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Houston, TX (USA) Dissemination Activities 2021

Deirdre James, Houston, TX, USA

Could you please tell us a little about you and your background?
Hello my name is Deirdre James and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am originally from Philadelphia but I am currently practicing in Texas. I work full time in an academic setting and also provide therapy to clients in my private practice. I have spent some time working as a behavior therapist with children in multiple environments. I also enjoy working with people coping with trauma, grief, women's issues, couples, and individuals with anxiety and depression. I hope to continue to enhance my therapeutic skills to help as many people as possible manage the challenges of life. 

How did you become interested in CBS?
I originally became interested in Contextual Behavioral Science through a professional therapist social media group. They introduced me to my first official Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training. In that group I joined a cohort and was able to learn more about the application of ACT with clients. The mentor group lead me to the ACBS website and suggested I attend the conference. 

Could you tell us about your research and application interests?
I hope to write and publish a book about feelings for elementary students using ACT and RFT as a basis for the book. I would like to highlight release activities for children to see ways they can physically express their emotions appropriately. I am also interested in researching how ACT can be helpful with Perinatal mental health and grief.

Could you tell us about your experience at the World Conference this year?
I really enjoyed the conference. One of my favorite parts was the small interest group meetings that gave me the chance to talk to some leaders in the ACBS community. One of my favorite quotes was "Just because you said it once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it again. You don’t always need something new. Educate your clients to see. Keep repeating. Keep singing the same songs until the client sings along. Repetition is the mother of learning." I believe that has helped me grow as a therapist and know that sometimes you do have to encourage clients with the same information. Before I felt the need to always give them something new to try in fear of sounding like a broken record. It just gives me comfort in knowing that repetition is important. The meditation/yoga sessions were also a great addition to a virtual conference. It allowed me to get movement and stay engaged in the learning and community.

Was there anything that stood out to you about the CBS community?
The thing that stood out to me the most was how welcoming everyone was during the conference. People were willing to share resources to help further my knowledge of contextual behavioral science. There is an abundance of information in the CBS community. I look forward to continuing learning from the people I met and the resources they shared.

What did you take back from your experience that has been helpful to you?
I honestly learned more about Relational Frame Theory and contextualism. But one of the most helpful things I learned from the conference is to incorporate writing time into my sessions. I now prompt my clients to write letters of compassion to themselves when they find it difficult to be compassionate. I have facilitated multiple experiential exercises for clients to notice what they are feeling and to separate themselves from the feeling.

Do you have anything else that you would like to share with the community?
I really appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow from the conference and look forward to being a part of the community. I would love to volunteer in some capacity if there are opportunities available to do so.

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