Want to learn how to facilitate an ACT-consultation group based on the Portland model?

Want to learn how to facilitate an ACT-consultation group based on the Portland model?

An overview of resources, people, and practice opportunities that can help you getting started

The Portland model is an ACT-consultation format developed by Thompson et al. (2015). Since its publication, the model has become popular in the ACBS community as a peer-to-peer learning format. And no wonder, it is a very effective and low cost way ACT-practitioners can practice their skills.

If you want to start facilitating your own consultation group, it can be daunting to get started or continue when things don't go as hoped. Regardless of your level of expertise in ACT (i.e. whether beginner or expert) and regardless of your familiarity with the Portland model (i.e. whether low or high), this page gives you an overview of ressources, people, and practice opportunities that can support you while dveloping your Portland model facilitator skills.

 Learn about:

  • The model's core features and advantages (e.g. deliberating skills + community building at the same time)
  • How the model has been applied in and adapted to the most diverse settings in the ACBS-community over the years
  • Members who share their personal tips with you how to successfully set up and facilitate your own group
  • Ways and (online) places you can gain first-hand use and facilitator experience with this powerful learning format
  • Dates and time of the next 3-hour online Portland model introductory workshop


1) Access existing resources

Make use of the articles, PowerPoints, and summaries generously shared by our community members:

- Link to original JCBS-article (also to directly download from this page; see attachments below)
- Portland Model information page of the Portland Psychotherapy Training website (with links to meeting outline, role descriptions, Hexaflex Monitor form, Transition Form, session structure)
- PowerPoint Slides of excellent introduction (public talk) to the Portland model by Michael Swadling
- Portland Model Meeting Guide (2 pages ppt file for download below)
- In Hebrew: See 3 documents below for download (attachment section) + explainer video of the Portland model in Hebrew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDScTlWUq6U (17 minutes)

Got some resources (ppts, overviews, cheat sheets, case studies, summaries, videos, etc. - in English or any other language!) that you would be willing to share with other members? Spread some community love and share them with other members. E-mail valerie_kiel[@]yahoo.com and they will get uploaded here.


2) Talk to an ambassador

Ambassadors are community members from around the world who have first-hand experience of facilitating Portland model consultation groups. Ambassadors are a great knowledge source because frequently, they have tweaked the model to adapt to their specific purposes and (work)cultures, and settings - much to learn and get inspired by. They are happy to share their experience with you and talk to you about your facilitator plans and questions in more detail. Please note: While ambassadors will not be able to help you set up your consultation group or support you in other time-consuming ways, they have plenty of tips and lessons learned to offer that will save you from re-inventing the wheel and increase the chances your group will be successful.


Tiina Tuominen
President-elect Finnish Chapter (holding office as president as of May 2022)
Experience: Facilitating peer supervision meetings for chapter members (in person)
Languages you can contact Tiina: Finnish, English
e-mail: tiina.annika.tuominen@gmail.com

Mikko Vuokare
Languages you can contact Mikko: Finnish, English
e-mail: mikko_vuokare@msn.com

Kalle Partanen
psykologi, psykoterapeutti
Languages you can contact Kalle: Finnish, English
Arvokas mieli Oy
p. 046 810 7474
e-mail: kalle.partanen@gmail.com


Eli Alperstein
Experience: Facilitating f2f and online meetings
Languages you can contact Eli: Norwegian, English

USA, San Francisco

Michal Vurek
Clinical Social Worker, has participated in a f2f (virtual during the pandemic) closed consultation group for several years in the Bay Area
Experience: Facilitating f2f meetings
Languages you can contact Michael: English

USA, Boston area

Daniel P. Johnson, PhD (he, him, his)
Experience: Facilitating a portland model group that I co-founded at the VA as a postdoc and one I started at my current workplace, which has 10-14 members weekly in the past 3 years.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
email: danielpjohnson.phd@gmail.com
website: https://www.danielpjohnsonphd.com


Michael Swadling (he/him)
Experience: Facilitating a Portland model group since 2015, originally for early-career therapists.
Clinical psychologist and board-approved supervisor; 2021-2023 Secretary of ANZ ACBS
email: michael.swadling@rmit.edu.au
or via Facebook message: www.facebook.com/urbanlabyrinth


Orin Gerstenhaber
Member Israeli ACBS -chapter
אורן גרסטנהיבר MSW
עו"ס קליני, פסיכותרפיסט ומדריך קוגנטיבי התנהגותי/ACT

Extra information: Powerpoint and word documents on the Portland model in Hebrew for download in the attachments

*Not seeing a a person in your local area or speaking your (preferred) language? Consider posting your query on the professional listserv, or on specific SIG's and chapter listserves or various ACT/CBS-focused Facebook groups.

