Category Archives: Mindfulness

Acceptance…. like learning to ride a bike

I found a nice little video on youtube recently of Kevin Polk describing the contingency-shaped nature of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (or Acceptance & Commitment Training, as they call it in the program at the regional centre of the Veteran Affairs in Togus, Maine USA). A nice metaphor that ACT is like learning to ride a bike, no amount of instruction can replace actually being shaped by doing it. This rule-governed vs contigency-shaped distinction gets to the heart of what ACT is about (I have previously discussed this here, in relation to therapy supervision).

Dr Polk and his colleagues treat veterans for PTSD using ACT and have a program that makes the approach more accessible by describing the skills as “Let Go, Show Up and Get Moving” in valued directions. They presented their work at the recent ACT Summer Institute IV in Chicago, and I was impressed by how simple and elegant the approach was, while still being consistent to the model. It was also impressive how many groups they had run in just a couple of years. Here is a potted description of their program:

The Intensive Outpatient PTSD Program (IOP) – ACT is presented to a cohort of veterans in a “workshop” format across 14 classes (groups) in five days. All aspects of ACT (Let Go, Show Up, and Get Moving) are experienced in the 14 sessions. Veterans who have graduated from a week-long cohort are offered unlimited follow-ups in the form of additional groups or individual “coaching” via the phone or in person. The program conducts 26 cohorts per year.

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Filed under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, CBT, Clinical Psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Psychology

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the United Kingdom

For the past 6 months or so I have been working on a committee to set up a Special Interest Branch of the BABCP that focuses on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It has been good to get involved again in organising training and the promotion of evidence-based psychological therapy, something that I used to do when I lived in Perth (when I was in the West Australian branch of the AACBT). Aside from the appeal of letting others know about ACT, I’ve enjoyed having contact with other therapists and researchers who are keen about the science and therapeutic stance that ACT takes.

In my experience, the ACT community has been welcoming and inspiring, living the values of the approach, which includes emphasising the key role of science in developing methods to help people: the hard graft of research, open to skepticism and debate, and remaining linked to basic research and philosophical assumptions. It has seemed a good fit for me with my background training as a scientist-practitioner in clinical psychology.

I hope that the work of the ACT Special Interest Branch in the UK will continue this trend. For those who are curious, the link to the homepage of the ACTSIB is here.

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Filed under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, CBT, Clinical Psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy, Mindfulness, Psychology, United Kingdom