Culturally Tailored ACT

Targeting Black Racial Trauma

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Jennifer Shepard Payne, PhD, LCSW Researcher and instructor

About This Course

Before COVID-19, research showed that Black people in the United States more frequently met the criteria for PTSD than any other U.S. race or ethnicity.

Following the murder of George Floyd while in police custody in May 2020, Census Bureau data shows the rate of depression and anxiety has increased even further among Black Americans.

However, although trauma rates are high, Black people are unlikely to seek help from mental health professionals. Annually, only 8.6% of African Americans use mental health services.

Among other factors, cultural mistrust and the lack of culturally appropriate services all contribute to a lack of willingness to seek help.

In addition, few evidence-based modalities address the types of trauma that Black people experience. So even when they take the risk and step into the therapy room, Black clients can end up feeling unseen in their experience and demoralized by the therapeutic process.

Because of this, many leave treatment after one session, continue to suffer silently, and remain untreated.

This speaks to a deep necessity for a culturally sensitive therapeutic approach that can adapt to the needs of Black clients.

Practitioners of all backgrounds are looking for effective tools that provide the understanding and confidence to work more directly with racial trauma, especially across cultural divides.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has the potential to fulfill these needs for practitioners and make mental health more culturally relevant for African Americans.

Many evidence-based therapy models medicalize treatment, prescribing rigid protocols that can feel alienating and pejorative for some clients from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

ACT, on the other hand, utilizes a non-pathologizing approach that normalizes the experience of suffering and empowers clients to focus on their values — aspects noted in prior research as appealing to African Americans.

As a clinician, ACT allows you to observe, understand, and transform the processes that lie at the heart of psychological flexibility, and provides strategies for designing fluid treatments based on the specific challenges your clients face.

In this way, ACT lends itself particularly to culturally responsive treatment, and allows you to integrate principles of equity and social justice into your daily work.

With this in mind, Dr. Jennifer Payne spent several years developing a culturally tailored approach to the ACT model called “Pulling Out Of the Fire” (POOF).

This model is designed to provide clinicians the tools to address the trauma African Americans face — including racial trauma — directly and effectively.

In this online course, Dr. Payne will show you how to incorporate the POOF model into your work with Black clients. You’ll explore the ways systemic racism and inequality affect your clients, and learn how to bring this discussion into the therapy room to generate deeper connection and healing.

While the POOF model is designed for work with African American clients, many of the tools you’ll gain from this course can be applied to all clients with marginalized identities.

Over four weekly sessions, you’ll learn how to:

  • Utilize accessible language and cultural touchstones to reimagine the hexaflex
  • Work with collective and community values in addition to personal values
  • Integrate a cultural humility framework into your practice
  • Incorporate an understanding of the social determinants of health (access to healthcare, access to food, social and community context, etc.) into your ACT work
This is a crucially important new training that we're proud to share with our community.

We hope you'll join us inside to learn skills for addressing racial trauma with more confidence, compassion, and efficacy.

Prior to registering, please review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information. To earn CE, participants must attend all live session in full and submit a course evaluation. No partial credit will be awarded.


Session 1 | May 28, 2021, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
Pain & Suffering from a Black Lens
Reenvisioning the Hexaflex
Session 2 | June 4, 2020, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
“It Is What It Is” – Control and Acceptance
“Freedom To Let Go” – Cognitive Defusion
Session 3 | June 11, 2020, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
“In the Here and Now” – Present Moment Awareness
“I am More Than What I Have Been Through” – Self As Context
Session 4 | June 18, 2020, 1 PM—3 PM EDT
“Living Life Like It’s Golden” – Values, personal and collective
“Getting It Done” – Committed Action and Workability

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  1. Describe 2 unique pain/ suffering experiences that influence African American trauma.
  2. Explain how intersectionality influences the perception of stigma and the motivation for treatment.
  3. Compare the classic ACT hexaflex to a culturally tailored model.
  4. Describe 2 elements of a culturally tailored look at “acceptance” and “cognitive defusion” that can be applied to work with black clients.
  5. Utilize a model for values and committed action work that helps the black client move forward both personally and collectively.
  6. Address how non-black clinicians can sensitively address the issues that black clients face.

