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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Key therapeutic strategies

Prof. Steven Hayes

Thursday, 20 June 2024


Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a scientifically based psychotherapy that is central part of the “third waves” of the behavioural and cognitive therapies. It takes a fresh look at why people suffer and what it means to be mentally healthy. ACT is based on the idea that psychological rigidity is a root cause of depression, anxiety, and many other mental and behavioral health difficulties. It seeks to help patients overcome excessive reliance on a literal problem-solving mode of mind and to facilitate a more open, centered, and engaged approach to living. ACT offers effective, innovative ways to nurture psychological flexibility by detecting and targeting six key related processes that make up the concept of psychological flexibility: acceptance, defusion, attention to the present moment, a perspective taking sense of self, values, and committed action.

The event will be equivalent to 2.3/4hrs of CPD.


This workshop will look at ACT’s roots in behavioral and evolutionary science and why a process-based approach like ACT is effective for many patients.  The six psychological flexibility processes will be explained. The workshop will consider how addressing these underlying processes can be individualized for each client.  Delegates will be guided to understand the change process underlying ACT and other methods so that they can be targeted more flexibly. The workshop will help attendees developing a deeper understanding of when and why psychotherapy generally speaking works or does not work from a process point of view.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:
• Develop an understanding of what ACT is and how it can be used to enhance therapy with clients.
• Become familiar with the six psychological flexibility processes.
• Learn tools to help clients develop and strengthen psychological acceptance.
• Learn techniques to help clients change their relationship with unhelpful thoughts and feelings.
• How to help clients connect with their core values, and take committed action.

Training Modalities

Didactic content, Q&A, and experiential components.

Key References

Hayes, S.C. (2019). A liberated mind: How to pivot towards what matters. New York: Penguin/Avery.

Hayes, S. C., Ciarrochi, J., Hofmann, S. G., Chin, F., & Sahdra, B. (2022). Evolving an idionomic approach to processes of change: Towards a unified personalized science of human improvement. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 156, 104155. Doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2022.104155

Hayes, S. C., Follette, V. M., & Linehan, M. M. (2004). Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding the cognitive-behavioural tradition. New York: Guilford Press.

Hayes, S. C., & Hofmann, S. G. (2021). “Third-wave” cognitive and behavioural therapies and the emergence of a process-based approach to intervention in psychiatry. World Psychiatry, 20(3): 363-375.

Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2012). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The process and practice of mindful change. New York: Guilford Press.

Luoma, J. B., Hayes, S. C., & Walser, R. D. (2018). Learning ACT: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy skills training manual for therapists (2nd ed). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

About the presenter

Steven C. Hayes is a Nevada Foundation Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University of Nevada and President of the Institute for Better Health, a 45 year old charitable organization that promotes quality in mental and behavioural health services. An author of 48 books and over 700 scientific articles, he is especially known for his work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is one of the most widely used and researched new methods of psychological intervention over the last 20 years. Dr. Hayes has received several national awards, such as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, and recipient of the Cattell Award from the Association for Psychological Science -- their lifetime achievement award for applied psychology. His popular book Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for a time was the best-selling self-help book in the United States, and his new book A Liberated Mind was released in 2019 to wide acclaim. His TEDx talks and blogs have been viewed or read by over three million people, and he is ranked among the most cited psychologists in the world.

Who should attend

Primary care high intensity practitioners, psychologists, nurse therapists, counsellors, and occasionally psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and social workers.  Practitioners may work in adult primary or secondary care.

Details coming soon

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