InterACT with Couples

InterACT with Couples

Interpersonal Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Intimate Partners

CE Hours available

Acceptance and commitment therapy has been extensively studied and utilized as an individual form of therapy, but its application to couples therapy has thus far been rather limited. 

However, a small but growing body of promising research (Ahmadzadeh, et al. 2019; Veshki, et al. 2017) suggests that in this context ACT can be just as effective as cognitive behavioral couple therapy and integrative couples therapy.

The psychological flexibility model, when extended interpersonally, can offer a unique lens for case conceptualization and functional analysis when examining patterns of interaction between intimate partners.

What’s more, yearnings — deep, enduring psychological needs that are part of ACT’s theoretical base — are often the primary motivators influencing one or both partners seeking therapy.

Individual and interpersonal yearnings compete for attention within relationships, as partners attempt to satisfy yearnings in unworkable (values-incongruent) ways that create conflict, tension, and disconnection. 

This 12-hour live online course will introduce a reimagined ACT hexaflex that situates yearnings as a core functional feature of an interpersonal psychological flexibility model.

Participants will have a chance to experience the psychological flexibility processes extended interpersonally and conduct a couples intake interview with the ACT matrix.

A multi-level, process-based, functional analytic case conceptualization for couples, that integrates psychological flexibility, attachment-based relating, and survival mechanisms, will serve as the basis for assessing and intervening on patterns of interaction. The functional relations that shape behavior and create contextual clashes between partners will be examined, including issues related to diversity and sociocultural factors.

Creative hopelessness for couples, a powerful method for pivoting the energy of yearnings from inflexible to flexible pathways, will also be reviewed and implemented.

Participants will practice modeling, evoking, and reinforcing four functional classes of behavior, or foundational skills, that set the stage for meaningful change. This includes a critical process-oriented intervention of slowing down in-session patterns of interaction to allow for observation and tracking of interlocking behavioral contingencies while deepening affective experience.

The workshop will include the following components: didactics, experiential exercises, video vignettes, demonstrations, dyadic and small group practice. While the case examples and practice will be focused on intimate partners, most of the principles and processes presented in the course are applicable to any interpersonal context.

This training offers 12 CE hours if attended live. We can only provide CE to those who are present via Zoom for the live sessions. However, the sessions will be recorded and available to watch later. Registrants may access these recordings at any time for up to nine months after the live training ends.

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

Session 1 | September 5, 2024, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT

    • Yearnings
    • Interpersonal Psychological Flexibility

Session 2 | September 12, 2024, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT

  • The ACT Couples Matrix
  • Intake Interview

Session 3 | September 19, 2024, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT

  • Process-Based Functional Analysis
  • ACT Case Conceptualization for Couples

Session 4 | September 26, 2024, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT

  • Multi-Level Assessment
  • Integration of Contextual Considerations

Session 5 | October 3, 2024, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT

  • Shaping Four Foundational Skills
  • Creative Hopelessness for Couples

Session 6 | October 10, 2024, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT

  • Bringing it All Together
  • Flexible and Workable Interaction

Participants will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate how to extend the ACT core processes interpersonally within couples therapy
  2. Describe at least one experiential exercise designed to build a bridge of psychological flexibility between partners
  3. Explain the central role that yearnings play in couples therapy, including how individual yearnings compete for attention with interpersonal yearnings
  4. Formulate a functional analytic case conceptualization for couples that situates yearnings as drivers of behavior
  5. Explain how to facilitate a couples therapy intake interview utilizing the ACT Matrix to evoke awareness of painful private events, (shared) values, and overt behaviors
  6. Discriminate between behavior under aversive versus appetitive control within couples’ repertoires
  7. Explain how functional relations, influenced by sociocultural factors and driven by survival mechanisms, between partners can create and maintain contextual clash cycles
  8. Discuss how to conduct a multi-level process-based functional assessment that examines patterns of interaction within intimate relationships
  9. List features of the InterACT Assessment Zones that combine attachment-based relating, psychological flexibility processes, and survival mechanisms
  10. Explain how to shape four functional classes of behavior that can disrupt unworkable patterns of interaction and promote fulfillment within relationships
  11. List the steps of creative hopelessness for couples that can function to evoke a shift from inflexible to flexible repertoires
  12. Describe how to engage self-as-instrument of change as a couples therapist

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live online course is sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and is approved for 12 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 12 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 12 ANCC contact hours.

Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 12 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 12 clinical continuing education credits.

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.

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.

Introductory ACT training (such as ACT Basics or ACT Immersion)
Mental/behavioral health professionals and students who have at least a basic understanding of the ACT model and are interested in applying this model to couples therapy (beginner-intermediate level)

Ahmadzadeh, L., Vaezi, M., Sodagar, S., & Golmohammad Nazhad, G. R. (2019). The effect of acceptance and commitment therapy adopted for couples compared with integrative couple therapy on marital conflicts of couples with breast cancer. Iranian Journal of Breast Diseases, 12(3), 47-59.

Ghahari, S., Jamil, L., Farrokhi, N., & Davoodi, R. (2021). Comparing the effects of emotion-focused couple therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy on marital conflict and emotion regulation. Practice in Clinical Psychology, 9(2), 121-132.

Hayes, S. C., Hofmann, S. G., & Stanton, C. E. (2020). Process-based functional analysis can help behavioral science step up to novel challenges: COVID-19 as an example. Journal of contextual behavioral science, 18, 128-145.

Joulazadeh Esmaeili, A. A., Karimi, J., Goodarzi, K., & Asgari, M. (2020). Comparison of the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment-based Couple Therapy and emotionally focused couple therapy on unadjusted couples’ attachment styles. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy, 9(2), 1-30.

Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group (2023). Promoting appetitive learning of consensual, empowered vulnerability: a contextual behavioral conceptualization of intimacy. Front. Psychol. 14:1200452.

Sabouri, H., Samavi, A., & Amir Fakhraei, A. (2020). Comparison the Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy on the Quality of Life and Tendency to Betray in Married Students with Tendency to Infidelity. Iranian Evolutionary and Educational Psychology Journal, 2(3), 184-199.

Timmerman, G. M. (2009). A concept analysis of intimacy. Issues Ment. Health Nurs. 12, 19–30. 

Veshki, S. K., Shafiabady, A., Farzad, V., & Fatehizade, M. (2017). A comparison of the effectiveness of cognitive–behavioral couple therapy and acceptance and commitment couple therapy in the couple’s conflict in the city of Isfahan. Jundishapur Journal of Health Sciences, 9(3).

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.