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 8 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. All the planners/presenters have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
Drug and Alcohol Counselors: Indicated courses have been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 8 CE hours. NAADAC Provider #165310, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, is responsible for all aspects of its programming.

National Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6759. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

NY Social Workers: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0467

NY Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0198.

NY Psychologists: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0002.

Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Institute for Better Health and Praxis Continuing Education and Training. The Institute for Better Health is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Institute for Better Health designates this live internet for a maximum of 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Psychologists: Institute for Better Health is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education to psychologists. Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.

Nurses: Institute for Better Health, Inc is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Institute for Better Health is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, BRN (Provider CEP#2672).

Educators: Institute for Better Health has been approved by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (WESPSB), a member of NASDTEC, as a Clock Hour Provider for Educators. Learners may claim one Clock Hour for each activity hour attended. Please contact your individual state boards for information regarding reciprocity and any additional requirements.

National Social Work: This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886825109-8600) for 8 continuing education contact hours.


Some familiarity with ACT is advised, because the goal of this workshop is not to teach classic ACT in detail.


For mental health professionals, beginners through intermediate and on to advanced practitioners.

Recommended Reading



A-Tjak, J. G. L., Davis, M. L., Morina, N., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. A. J., & Emmelkamp, P. M. G. (2015). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy for clinically relevant mental and physical health problems. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 84(30), 30-36.

Alegría, M., Fortuna, L. R., Lin, J. Y., Norris, F. H., Gao, S., Takeuchi, D. T., Jackson, J. S., Shrout, P. E., & Valentine, A. (2013). Prevalence, risk, and correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder across ethnic and racial minority groups in the United States. Medical care, 51(12), 1114-1123.

Carter, R. T., Mazzula, S., Victoria, R., Vazquez, R., Hall, S., Smith, S., Sant-Barket, S., Forsyth, J., Bazelais, K., & Williams, B. (2013). Initial development of the Race-Based Traumatic Stress Symptom Scale: Assessing the emotional impact of racism. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(1), 1.

Goldmann, E., Aiello, A., Uddin, M., Delva, J., Koenen, K., Gant, L. M., & Galea, S. (2011). Pervasive exposure to violence and posttraumatic stress disorder in a predominantly African American Urban Community: the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study. Journal of traumatic stress, 24(6), 747-751.

Hacker, T., Stone, P., & MacBeth, A. (2016). Acceptance and commitment therapy–do we know enough? Cumulative and sequential meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Journal of affective disorders, 190, 551-565.

Jones, E., Huey, S. J., & Rubenson, M. (2018). Cultural Competence in Therapy with African Americans. In Cultural Competence in Applied Psychology (pp. 557-573). Springer.

Kalibatseva, Z., & Leong, F. T. (2014). A critical review of culturally sensitive treatments for depression: Recommendations for intervention and research. Psychological Services, 11(4), 433.

Mulvaney‐Day, N. E., Earl, T. R., Diaz‐Linhart, Y., & Alegría, M. (2011). Preferences for relational style with mental health clinicians: A qualitative comparison of African American, Latino and Non‐Latino White patients. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67(1), 31-44.

Öst, L.-G. (2014). The efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour research and therapy, 61, 105-121.

Roberts, A. L., Gilman, S. E., Breslau, J., Breslau, N., & Koenen, K. C. (2011). Race/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychological medicine, 41(1), 71-83.

SAMHSA. (2015). Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use among Adults. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. S. A. a. M. H. S. Administration.

Swain, J., Hancock, K., Hainsworth, C., & Bowman, J. (2013). Acceptance and commitment therapy in the treatment of anxiety: a systematic review. Clinical psychology review, 33(8), 965-978.

Twohig, M. P., & Levin, M. E. (2017). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a treatment for anxiety and depression: A review. Psychiatric Clinics, 40(4), 751-770.

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.