unanswerable puzzle. If we take it on, we begin banging our head against the wall of the unknown.

"Acceptance and Values in Addictions Treatment": ABCTV interview with Barbara Kohlenberg

Dr. Barbara Kohlenberg's ABCTV affiliate interview on "Acceptance and Values in Addictions Treatment" is now available at and the addiction recovery series at .

ACT for individuals with paranoia

I am interested in connecting with fellow ACT professionals who may have used ACT to support individuals who struggle with paranoia.



Do You Need Therapy or Just a Mind Adjustment?

Is a therapeutic method so unique that only the therapist in a therapist – client relationship, can use it? When asked this question some therapists will tell you that it is their education and training that make the method of therapy successful. Others may respond with “an untrained person won’t understand it”, “a therapist is required for therapy to take place”, or “a person needing therapy is at risk”. This article will offer a different perspective of therapy and ask if having a therapist is necessary

ACT Trainings in New England and New York, 2011

Full listing of ACT trainings in New England* and New York, 2011 (as of April 2011) can be found in this post and continuously updated HERE.

A 2-Day Introductory Workshop with John P. Forsyth in Moncton, New Brunswick, CA

As promised, I've attached pdf files of the slides I used during our workshop.  This is the complete set.  I hope that you find them useful.

Thank you again for showing up and being willing to climb inside ACT. 

Peace -john

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ACBS Spotlight: 'ACT is Evidence-Based' says U.S. government agency

In case you are wondering what this all means, here is a little background. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States government.

Full Time Psychiatrist or Psych Certified NP Wanted

Buffalo General Hospital's Trauma Department is looking for a Full time Psychiatrist or Psych. Certified Nurse Practitioner for our outpatient department.

Please contact: Marcella Brimo, LCSW-R @ 716-859-4813 for more information.

Powerpoint with some points reflecting ACT principles that can be used with clients

I am attaching a powerpoint if anyone wants to use it, feel free.

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Powerpoint from my 2/4/2011 workshop (in PDF format).  I recommend the Powerpoint format as there are many dynamic slides.  A PDF is also attached though some slides will be a bit cryptic without seeing them in action or having them explained.

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Reflections and Dreams in the Windy City

Getting There

I’d been on plenty of planes before, sure never as far, but I’ve done some miles in a variety of metal birds that had varying degrees of air-worthiness.
So why today??
As I was being jostled along in a packed shuttle bus a crazy thought had jumped into my consciousness and stubbornly refused to go away.

“What if I have a panic attack???”

In truth this thought hadn’t really come out of the blue.
It had first tapped my shoulder a week before whilst sitting in the dentist’s chair and calming myself down in preparation for the yearly excavations.

Rascal Grin of the Original Face

I am a rascal grinning at myself in a mirror. (C. Jung, Red Book, p. 241)

Consciousness Is Its Own Broom

Suzuki reports the following curious exchange between Yun-men (a Zen master) and a fellow monk. When asked “Who is Buddha?” Yun-men said: “The dried-up dirt cleaner.”

To my analysis, this a rather profound response, although it doesn’t seem so at first. After all, Buddha as a dirt cleaner? What does that mean?

Creating Your Beyond

As a therapist in private practice my greatest joy is in working with people who are survivors of catastrophic violence and are ready to move beyond the trauma and the loss. It is amazing to witness the resilience of the human spirit.

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Can ACT and CBT be Merged?

It doesn't seem to me that ACT and CT are incompatible.  For argument's sake, let's assume that the two treatments can be merged in a meaningful way. If they can be merged, how would we go about basically integrating the different techniques (we'll save integrating the philosophies for a different day)? Well, some may argue that placing an emphasis on honing the ability to catch thoughts with the use of mindfulness techniques must precede the teaching of disputing irrational thoughts.  At first glance this seems logical perhaps because it is assumed that one must be mindfully aware of a thought before being able to dispute it.  I'm not so sure. 

Through cognitive restructuring, if patients are first made aware of the fact that their thoughts are irrational, they may have a better framework in which to do ACT work. After cognitive restructuring, they have not only identified which thoughts are dysfunctional or irrational, but have been lead through a reasoning process of why these thoughts are inaccurate. Now with a deeper understanding of why their thoughts are irrational and a clinically significant lesser degree of belief in the verity of the content of these thoughts, they could be in a better position to recognize which cognitions are best to defuse from.  Speaking practically from an ACT perspective, using the chessboard metaphor as an example, patients may better be able to identify the "black" pieces from which to defuse, while still being able to maintain self-as-context.   After cognitive restructuring and focusing on self-as-context, it seems to me that people have a greater fighting chance of being able to accomplish the very cerebrally taxing feat of letting thoughts float by.  In short, by first providing cognitive restructuring and framing the self as a container of both rational and irrational thoughts, increased understanding, use, and efficacy of mindfulness techniques may follow. 

Of course I recognize that "irrational" thoughts are not the only type of cognitions associated with negative or dysregulated affect.  There are a range of painful memories, facts, images, and maybe even manic tendencies with which disputation may not be particularly effective, and whereby defusion and mindfulness may be more appropriate; however, systematically disputing the cognitions associated with negative affect that are irrational before getting into ACT work may still generally be helpful. 



ACBS Spotlight -- "Learning RFT": Simple, Coherent, & Highly Recommended New Book Targeting Clinicians But Useful to Many

learning rft.jpg



My first reaction to this book is a simple and powerful: "FINALLY." 

Why, you ask? 

Jen Plumb TV interview on values and "The Art and Science of Valuing in Psychotherapy"

Jennnifer C. Plumb TV interview: The co-author of "The Art and Science of Valuing in Psychotherapy" discusses the ACT perspective on the significance and role of values in living life fully. The interview can be helpful as stand alone instruction or as a compliment to those psychotherapists/clients studying and implementing the wisdom found in "The Art and Science...". The interview can be found at

Kelly G. Wilson TV interview on anxiety and "Things Might Go Horribly, Terribly Wrong"

Kelly G. Wilson TV interview on addressing anxiety from an ACT perspective and his new book addressing anxiety : "Things Might Go Horribly, Terribly Wrong". The interview can be helpful to clients as a stand alone discussion of healthy ways to address anxiety or as a compliment for clients addressing their anxiety using Kelly's book as a guide. The interview can be found at :

Buddhism and ACT

In June 2010, I gave a lecture on ACT and Buddhism at the Interdependence Project in New York City.  You can listen to the talk by clicking here:  4 Noble Truths of ACT

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