Full Course Description

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Step-by-Step

Program Information

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Case Managers, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, and other Mental Health Professionals


  1. Demonstrate effective use of the six core processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help clients advance psychological flexibility.
  2. Employ clinical techniques for increasing psychological flexibility in clients using ACT.
  3. Utilize acceptance approaches with avoidance problems to strengthen a client’s willingness to have emotions.
  4. Apply clinical skills to help client effectively handle automatic cognitions.
  5. Utilize effective ACT exercises in therapy to aid clients with developing new skills to engage in the present moment and move past struggles.
  6. Assess and clarify a client’s values in order to develop an effective treatment plan and avoid potential clinical problems.
  7. Integrate ACT into different therapeutic styles and methods as an approach to managing symptoms.
  8. Create committed action plans for clients with anxiety disorders to improve level of functioning.
  9. Use metaphors to undermine language-based avoidance repertoires to improve client engagement.
  10. Utilize clinical strategies to develop an ACT-based behavior therapy plan as it relates to treatment outcomes.
  11. Perform emotional, behavioral willingness and exposure techniques with clients to reduce experiential avoidance.
  12. Apply ACT techniques to the treatment of specific disorders including depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders.


The ACT Model

  • The nature of human suffering
  • “Healthy normality” is a myth
  • Language: The double-edged sword
  • Undermine unhelpful thoughts
  • Aiming for psychological flexibility and why
  • The ACT hexagon model


  • Strengthening a willingness to have emotions
  • The opposite of acceptance is experiential avoidance
  • Experiential avoidance throughout the lifespan
  • Why acceptance is important
  • Case example: Teenage shyness & hoarding


  • Look at thoughts rather than from thoughts
  • Deal with automatic thoughts
  • The power of words
  • The problem with cognitive fusion
  • Address CBT-based disputation techniques with defusion
  • “Taking your mind for a walk” exercise
  • Case example: Eating disorders & social phobia


  • Understand the “Self” in ACT
  • Self-as-content, self-as-perspective, self-as-context
  • Observer self-exercise
  • Deal with identity issues
  • Case examples related to PTSD & childhood sexual trauma


  • Contacting the present moment
  • Why being in the here-and-now is critical for mental health
  • Relationship between mindlessness and psychopathology
  • Meditation, mindfulness and mindful action
  • Exercises for mindful action
  • Case example: Anger, personality disorders, alcoholism

Values Work

  • The positive side of language
  • Identifying core values
  • Differentiate values and goals
  • Writing values-based treatment goals
  • The ethics of values clarification
  • Establishing the life line
  • Case example: Heroin addiction, bipolar disorder

Committed Action

  • Define “commitment” objectively
  • Integrate evidence-based therapy with ACT
  • Develop ACT-based behavior therapy treatment plans
  • Improve behavioral activation with ACT
  • Accelerate exposure therapy with ACT
  • Case example: Depression, agoraphobia

Pulling It All Together

  • Hexaflex model for psychological flexibility
  • Ask the “ACT Question” for self-help and case conceptualization
  • Inflexahex model: Diagnosis from an ACT approach
  • Case example: Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Incorporate ACT into Your Own Approach

  • Social skills training
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Inpatient treatment programs systems
  • Exposure and ritual prevention
  • Behavioral activation
  • Parent management training
  • Executive coaching

The Mindful Action Plan

  • ACT simplified
  • Passengers on the bus: The classic ACT group exercise
  • How ACT can make you a better therapist

Copyright : 07/07/2016

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): In-Session Videos narrated by Dr. Steven C. Hayes

Program Information

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Case Managers, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, and other Mental Health Professionals


Session 1: Facing the Struggle

  1. Apply the core theory and principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) used in clinical practice.
  2. Analyze how "creative hopelessness" lays the groundwork for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Session 2: Control & Acceptance
  1. Prepare clients to accept their thoughts and feelings, and modify their need to control or eliminate them.
  2. Integrate ACT “eyes closed” techniques into your sessions with powerful effects.
Session 3: Cognitive Defusion
  1. Apply cognitive defusion used within clinical practice.
  2. Anticipate common pitfalls with cognitive defusion, and apply methods for recognizing and remedying them.
Session 4: Mindfulness, Self & Contact with the Present Moment
  1. Formulate “eyes-closed” exercises you can integrate into clinical practice.
  2. Generate examples of how to facilitate awareness of the “observing self” with clients.
Session 5: Values & Action
  1. Discriminate between the ACT concepts of values and goals
  2. Modify ACT techniques for increased effectiveness with adolescents
Session 6: Psychological Flexibility
  1. Articulate ways to adapt ACT in brief-therapy settings and situations.
  2. Formulate how to help clients get the most benefit from exposure therapy within the ACT Paradigm.


Overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • Define the six core processes of ACT
  • Discuss treatment techniques used in ACT

Withdrawn client role play

  • Examine why metaphors can be helpful for clients
  • Focus positively on what therapy is for
  • How to handle the client’s lack of interest in feelings and emotions

Concluding remarks from the presenter

  • How to perform informed consent
  • Approaches to handle the process of “facing the struggle”

Copyright : 01/01/2007