**Do you have first-hand experience with the Portland model yourself and would like to be added as ambassador, then please get in touch so we can add your name and contact details to the list):They in the most diverse settings and culturesWould you like to start your own consultation group based on the Portland Model? Do you wonder how to tweak the format to specific contexts or users (e.g. private praxis or university students)?


3) Join an existing consultation group and learn from the facilitators there

No interest to set up your own group, but in for some peer-to-peer learning hours? There are many (online and f2f) consultation groups running in the community already. Some of them are open to ad-hoc participants and even new stable members:

The ACT for Military SIG consultation group meetings
Bi-weekly drop-in peer consultation group (every other Friday)

Not seeing a group you want or can join? Consider posting your on the professional listserv, or on specific SIG's and chapter listserves or various ACT/CBS-focused Facebook groups


4) Attend an experiential primer into the Portland model (3 hours online-workshop)

*** This webinar is ONLY for ACBS-members ***

If you are looking for a way to familiarize yourself with the Portland model of peer consultation (Thompson et al. 2015) and experience first hand how easy it is to practice your ACT-skills with peers, then this highly interactive online Portland introduction might be just the right thing for you.

Over the course of 3 hours, you will first learn more about the model's main features (experiential learning, deliberate practice, and community building). Then, after some warming up exercises, you will practice in small groups (max 4 people) to follow the format. This will give you a good idea about both the advantages and challenges of the format. We will discuss the lessons learned from this practice part together and also review typical mistakes made when applying the model at first (and how to avoid them). Finally, you will get a chance to reflect upon the possibility to set up your own Portland model consultation group or join an existing one as a facilitator or member (online or locally).

This online-workshop is for you if you:

  • Have a basic understanding and some practical experience with the ACT-model.
  • Have no or very little experience with the Portland model and want an experiental introduction into this awesome consultation format.
  • Want to set up your own (online or F2F) peer consultation group, or want to learn how to facilitate a group.


If you want to attend, you need to commit to the following:

1) Have a functional camera and audio, both switched on throughout the webinar.
2) Stay until the very end of the workshop.
3) Sit in a private and quiet spot with no other people being able to listen in or appearing behind you on camera (cats on keyboards do not count.)
4) Be willing to co-create an interactive and respectful learning environment with other members attending.


Saturday, 5 November 2022

Start of 3-hour webinar in different time zones:

San Francisco, USA Saturday 5 November 2022 at 09:00 PDT
Mexico City, Mexico Saturday 5 November 2022 at 10:00 CST
New York, USA Saturday 5 November 2022 at 12:00 EDT
Buenos Aires, Argentina Saturday 5 November 2022 at 13:00 ART
Freetown, Sierra Leone Saturday 5 November 2022 at 16:00 GMT
London, United Kingdom Saturday 5 November 2022 at 16:00 GMT
Amsterdam, Netherlands Saturday 5 November 2022 at 17:00 CET
Jerusalem, Israel Saturday 5 November 2022 at 18:00 IST
Nairobi, Kenya Saturday 5 November 2022 at 19:00 EAT
Ankara, Turkey Saturday 5 November 2022 at 19:00 TRT
Singapore, Singapore Saturday 6 November 2022 at 00:00 SGT
Sydney, Australia Saturday 6 November 2022 at 03:00 AEDT

Check your corresponding timezone: www.worldtimebuddy.com


To register for this online-workshop, please send an e-mail to: valerie_kiel[at]yahoo.com.

Please note:

This is a FREE online workshop for ACBS members ONLY. Please do not share the Zoom-link with non-members.
The Zoom meeting room that the workshop will be held in will close exactly 5 minutes after starting time. Please make sure to login on time to avoid disappointment.


5) Meet fellow Portland model facilitators

Would you love to hear how other facilitators are running a Portland model based group (e.g. how they have adapted the original format, which warm-up exercises they do; using real plays versus role-plays) and exchange ideas and experiences how to deal with common challenges and obstacles? Then come to the online meet-up to learn from and get inspired by the experiences and lessons learned from fellow facilitators.



Help us keeping this page content fresh and meaningful. Here's how:

  • Want to get listed (or removed) as an ambassador in your local area or language?
  • Are you running a consultation group and would like to open it up to other members (or want a listed one removed)? 
  • Do you have experience with the Portland model and would you like to share your knowledge with others and offer an introductory webinar for FREE and ONLINE to community members?
  • Do you have ressources (case studies, summaries, ppts, videos, etc. - in English or other languages) you would be willing to share with other members?

In all those cases, we would love to hear from you! Please send your message to valerie_kiel[at]yahoo.com

Valerie Kiel