Treating Trauma with ACT

Revitalizing Interrupted Lives

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Robyn D. Walser, PhD Renowned author, researcher, and master ACT trainer

About This Course

Trauma is experienced by nearly half the population and is a key factor for psychological difficulties in many who present to psychotherapy. The aftermath of war, interpersonal violence, natural disasters, childhood trauma, and other experiences can have long-term psychological effects. The painful emotional experiences found in the fallout of trauma often leads to symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other issues related to life functioning, including a variety of behavioral problems ranging from substance abuse to relationship dysfunction.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a principle-based behavioral intervention that addresses human suffering from a mindful and compassionate perspective. While ACT has been applied to a wide variety of problems, it’s well suited for treating trauma.

Many clients who experience trauma attempt to recover by trying to regain control over distressing responses to intrusive thoughts and ongoing feelings of fear and sadness. While some attempt to control these experiences can be useful, many attempts to avoid emotions and thoughts often result in a furthering of the suffering. As an antidote to avoidance, ACT seeks to reduce rigid attempts to control negative emotions by fostering acceptance through mindfulness and defusion techniques (i.e., noticing and recognizing thoughts as they occur). ACT revitalizes client lives by defining personal values and committing to taking actions guided by those values. The ultimate goal in ACT is to support clients in recovery through increasing psychological and behavioral flexibility in the service of a more workable life.

In this online course, you will discover the intricacies of applying ACT to trauma as well as learn how to use ACT to complement other trauma treatments.

In this course, you will:
  • Add ACT principles such as mindfulness and acceptance to your trauma treatment repertoire
  • Discover the power of leveraging the therapeutic stance and the therapeutic relationship in the context of trauma
  • Review the current state of the research on use of ACT in treating trauma
  • Learn ways to navigate client challenges that are specific to trauma
Sign up for this online course to revolutionize your understanding of trauma by looking at it through an ACT lens.

Prior to registering, please review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information.


Session 1 | May 15, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Introduction: The Fallout of Trauma and Acceptance of Painful Pasts
Open, Aware, and Engaged: Building Resiliency Following Trauma

Session 2 | May 22, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Open and Aware: Acceptance and Mindfulness in Recovery from Trauma
Practice: Case Conceptualization, Role Play, and Challenges

Session 3 | June 5, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Aware and Engaged: Perspective Taking and Values in Recovery from Trauma
Practice: The Arc of Therapy, Role Play, and Challenges

Session 4 | June 12, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Integrating ACT with Other Trauma-Focused Therapies (PE, EMDR, and PCT)
Integrating ACT with Body-Focused Trauma Treatments

Session 5 | June 19, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Trauma, Safety, and the ACT Therapeutic Relationship
Practice: ACT and the Therapeutic Stance in the Treatment of Trauma

Session 6 | June 26, 2020, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

Trauma and Moral Injury: Moral Emotions, Cognitions and the Fallout of Perpetrating Harm
ACT in the Treatment of Moral Injury: Exploring Shame, Guilt, Disgust, and Anger

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  1. Describe the psychopathological impact of experiential avoidance and its relationship to trauma.
  2. Explain how human language participates in suffering following trauma.
  3. Explain how being open, aware, and engaged builds resiliency following trauma.
  4. Describe the six core processes of ACT and the intricacies of using these processes with trauma survivors.
  5. Explain how willingness to experience and perspective-taking can assist the trauma survivor in learning to relate to their internal experience in a healthier way.
  6. Describe how values-based living can bring meaning back to the trauma survivor’s life.
  7. Describe how ACT can be integrated with other trauma treatments.
  8. Explain the role of the ACT therapeutic stance and its relevance in creating safety when treating trauma.
  9. Define moral injury and describe how it is different from other trauma-related problems.

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 12 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
  • ACCME – Physicians
  • ANCC – Nurses


Some experience with ACT is expected as this online learning is not an introduction to ACT, but instead will focus on how ACT is applied in the treatment of trauma.


This training is for mental health professionals who are interested in using ACT to treat PTSD and trauma-related problems, as well as discovering how ACT can be used to supplement other trauma interventions. Beginners/intermediate/advanced practitioners are welcome.

Recommended Reading

Luoma, J. B., Hayes, S. C., & Walser, R. D. (2017). Learning ACT: An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Skills Training Manual for Therapists, Second Edition. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger

Scarlet, J., Lang, A. J., & Walser, R. D. (2016). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for PTSD, 35.


A-tjak, J. G., Davis, M. L., Morina, N., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. A., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2015). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy for clinically relevant mental and physical health problems. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 84(1), 30-36.

Lang, A. J., Schnurr, P. P., Jain, S., He, F., Walser, R. D., Bolton, E., … & Strauss, J. (2017). Randomized controlled trial of acceptance and commitment therapy for distress and impairment in OEF/OIF/OND veterans. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(S1), 74.

Twohig, M. P. (2009). Acceptance and commitment therapy for treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder: A case study. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16(3), 243-252.

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.