What is the Cost of Training in ACT?

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Because my name is associated with ACT as its instigator and co-developer I often get emails containing questions like this:

I am putting together a "toolkit" for community members in my area so that they know what kind of evidence-based programs are out there. 
What is the cost for participants in the program to learn ACT? What is the cost of the training program for the facilitators? 

 

My answer usually looks something like this:

ACT is a vast area and is run in a communitarian way. It is not a specific program -- it is an evidence-based model with specific methods of application that range from teacher burnout to psychotherapy; from Olympic sport to business; from self-help in Africa (e.g., the World Health Organization's "Self-Help Plus" program, which is ACT) to peer support for the chronically mentally ill.
 
We have foresworn therapist certification ... there are myriad training methods / programs. It is not centralized.
 

If you were diligent you could become competent in ACT in most of the existing ways it is specifically applied just by joining ACBS (contextualscience.org) and systematically availing yourself of the resources there -- hundreds of protocols, tapes, videos, tools etc arraying in a vast "Wiki-stype" site ...  especially if you then reached out to local ACBS members and plugging into local meetings and peer supervision groups

The cost to join ACBS is low. We have "values-based dues" meaning we ask people to pay what they think it is worth, based on their ability to pay. There is a $13 minimum (as of 2018) -- and a chunk of that goes to Elsevier for the association journal -- but that minimum itself can be waived if you are too poor to pay it.

Conversely if you want to access paid workshops (etc) they are plentiful and range in price in the usual way. Our annual conventions almost have myriad workshops for free after the initial convention registration, and the price is what is typical for conferences that also include a free lunch.

Bottom line: we live a bit outside of the box your question envisions for us.

ACT is not yet another evidence-based psychotherapy with an certification program run by founders that will anoint you at this or that level provided you pay up. We looked at that that horror show long ago and said "no" to it. Our "peer recognized ACT trainers" are the closest we come to it and they pay $80 for their materials to be reviewed by highly competent peers for free ($80 is less than half our secretarial costs) and the last thing they do if they are ready get over the hump is to sign a values statement agreeing to make their training protocols available for free or low cost; to not make proprietary claims; and to agree never to certify therapists in ACT so as to avoid the usual process of ossification and hierarchy that sets in so that founders can squeeze money out of people.
 
The bottom line: "the program" does not exist. It is up to the community whether it ever will ... I personally hope not. Nor is is there "the training program for the facilitators".
 

There is instead a scientific and professional community focused on a knowledge development and dissemination strategy called "contextual behavioral science." You can learning it all for free if you work hard at it ... and hopefully you can then also contribute your own voice to that development strategy.

- S

Steven C. Hayes