About the Conference

ACT (pronounced as a single word) is a mindfulness-based, values-oriented behavioral therapy that was developed in the 1980s. A growing body of empirical data confirms that cultivating acceptance, mindfulness, and openness to experience is highly effective for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, substance use, chronic pain, PTSD, anorexia and psychotic symptoms. The aim of ACT is to maximize human potential for a rich and meaningful life.

This introductory ACT training will be of use for clinicians working with adolescents in a variety of settings both in brief and long-term therapeutic relationships. ACT is an emerging cognitive behavior therapy, based upon unique philosophical and theoretical foundations. While ACT is a behavior-based therapy, it differs from traditional CBT. First and foremost, ACT does not involve cognitive disputation or relaxation training. The therapeutic target is psychological and behavioral flexibility in the presence of whatever shows up inside (i.e., thoughts, emotions, urges). The stance of mindfulness and acceptance, central to ACT, reduces the power of thoughts and feelings and supports clients to take their life in a direction that matters.

ACT based research and available treatment protocols and assessment tools will be reviewed and discussed. Participants will then explore and practice setting the stage for ACT using role-play. Experiential exercises and metaphor will enhance learning the ACT processes, in terms of how and when to move through the processes in session. While there will be some didactic presentation of the therapeutic processes that make up ACT, participants will learn the model mostly from the "inside - out". There will be a focus on assessment, formulation and treatment planning from an ACT perspective as well as specific interventions that are appropriate for adolescents, in both individual and group treatment.

In this workshop, participants will learn:
  •   How ACT fits within the umbrella of cognitive-behavioral therapy
  •   The theoretical underpinnings of ACT and how they relate to therapy
  •   The ACT perspective of suffering and therapeutic stance
  •   The concept of creative hopelessness as it relates to our patients and ourselves
  •   To appreciate the role of experiential avoidance in anxiety disorders and other mental health struggles
  •   To recognize the core processes of ACT from the inside out
  •   The importance of metaphor and experiential exercises in ACT
  •   To conduct an assessment and formulation from an ACT perspective
  •   Things to consider when working with adolescents in particular
  •   To apply the ACT processes to individual, group, and family work
  •   A beginning sense of mindfulness