Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Parents

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Lisa Coyne, PhD Leading ACT expert and author
Evelyn Gould, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA Clinical behavior analyst and researcher

About This Course

Parenting can be hard. It is well-documented that parents experience less positive psychological well-being compared to individuals who are not raising children. Parents and caregivers of children experiencing chronic health conditions or disabilities struggle even more. When parents struggle, it can be difficult for them to consistently support their children and use effective behavior management strategies. This 8-week course will provide a foundation in how to integrate ACT into clinical and behavioral work with parents and caregivers.

This course will empower you to use ACT in your current work with parents and families, both as a stand-alone intervention, and to augment other evidence-based behavioral approaches. Over the course of the workshop, you will learn that engaging parents in effective, developmentally sensitive, and consistent parenting strategies – even in the face of strong emotions and doubts – is possible, and indeed essential to treatment success, particularly for families raising children with emotional or behavioral disorders.

ACT with Parents is designed to:
  • Help you put the ABCs back in your parent work by discussing the importance of understanding parenting from a behavioral perspective.
  • Give an overview of ACT and its evidence-base with parents.
  • Illustrate how psychological inflexibility can act as a barrier to parental well-being and consistent and adaptive parenting practices.
  • Demonstrate how to incorporate specific ACT interventions into behavior management strategies.
  • Show you how to effectively engage families of children and adolescents of varying ages and mental health challenges, including autism-spectrum disorders.
You will be invited to participate in experiential exercises, role-plays, and case discussions, with opportunities to actively apply and practice newly acquired skills. You’ll leave the course with helpful resources to guide your assessment, treatment, and evaluation of your parents’ progress in your sessions and beyond.

Although behavioral parenting approaches have strong empirical evidence, many do not explicitly address the role of psychological inflexibility in caregivers. ACT with Parents was created to support parents’ psychological well-being, and to help shape effective, sensitive, and consistent parenting practices. This approach is based on sound contextual behavioral science, evolutionary principles, and evidence-based parenting strategies. Data on ACT with Parents suggests that it is associated with parents’ improved psychological flexibility, engagement in values-directed behavior, and decreased stress. There is also evidence suggesting that it can support more consistent, positive parenting behavior and improved child outcomes. Lisa Coyne, PhD, and Evelyn Gould, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA, will teach you how to use this approach in a skillful and empowering way so you can better support caregivers and their children.

Lisa Coyne and Evelyn Gould have expertise in both clinical psychology and behavior analysis, coupled with many years of clinical experience in treating children and adolescents with mental health issues, chronic health conditions, and developmental disabilities, at every level of care. In addition, both are experienced clinical trainers and have worked with parents, caregivers, clinicians, and staff in the use of ACT across settings.


Session 1 | March 26, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

The ABCs of Parenting: Overview of ACT with Parents

Session 2 | April 2, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

The Challenge of Raising Kids: Psychological Inflexibility in Parenting

Session 3 | April 9, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Mindfulness and Acceptance Strategies: Supporting Relationship, Awareness, and Tracking

Session 4 | April 16, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Commitment and Behavior Change Strategies: Shaping Positive Behavior Support – Even When It’s Hard

Session 5 | April 23, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Flexible Perspective-Taking and Developmental Shifts in Parenting

Session 6 | April 30, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

ACT with Parents and Coercion in Families: Anxiety, OCD, and Oppositionality

Session 7 | May 7, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

ACT with Parents and Raising Children on the Autism Spectrum

Session 8 | May 14, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

It’s All Downhill from Here: ACT for Parents and Self-Compassion

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  1. Discuss parenting and ACT from a behavior analytic perspective
  2. Assess parenting issues from a contextual behavioral perspective, including conducting an functional analysis of parenting behaviors
  3. Identify ways to develop an alliance with parents that supports their motivation to engage in treatment
  4. Work experientially with parents to address psychological inflexibility around parenting practices
  5. Teach parents how and when to incorporate mindfulness strategies in their parenting
  6. Establish parent perspective-taking skills with respect to challenging parent-child interactions and relationship issues
  7. Use creative hopelessness, valuing, and committed action to increase parental motivation to engage in treatment, identify behavior change targets, and establish goals for treatment
  8. Integrate ACT with behavioral parent training approaches to support adaptive, flexible, and developmentally sensitive parenting practices
  9. Teach parents to identify the function of parent behaviors, track (evaluate) the outcomes of parenting practices, and maintain effective parenting behaviors over time
  10. Evaluate parent progress using within-session and across-session methods
  11. Utilize compassion-focused approaches with parents

Continuing Education

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This course is jointly sponsored by Praxis CET and Institute for Better Health (IBH) and is approved for 16 CE Hours by the following:

  • APA – Psychologists
  • BACB – Behavior Analysts
  • NBCC – National Counselors
  • NAADAC – Drug & Alcohol Counselors
  • NY State – Counselors and Social Workers
  • Other State Level Counselors, MFTs, and Social Workers
  • WESPSB – Educators


None, but see recommended reading.


Psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, behavior analysts (beginner-intermediate level)

Recommended Reading

Coyne, L. W. & Murrell, A. R. (2009). The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Parenting in the Early Years. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger

Whittingham, K. & Coyne, L. W. (2019). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Clinician’s Guide to Supporting Parents. Elsevier: UK.


Coyne, L. W. & Cairns, D. (2016). Coercive family process: An RFT analysis. In T. Dishion & J. Snyder (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Coercive Relationship Dynamics. Oxford Press. Pp. 86-100

Gould, E. R, Tarbox, J. & Coyne, L. W. (2018). Evaluating the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Training on the overt behavior of parents of children with autism. Journal of Contextual and Behavioral Science, 6(3).

Jones, L. B., Whittingham, K., Coyne, L. W., & Lightcap, A. (2016). A contextual behavioral science approach to parenting intervention and research. In R. Zettle, S. Hayes, A. Biglan, & D. Barnes-Holmes (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Contextual Behavioral Science. New York: Wiley & Sons. Pp. 398-421.

Raftery, J. H., Moore, P, Palm, K & Coyne, L. W. (2016). Changing problematic parent-child interaction in child anxiety disorders: The promise of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 5(1), 64-69.

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.

Technical Requirements
This is an online learning event. Access to a computer and high-speed internet is required. Refer to our FAQ page for further information on technical requirements for this training.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration up to 14 days before the course or workshop start date, minus an administrative processing fee of $30 for a 2-day workshop or online course, and a $50 fee for a 4-day workshop. If cancelled within 14 days, no refund will be issued, however, a credit for the same amount will be applied toward another learning product, which expires within 1 year. Please email us at to cancel a registration.