ACT for Trauma

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Many people experience traumatic events. Sometimes these actions are at the hands of people who have a responsibility to support and protect, leaving an even deeper scar.

Many who suffer with trauma related problems don’t seek therapy at all and those who do attend for reasons other than the trauma (e.g., depression, anxiety). Regardless, responses to trauma are varied and individuals who suffer its effects often need support and intervention. This calls therapists to develop multiple skills that will assist clients in recovering from traumatic experience. Adding ACT to your therapeutic toolkit is a great way to help clients with trauma cope.

Many therapists, although working with trauma survivors in their practice, don’t feel fully prepared to address trauma,  especially when working with the extreme fallout of its effects such as PTSD.  Therapists understand trauma and its treatment in a number of ways, and the perspective of modern contextual behavioral science can add tremendously to these understandings. Clinical tools from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are useful on a number of levels when treating trauma.

In this unique online learning experience, nine of the top thinkers and clinicians in applying ACT to trauma have come together to provide a comprehensive review of the research to date, tools you can use in your clinical practice, and how to revolutionize your understanding of trauma by putting it under an ACT lens.

This broad-ranging training will cover topics like:

  • How does a therapist’s style impact outcomes
  • What is a “moral injury” and how is understanding it essential to treating trauma
  • How to apply the matrix in PTSD support groups
  • Why ACT is an especially effective tool for flooding memories
  • And more…

By the end you will have a broader understanding of the skills you need to apply ACT more effectively in the therapeutic setting when helping clients who suffer from trauma.

Professional registration for this training normally costs $399, but we’ll take $50 off that price if you sign up before August 25, making early registration cost $349 instead.

1. Therapist Style in Working with Trauma
Presented by Darrah Westrup
September 11, 2017, 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

Of course therapeutic style is a factor in any therapy, and what works best (and what doesn’t) is a matter of context.  That said, the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of ACT directly inform the stance of the therapist and we will explore how in this webinar.  We will focus specifically on therapeutic stance when conducting ACT with individuals who have experienced trauma, including how fidelity to the model strengthens the work, and also the challenges that often arise.  We will examine how even “missteps” can be used to further the work – both in our clients and ourselves.

2. Moral Injury Resulting from Trauma
Presented by Robyn Walser
September 18, 2017, 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

The moral dimensions of trauma and post trauma reactions have recently been explored. Witnessing, failing to prevent, or perpetrating actions that transgress personal moral values and beliefs has been defined as moral injury and represents a potentially significant factor in the development of PTSD and other mental health problems for a significant number of trauma survivors. This presentation will focus on ACT in the treatment of moral injury; building a life after experiencing a moral wound.

3. The ACT Matrix in Groups for PTSD
Presented by Kevin Polk
September 25, 2017 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

You will learn how to set up the ACT Matrix to prepare people to do in vivo exposure work on their trauma memories. Special emphasis will be on focusing people on noticing the difference between sensory and mental experiencing. You will learn a form of in vivo exposure based on the ACT Matrix that is often called “Blending.”

4. When the Shelter Collapses
Presented by DJ Moran & Sonja Batten
October 2, 2017 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

When trauma is perpetrated by people who have a responsibility to support and protect, it is particularly painful. It can be even more problematic when it happens within an organization that should, ostensibly, hold such responsibility For example, religious and military institutions can provide tremendous opportunities for community, strength, and growth for many people. However, military sexual trauma is not an uncommon experience, and some deviant clergy members have abused altar boys and young children in the church community. Trauma in the context of organizations that were meant to provide support and strength can lead to additional challenges for survivors, who must deal with not only posttraumatic responses to these experiences, but also with a loss of faith, hope, and trust. This webinar will provide case examples and concrete suggestions for therapists working with survivors of traumatic stress that occurred in the context of an organization or community of which the survivor was a part.

5. Trauma in Any Setting
Presented by Jessica Borushok
October 9, 2017, 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

Discover how trauma and health problems are often co-occurring issues, as well as how trauma can present itself outside of speciality trauma clinics in settings where trauma is not the focus or may not have been diagnosed or screened for. Through experiential exercises you will observe how rigid rules about your own clinical practice or setting can narrow your perspective and influence case conceptualization.

6. ACT on Attachment Relationships and Trauma
Presented by Tim Gordon
October 16, 2017, 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

Trauma has long been addressed from an interdisciplinary perspective involving attachment, neurobiology, developmental psychology, traumatology, and systems theory. This session emphasizes how the basic science tools of functional contextualism translates complex clinical treatments (theoretical- and research-focused programs with historical significance in the treatment of trauma) especially in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder and complex trauma. Functional contextualism finds common ground in focusing on the social environment, specifically relationships in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and the treatment milieu. Furthermore, ACT will be justified as a trauma-informed, respectful, strengths-based, and anti-oppressive approach to direct practice with trauma.

7. Using ACT for Flooding Memories
Presented by Joanne Steinwachs
October 23, 2017, 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

Some of the hardest parts of working with people who have survived a trauma is assisting them in dealing with memory floods. Understanding memory flooding from a contextual perspective and using ACT questions helps therapists find ground to stand on when clients become overwhelmed with memories.

8. Compassionate ACT and Traumatic Grief
Presented by Martin Brock
October 30, 2017, 1 PM – 3 PM EDT

With some rare exceptions, the view of adaptation to trauma and the view of adaptation to bereavement have been distinct and whilst the phenomenologies of PTSD and complicated or traumatic grief may have much in common, studies of these have rarely included full evaluations of both outcomes.

This module will provide an opportunity to explore the human experience of traumatic loss from a contextual behavioural perspective and through role-plays and self-reflection provide experiential learning opportunities to deepen personal learning.

The role of compassion in developing the therapeutic relationship will be explored and case examples will be utilized to assist in case formulation.

This training is worth 16 CE credit hours if attended live. While we can only provide CE to those who are present  i.e. logged in  for live presentation(s), all Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may then access these recordings at any time for up to six months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.

Course Content