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Bosnia and Herzegovina Dissemination Activities 2020

Emina Osmanovic Basic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Hi, I am Emina, and I come from a small beautiful country Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am a psychologist and CBT therapist. And now I could say also ACT therapist.

A few years ago, while I was still practicing CBT under supervision I was introduced to ACT and CFT thanks to Igor Krnetic. I attended ACT and CFT workshops led by Igor and was amazed. Honestly, I was skeptical at first, but at the end of the workshop, I completely changed my mind. It was a really special experience for me and it left its mark on my private and professional life. This helped me take a different approach to personal problems. I started reading more about ACT and CFT and it gave me the confidence to try the ACT approach in therapy sessions. Right after the workshops, I noticed that my work with clients started to get better, to give more and more positive results and positive responses from clients. I was naive to wonder where the change came from because I thought I was doing everything the same way as before. Then I realized I had become more present, more mindful, more compassionate, and more self-compassionate in contact with clients. ACT has helped me to become more aware of the whole therapy process and be more complete as a professional.

A few years later, thanks to my dear colleague Dario Lipovac, I heard about ACBS World Conference and was encouraged to apply for the Developing Nations Scholarship to attend World Conference 18 in New Orleans. I couldn't believe it, but I got it. I was very happy about it and started planning my trip. Unfortunately, at that time a pandemic hit us and it was not yet known whether the conference would be held online or as planned in New Orleans. Therefore, the friendly ACBS staff offered me to extend my scholarship for the conference next year - through 2021. Many thanks to them for this flexibility and opportunity. So I participated in World Conference 19 in 2021. As no one expected the situation with COVID-19 to last this long, the Conference in 2021 had to be held online as well instead of in Poland. I was really happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a big and significant event in the field of psychotherapy even in these difficult times caused by the pandemic.

From the first contact with the ACBS staff, I felt welcome. From the moment I received a scholarship until the end of the Conference, all staff members showed a warm and friendly approach, were open to all questions, and were ready to help in any way.

The hardest part was choosing the topics I planned to attend among all the big names, amazing workshops, presenters, facilitators. I decided to book the pre-conference workshop "Be A Brief and Powerful Clinician: Use Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (FACT) to Help Many" led by Kirk Stroshal, Ph.D., and Patricia Robinson, Ph.D. I was really surprised that at the end of this two-day workshop we were given a whole set of tools on how to approach clients in primary care behavioral health to help people with physical, mental, social, and general health. I found so many useful things that I can use in working with clients.

During the 4-day Conference, I tried to take this opportunity to attend lectures and presentations as much as possible. I learned a lot about using ACT and CFT in working with different types of problems like social anxiety, addressing discrimination in working with transgender people, youth and the transition to adulthood, CFT for anxiety, learning more about the therapy process and our role as a therapist through cultivating sacred moments in psychotherapy and recognizing our own avoidance repertoires, about nonattachment in order to let go and become free. Attending lectures by big names like Stroshal, Robinson, Tirch, Fleming, Kocovski...was an invaluable experience. Although it was an online event, we had a lot of experiential exercises, time and space for discussion with presenters and other participants. Discussion rooms, chat opportunities, and a lot of networking activities allowed me to meet wonderful people from all over the world and share with them ideas, work, my own insecurities and connect on a deeper level.

The whole experience during the Conference has given me so many ideas that I can incorporate into my work with clients and my life. Immediately after the Conference, I started buying books to learn more about the use of ACT in therapy. I felt more confident using ACT metaphors and techniques in sessions with clients. It was more natural for me to include some experiential exercises or use ACT explanations for different types of client difficulties. And I felt I was explaining them better.

Motivated and inspired by the Conference, I enrolled in Mindfulness training and started practicing mindfulness daily. It helped me a lot to learn more about the way my mind works and to have the freedom to take a different stance at a given time and situation.

Thanks to World Conference 19, I was encouraged to expand my own practice and share my knowledge of ACT and CFT with my colleagues through various educations and training.

My goal for 2022 is to launch an ACT workshop for parents of children with disabilities to share with them all the benefits of the ACT approach to life. I also see this as my personal goal or to call it an obligation, because a few years ago as a professional I found myself having so little to give in working with parent groups. Now with ACT, I feel like I have in my hands tools of inestimable usefulness that I can share with parents.

For me this Conference was not just an educational session to learn about ACT and CFT, it was the whole ACT and CFT experience. Many thanks to all ACBS members.

While awarded in 2020, Emina attend the virtual conference in 2021.

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