Using ACT to Empower Women

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Sep 6 2019 - 8:00am - Sep 8 2019 - 4:30pm
World Region: 
North America
United States
Robyn Walser and Aisling Leonard-Curtin

Women’s voices continue to be silenced even in this “modern” age. The Women’s March on Washington in January 2016, the #MeToo and the #TimesUp movements are testaments to the challenges that women still face regarding dignity, respect, and equality. Women and their voices in social, career, and family endeavors linger in deep-rooted and longstanding disregard. Women’s physical and mental health remain undervalued as well. Across the board, women are at a higher risk for mental health problems, and endure disproportionate violence, income inequality, subordinate social status, and unremitting responsibility for the care of others--and these disparities increase when considering intersectional identities such as race or sexuality. Women have significant stressors and barriers to living a full life, many of which men do not face. What does this look like? These can range in nature from experiences in your career to issues you see in your clinical work. Perhaps you and your clients:

  • Don’t feel heard and seen as women. Often, it doesn’t feel like there is room for your voice.
  • Feel a near-constant sense of responsibility for others’ emotions and needs. You put care for yourself and your needs last.
  • Feel years-long buildup of anger and frustration--at others and perhaps at yourself--for not speaking up, for not asking for what you want and need.
  • Are expected to do more (logistic, domestic, or emotional) than male counterparts at home or at work, for the same amount or less recognition, or sometimes, no recognition at all.
  • Are silenced or not believed when you or your clients do speak up about these disparities, or your experience as a woman (and especially if you are a woman of color)

If you are encountering these experiences, you are not alone. Women today are still living under the social influence of a very old patriarchal context. Whether it’s in our inner lives, our intimate relationships, or our public lives, women continue to feel the impact of not having their needs taken seriously, and this includes mental health care. But good mental health isn’t simply about being free from diagnostic symptoms. It is about being heard and about feeling fulfilled, loving and playing, learning and growing, and being flexible, free, and exercising choice in life.

What We’ll Cover in This Workshop

This workshop will focus on how social experiences influence and shape our inner world. We will explore the learning processes that promote disempowerment and discover how the process in ACT – being open, aware, and engaged can assist the therapist and client in the rise to equality, dignity, and the empowerment of women’s voices. This workshop will explore what it looks like for women to resist toxic historical narratives and work toward and experience well-being, in safe, meaningful ways. Over three experiential, immersive days, you will discover how to embody the ACT processes in self care and personal empowerment while also developing skills for how to do the same for your clients. We will use an ACT framework to address the challenges that women have faced for too long.

How ACT Can Help Women

ACT is uniquely suited to help unlearn the toxic messages we’ve all been taught from birth about gender and what women are capable of. Unlike the Western medical model that is authoritarian and hierarchical, ACT is a therapy rooted in behavioral and mindfulness traditions that place the clinician at the same level as the client. ACT therapists partner with clients to guide them in sitting with the discomfort and pain that comes along with being human, and in this context, with doing the radical work of being a women addressing her needs and empowering her voice.   

Earn 20 CE Credit Hours