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Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Powerful Behavior Change Services for All People


Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Powerful Behavior Change Services for All People

Presented in English, also available for session attendees (in Buenos Aires) via simultaneous AI (artificial intelligence) translation software in Spanish and Portuguese. More details available here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
(13 total contact hours) 

Workshop Leaders:    

Patti Robinson, Ph.D.

Kirk Strosahl, Ph.D.


Workshop Description:

Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (FACT) is a brief, process based therapy designed to alleviate human suffering human and promote valued living. Our goal is to optimize the impact of each and every therapy session, indeed, to treat every session as if it might be the last one. In this workshop, we will explore the basic, universal human dilemma involved in approaching the things that matter most in life versus attempting to control, eliminate or avoid the emotional consequences of that same caring. To their detriment, most clients have been socially trained to believe they can pursue what matters to them without the experience of psychological pain, thus triggering an unworkable struggle to control or eliminate could perceived as natural, healthy, albeit unwanted and distressing inner experiences. 

FACT teaches clients to accept distressing inner experiences, live in the present moment free from the regulatory influence of culturally shaped rules, and to organize patterns of life actions based in personal values rather than avoidance motivations. This propensity to accept what is there, join the present moment, and behave according to one’s values is sometimes referred to as being “psychologically flexible.” Most of this workshop will be focused on developing and strengthening core clinical interviewing and intervention skills, using a pedagogical framework known as CARE. Each letter of CARE stands for a sequence of clinical tasks that, collectively, result in powerful, life changing behavioral outcomes. Participants will learn the CARE framework via a combination of didactic lecture, live demonstrations and skill building exercises. Among other things, participants will learn to conduct a rapid, high-yield contextual interview (using the “contextual interview”); administer in-session rating scales; identify and address the key themes of avoidance, approach, and life workability (using the “four square tool”); quickly conceptualize client responses from a FACT perspective (using the “pillars assessment tool”) ; create powerful problem reframes that generate client “buy in” and motivation to change; and assist clients with engaging in new behaviors in their lives outside of therapy.

About the Workshop Leaders:

Dr. Robinson, PhD, is currently the Director of Training and Program Evaluation for Mountainview Consulting Group, winner of the APA Presidential Innovative Practice Award (2009). She is the cofounder of the Primary Care Behavioral Health model and Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She provides consultation and training services internationally and is committed to improving access to healthcare services and to realization of health equity. Earlier in her career, she worked as a researcher and clinician for Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, WA and as a Behavioral Health Consultant for Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Toppenish, WA. She has authored many articles, book chapters and books. With Jeff Reiter, she is now writing the 3rd Edition of Behavioral Consultation and Primary Care: A Guide to Integrating Services.

Dr. Strosahl is a co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and has long been a chief proponent of using ACT as a brief intervention. He has co-authored professional books on brief applications of ACT, including “Brief Interventions for Radical Change: Principles and Practice of Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. (Robinson & Gustavsson, co-authors, 2012, New Harbinger Publications), and “Inside This Moment: Promoting Radical Change in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” (Robinson & Gustavsson, co-authors, 2015, New Harbinger Publications). He has also co-authored best-selling ACT self-help books, including “The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression, 2nd Edition” (Robinson, co-author, 2018, New Harbinger Publications). Along with five psychiatrists from around the world, he recently published a book on ACT for psychiatric practitioners, “Learning Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Essential Guide to the Process and Practice of Mindful Psychiatry” (Goubert, Torneke, Purrsey, Loftus & Roberts, co-authors, 2020, American Psychiatric Publishing). Dr. Strosahl has conducted numerous training workshops on ACT around the world. Because his approach to teaching is so clinician oriented, accessible and practical, Dr. Strosahl has been referred to as the “hands of ACT".                                                   

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

1. Appreciate client preferences and service utilization characteristics that make brief interventions the preferred mode of treatment in many settings.

2. Describe the pivotal role that human language plays as a behavior regulatory system. 

3. Analyze the three “contexts” that influence behavior and are proper targets for therapeutic intervention.

4. Apply the concepts of rule following, emotional avoidance, and behavioral avoidance. as they contribute to psychological rigidity and maladaptive behavior. 

5. Describe the three pillars of psychological flexibility, and their specific corrective effects on rule following and avoidance. 

6. Understand the central role that present-moment awareness plays in promoting radical change.

7. Apply the CARE algorithm to structure the flow of each therapy session.

8. Use the Contextual Interview. 

9. Administer clinically useful in-session rating scales in each session.

10. Recognize and respond to unworkable avoidance strategies.

11. Reframe problems within an approach-avoidance framework.

12. Plan powerful behavioral experiments during each session.

13. Conceptualize interview data using the Four Square Tool.

14. Conceptualize interview information using the Pillars Assessment Tool.

15. Apply strategies designed to strengthen acceptance, present moment awareness and value based action. 

16. Understand the role that metaphors play in producing transformative change.

17. Apply physical metaphors such as the Bulls Eye and Life Path to set practical goals and increase client motivation for behavioral variability and direct learning.

Target audience: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Components: Conceptual analysis, Literature review, Experiential exercises, Didactic presentation, Role play

Topic areas (primary): Clinical intervention development or outcomes

Topic areas (secondary): Social justice / equity / diversity

Package Includes: A general certificate of attendance

CEs Available (13 hours): CEs for Psychologists

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