Resources for Learning ACT

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Here is a list of resources for those seeking ACT training or who want more direction in what to do next in terms of learning ACT.

There are two basic ways to begin learning about ACT:
Reading up on it your own
Seeking out a community in which to network and broaden and deepen your knowledge of ACT


On Your Own:

To gain a basic and experiential understanding of the ACT work:
Read Get Out of Your Mind, an ACT self-help workbook, and do all the exercises to get an experiential sense for the work. This is no substitute for the experiential workshop, but a great start.

Here is a list of scholarly articles and chapters freely available on the site (for paid ACBS members) that will help you gain a basic understanding of ACT principles (but not the experiential nature of the work). There are more that you might find interesting (and in other languages) so check out the full Publications list.

  • Hayes, S. C. (2004). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and the new behavior therapies: Mindfulness, acceptance and relationship. In S. C. Hayes, V. M. Follette, & M. Linehan (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding the cognitive behavioral tradition (pp. 1-29). New York: Guilford.
  • Hayes, S. C. (2000). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the treatment of experiential avoidance disorders.

 

To gain a depth of knowledge about ACT:
Read the core ACT text: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Second Edition: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change. (This revised edition of the original 1999 text was published in 2012). This will give you an overview of the basic theory and body of techniques behind ACT. This book can be pretty dense, so if you have problems with understanding it, don't worry about it, and just chug along. You can always come back to it later.

 

To see exemplars of ACT in Action:
Consider purchasing or borrowing copies of the many DVDs available.

 

For a simpler explanation about ACT:
Read ACT Made Simple: An Easy to Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

 

To learn how to expertly apply ACT using the ACT core competencies:
Read Learning ACT: A Skills-Training Manual for Therapists Learning Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for an approach to ACT that focuses on learning the Core Competencies of an effective ACT therapist. The website learningact.com goes with the book and is a resource for people who are interested in learning ACT. The Learning ACT forum provides a place to discuss ACT for people new to the approach and wanting to learn more.

 

To learn case conceptualization and application skills:
Read ACT In Practice: Case Conceptualization in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This book details the ACT model and describes how to accomplish case conceptualizations from an ACT perspective, offering a précis of the literature that establish the importance and value of case conceptualization. Exercises throughout help you to evaluate the information you have just learned so that you may effectively integrate ACT into your practice.

 

To learn how to apply ACT to different populations:
Read A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for many different chapters with applications to particular settings and disorders.

Read other ACT books targeting various more specific problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic pain, etc.) -- a complete list of ACT relevant books, books on theory and application, as well as related resources (i.e., videos, online courses) is available here. Visit New Harbinger Publishers to learn about upcoming ACT book releases (both self-help and resources for professionals) at www.newharbinger.com.

Check out the continually evolving list of clinical resources, including treatment manuals, measures, audio recordings, videos, visual aids, powerpoint presentations, and film recommendations at contextualscience.org.

 

Use the ACBS Site as a Resource
Visit www.contextualscience.org often. This website forms the nexus of what is called an online community. The whole community of ACT developers and researchers contribute to this website by adding webpages, files, multimedia presentations, voting, and holding discussion groups. New materials are being added on a daily basis. You can find forms to improve your practice, help tune your case conceptualizations, and a great deal of other information that might be helpful in learning ACT. To access all of the files, videos, and to contribute your own material to the website, etc., you need to be logged into your current, paid ACBS membership. Check here for the benefits of membership, and here to learn how to join.

Note: We highly recommend at some point perusing the RFT sections of the site. Since ACT is based upon this modern behavioral theory of language and cognition (Relational Frame Theory) its principles are very relevant to clinical work. While an in-depth knowledge of RFT is not required to be a clinician, you might be surprised at how even a basic understanding of the fundamentals of RFT inform your work. And there is much clinically relevant work being done in RFT labs all over the world; we're gaining a greater understanding of avoidance, suppression, sense of self, perspective taking, empathy and other deeply important clinical phenomena. If RFT seems confusing at first, come back to it and look for some of the introductory resources we have made available here on the site. You may find it useful down the line.


Learn from others and stay connected

Online Consultation
Join the ACT listserv for generally collegial conversation about ACT (acceptanceandcommitmenttherapy@ yahoogroups.com). A list of additional ACT-relevant listservs can be accessed here. There are also threaded discussion boards on the website where you can post questions and receive responses from the ACT community. Soon there should be online events and online supervision groups forming, but this is still in the works. Keep an eye on www.contextualscience.org for more info.

The website www.learningact.com has a forum that is intended to be focused on discussion for those wanting to learn more about ACT and how to use it with their clients.

Use the ACT Core-Competency Self-Rating Assessment. This form can help to guide you to areas where you might need more work. Try it out!

 

Workshops
Consider coming to a training workshop. Particularly useful are the 2 day experiential training workshops which will give you a much better sense for the ACT "space" and what it is like experientially to do this work. There are also large yearly training events with hundreds of people where you can really get into the meat of this work and learn it much more thoroughly. Workshops are regularly scheduled at the Annual conventions of ACBS (this website), the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Association for Behavior Analysis. ACT trainers are located all around the world. A list of trainers is posted on the ACT website, along with the values statement ensuring that this whole process is not money focused or centrally controlled. Visit the Training Events Calendar for more information on upcoming trainings in your area!

 

Peer Consultation
Check for peer consultation groups in your area via www.contextualscience.org/act_peer_supervision. If there isn't one already available, consider posting something to the ACT listserv or to one of the discussion forums on the website and developing your own group in your local area.

 

Phone Consultation
Consider phone consultation. I've done phone consultation as both the consultant and the consultee. It can be surprisingly powerful. I'm currently collecting data in an RCT to see if this bears out empirically. This can be an excellent method for learning ACT if there is no one available in your local area. Most of the ACT trainers listed on the ACT website would be able to do phone consultation www.contextualscience.org/act_trainers.

 

Online Learning Opportunities
Consider learning at your own pace with guided procedures based on ACT techniques.

 

Academic Training & Research Labs
If you are planning to pursue an advanced degree in psychology or a related field, and want training in ACT, you should check out these programs.