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Wed, 31 Jan


NUspace, The University of Newcastle

Focused ACT for Brief Interventions: The Basics and Beyond

Join Kirk Strosahl and Patti Robinson at this in-person pre-conference workshop

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Focused ACT for Brief Interventions: The Basics and Beyond
Focused ACT for Brief Interventions: The Basics and Beyond

Time & Location

31 Jan 2024, 9:00 am AEDT – 01 Feb 2024, 5:00 pm AEDT

NUspace, The University of Newcastle, Hunter Street &, Auckland St, Newcastle NSW 2300, Australia


About the event

Join ACT experts Kirk Strosahl and Patti Robinson for this two-day workshop on using Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (FACT).

Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (FACT) is a brief, process based therapy designed to alleviate human suffering human and promote valued living. Our goal is to optimize the impact of each and every therapy session, indeed, to treat every session as if it might be the last one. In this workshop, we will explore the basic, universal human dilemma involved in approaching the things that matter most in life versus attempting to control, eliminate or avoid the emotional consequences of that same caring. To their detriment, most clients have been socially trained to believe they can pursue what matters to them without the experience of psychological pain, thus triggering an unworkable struggle to control or eliminate could perceived as natural, healthy, albeit unwanted and distressing inner experiences.

FACT teaches clients to accept distressing inner experiences, live in the present moment free from the regulatory influence of culturally shaped rules, and to organize patterns of life actions based in personal values rather than avoidance motivations. This propensity to accept what is there, join the present moment, and behave according to one’s values is sometimes referred to as being “psychologically flexible.” Most of this workshop will be focused on developing and strengthening core clinical interviewing and intervention skills, using a pedagogical framework known as CARE. Each letter of CARE stands for a sequence of clinical tasks that, collectively, result in powerful, life changing behavioural outcomes. Participants will learn the CARE framework via a combination of didactic lecture, live demonstrations and skill building exercises. Among other things, participants will learn to conduct a rapid, high-yield contextual interview (using the “contextual interview”); administer in-session rating scales; identify and address the key themes of avoidance, approach, and life workability (using the “four square tool”); quickly conceptualize client responses from a FACT perspective (using the “pillars assessment tool”) ; create powerful problem reframes that generate client “buy in” and motivation to change; and assist clients with engaging in new behaviours in their lives outside of therapy.

Workshop Objectives

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Appreciate client preferences and service utilization characteristics that make brief interventions the preferred mode of treatment in many settings.
  2. Describe the pivotal role that human language plays as a behaviour regulatory system.
  3. Analyze the three “contexts” that influence behaviour and are proper targets for therapeutic intervention.
  4. Apply the concepts of rule following, emotional avoidance, and behavioural avoidance. as they contribute to psychological rigidity and maladaptive behaviour.
  5. Describe the three pillars of psychological flexibility, and their specific corrective effects on rule following and avoidance.
  6. Understand the central role that present-moment awareness plays in promoting radical change.
  7. Apply the CARE algorithm to structure the flow of each therapy session.
  8. Use the Contextual Interview.
  9. Administer clinically useful in-session rating scales in each session.
  10. Recognize and respond to unworkable avoidance strategies.
  11. Reframe problems within an approach-avoidance framework.
  12. Plan powerful behavioural experiments during each session.
  13. Conceptualize interview data using the Four Square Tool.
  14. Conceptualize interview information using the Pillars Assessment Tool.
  15. Apply strategies designed to strengthen acceptance, present moment awareness and value based action.
  16. Understand the role that metaphors play in producing transformative change.
  17. Apply physical metaphors such as the Bulls Eye and Life Path to set practical goals and increase client motivation for behavioural variability and direct learning.

Recommended Readings

  • Carlsson, K., Strosahl, K., & Roberts, L. (2023) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for crisis integration: Theory and practice. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • Goubert, D., Torneke, N., Purssey, R., Loftus, J. Roberts, L. & Strosahl, K (2020) Learning ACT: The essential guide to the process and practice of mindful psychiatry. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • Robinson, P. (2019) Basics of behavior change in primary care. NY: Springer Science + Media.
  • Robinson, P. & Reiter, J. (2024). Behavioral Consultation and Primary Care: A Guide to Integrating Services. Switzerland: Springer + Nature.
  • Robinson, P., Gould, D. & Strosahl, K. (2011) Real behavior change in primary care: Improving patient outcomes and promoting job satisfaction, 3rd Ed. Oakland, CA.: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Strosahl, K., Robinson, P. & Gustavsson, T. (2015) Inside this moment: Promoting radical change in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, CA.: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Strosahl, K., Robinson, P., Gustavsson, T. (2012) Brief interventions for radical change: Principles and practice of Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, CA.: New Harbinger Publications.


Dr. Kirk Strosahl is a co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and has long been a chief proponent of using ACT as a brief intervention. He has co-authored professional books on brief applications of ACT, including Brief Interventions for Radical Change: Principles and Practice of Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Robinson & Gustavsson, co-authors, 2012, New Harbinger Publications), and Inside This Moment: Promoting Radical Change in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Robinson & Gustavsson, co-authors, 2015, New Harbinger Publications). He has also co-authored best-selling ACT self-help books, including The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression, 2nd Edition (Robinson, co-author, 2018, New Harbinger Publications). 

Along with five psychiatrists from around the world, he recently published a book on ACT for psychiatric practitioners, Learning Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Essential Guide to the Process and Practice of Mindful Psychiatry (Goubert, Torneke, Purrsey, Loftus & Roberts, co-authors, 2020, American Psychiatric Publishing). Dr. Strosahl has conducted numerous training workshops on ACT around the world. 

Because his approach to teaching is so clinician-oriented, accessible and practical, Dr. Strosahl has been referred to as the “hands of ACT”.

Dr. Patricia Robinson, PhD, is currently the Director of Training and Program Evaluation for Mountainview Consulting Group, and winner of the APA Presidential Innovative Practice Award (2009). She is the co-founder of the Primary Care Behavioral Health model and Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She provides consultation and training services internationally and is committed to improving access to healthcare services and to realization of health equity. Earlier in her career, she worked as a researcher and clinician for Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, WA and as a Behavioral Health Consultant for Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Toppenish, WA. She has authored many articles, book chapters and books. With Jeff Reiter, she is now writing the 3rd Edition of Behavioral Consultation and Primary Care: A Guide to Integrating Services.

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    Registration for the 2-day pre-conference workshop with Kirk Strosahl and Patti Robinson

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