Practicing the Heart of ACT – San Diego

Practicing the Heart of ACT – San Diego

Go Beyond Techniques and Embody the Whole Model

CE Hours available

Join the ACT community and master trainer Dr. Robyn D. Walser for two days of revitalizing training in San Diego! Build competency in the model, reduce your reliance on rote techniques, and learn to practice with depth and fluidity alongside your peers.

What does it mean to embody the “heart” of acceptance and commitment therapy?

Clinicians who learn ACT are often full of enthusiasm, eager to harness the power of psychological flexibility in their own work. 

The model’s approach to human suffering resonates deeply with what they’ve seen in their practices. Likely, they’ve also felt something shift within them personally when applying the principles inward.

Yet, for many clinicians, that revelatory personal experience is challenging to turn into a clinical practice.

Rather than facilitating the kind of deeply moving experiences they know are possible, application can seem disjointed or flat. 

They learn every technique they can, only to feel like they’re “performing” or following a script in sessions.

They recognize certain cues and faithfully execute exercises and metaphors, but client behavior doesn’t change.

Something very important is missing.

This missing piece has to do with the very heart of ACT. 

At its core, ACT is not about perfectly memorized and executed techniques. It’s about infusing the principles of psychological flexibility into every aspect of your practice. Most notably, this includes four facets:

  1. Speaking to function first and foremost. Identifying how behavior works rather than just what it looks like will allow you to target meaningful patterns and always know why you’re using an intervention, rather than letting techniques drive the session.
  2. Understanding that ACT processes unfold through many aspects of therapeutic exchange, not just exercises and metaphors. Increasing your awareness of the various ways you and the client shape one another’s behavior will decrease your reliance on techniques and help you practice in a more creative, fluid way.
  3. Tying your actions here and now to larger aims. Where are you and the client trying to go, and how will a specific intervention help you get there? Holding this in mind will help guide you forward and organize your work, rather than performing one-off techniques with no plan for where to go next. 
  4. Practicing flexibility yourself in the therapy room. Doing this work yourself at all times will help ensure that your own behavior is guided by what will best serve the client rather than by your own discomfort — including discomfort related to rules about how to be a “good” therapist. 

Incorporating these layers into your practice might sound intimidating, but learning to do so creates a richer, more authentic experience for both client and clinician.

When you can pinpoint the most important behaviors and how they connect to the model and your overall work, you’re also less likely to hit dead ends and more likely to do something truly ACT-consistent and helpful. 

About Practicing the Heart of ACT

In Practicing the Heart of ACT, you’ll learn directly from preeminent ACT expert Dr. Robyn D. Walser, who will show you how to go beyond memorizing techniques and develop true competency in the model.

Over the course of 2 days in a welcoming workshop setting, you and your peers will benefit from expert guidance, experiential exercises, and demonstrations designed to deepen your understanding of the psychological flexibility processes and a functional contextual approach. Together, you’ll learn to:

  • Apply ACT in a way that’s more fluid, authentic, and deeply tied to the core principles
  • Visualize a path forward that’s guided by the model and what will make the biggest positive impact in the client’s life
  • Identify opportunities for meaningful intervention by reading “thin slices” of client behavior such as verbal cues, body language, and tone of voice
  • Leverage a wider range of tools to shape flexibility, including your pacing, timing, and even your presence in the room
  • Understand the why behind your interventions, so you can more confidently intervene and navigate repetitive or challenging behaviors 

With the inside-out understanding of ACT you’ll gain in this training, you’ll more readily translate the principles into fluid therapeutic exchanges with real impact.


Before registering, please review conflict-of-interest disclosures and complete CE information here.

Important Notes: (1) Attendees must complete the course in full and attend all sessions in order to receive ANY continuing education credit. No partial credit will be given. (2) Formal meals will not be provided at the event, but coffee, tea, and limited refreshments may be available at various times.

