ACT with Challenging Clients
Richard Sears, PsyD, PhD, MBA, ABPP
1. Develop a deep understanding of the six core processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help clients advance psychological flexibility.
2. Incorporate the role of psychological flexibility in ACT and list clinical techniques for increasing it.
3. Describe internal and external experiential avoidance and why it creates psychological difficulties
4. Clarify the ways that struggling with thoughts and emotions can intensify them.
5. Identify how to reduce experiential avoidance by implementing emotional and behavioral willingness techniques with clients.
6. Demonstrate how ACT incorporates elements of exposure therapy to reduce experiential avoidance.
7. Use metaphors to undermine language-based avoidance repertoires to improve client engagement.
8. Define cognitive fusion and how it leads to ruminations and worries.
9. Define cognitive defusion and how clients can use it to change their relationship to distressing thoughts.
10. Help clients clarify their values to give them direction and willingness to engage with challenges.
11. Practice mindfulness skills to teach clients to better understand unhelpful automatic patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting.
12. Create committed action plans to concretely implement change strategies.
13. Discover core ACT concepts through the use of role-playing, case examples and clinical videos.
14. Integrate ACT techniques into treatment for specific disorders including depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders.
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