A guest room block is available at the Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside at a discounted rate of $209 per night. Reserve your room using the link at the right, or by calling (619) 224-3621, ask for reservations (Ext: 701), and using the group code MTI. Parking is $10 per day at the venue for all attendees.

Friday, May 3

  • 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.: Registration*
  • 8:30 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: ACT as Technique: The Problem of Dilution of Innovation
  • 10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.: Morning Break*
  • 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: The Stance of the ACT Therapist: Core Competencies and Personal Development
  • 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.: Lunch Break*
  • 2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.: Intrapersonal Process in ACT
  • 3:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Afternoon Break*
  • 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.: Modeling and Practice

Saturday, May 4

  • 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.: Registration*
  • 8:30 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: Interpersonal Process in ACT
  • 10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.: Morning Break*
  • 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Modeling and Practice
  • 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.: Lunch Break*
  • 2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.: Overarching Process in ACT plus practice
  • 3:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Afternoon Break*
  • 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.: Clinician Common Missteps in ACT: Falling, Failing and Recovering

*Not available for CE

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the core principles and theoretical foundations of ACT as a process-based client-centered therapy and its emphasis on the centrality of process in therapeutic work.
  2. Explore the distinction between content, process, and function in therapy and how to effectively recognize and work with these aspects.
  3. Differentiate between interpersonal and intrapersonal processes in the therapeutic context from an ACT perspective and identify how they contribute to a client’s experiences and challenges.
  4. Identify patterns of behavior and the dynamics of these behaviors within the therapeutic relationship. 
  5. Discuss skills in tracking and reflecting on the client’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors as they unfold during the therapy session, with an ACT focus, understanding six core processes at play.
  6. Explain the importance of the therapeutic alliance and how to use it as a vehicle for exploring and addressing interpersonal and intrapersonal processes.
  7. Describe how to facilitate client self-awareness and insight into their interpersonal patterns, including the role of avoidance and fusion with content.
  8. Explore ACT techniques for fostering emotional expression and regulation within the therapeutic context, focusing on intrapersonal internal experiences and interpersonal dynamics.
  9. Describe the elements that contribute to what is targeted in session for change from an ACT perspective.  
  10. Provide a  case conceptualization through the lens of ACT as an ongoing process, understanding how specific interpersonal and intrapersonal processes contribute to a client’s presenting issues, and use this understanding to inform the ACT therapeutic process.

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live course is sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and is approved for 13 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:

Joint Accreditation: In support of improving patient care, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

IPCE: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 13 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 13 ANCC contact hours.

Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 13 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Psychologists: Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.

Social Workers: As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. Social workers completing this course receive 13 clinical continuing education credits.

Drug and Alcohol Counselors: This course has been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 13 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.

Behavior Analysts: Praxis CET is an approved BACB ACE Provider # OP-17-2718. This course is approved for 13 learning CEUs.

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.

NOTE: Many state boards accept offerings accredited by national or other state organizations. If your state is not listed, please check with your professional licensing board to determine whether the accreditations listed are accepted.

Familiarity with ACT as an intervention. This course will not provide an introduction to ACT.
Mental health professionals/providers, beginner to advanced
  • Gloster, A. T., Walder, N., Levin, M. E., Twohig, M. P., & Karekla, M. (2020). The empirical status of acceptance and commitment therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science18, 181-192.
  • Francis, A. W., Dawson, D. L., & Golijani-Moghaddam, N. (2016). The development and validation of the Comprehensive assessment of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy processes (CompACT). Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science5(3), 134-145.
  • Ong, C. W., Levin, M. E., & Twohig, M. P. (2020). Beyond acceptance and commitment therapy: Process-based therapy. The psychological record70, 637-648.
  • Walser, R. D. (2019). The heart of ACT: Developing a flexible, process-based, and client-centered practice using acceptance and commitment therapy. New Harbinger Publications.

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 contact us at to cancel a registration.