Treating Depression With ACT

Treating Depression With ACT

Help Clients Embrace Change and Lean Into Life

CE Hours available

How can I be around friends when I’m so miserable? 

Why should I engage in activities that only remind me of how empty I feel?

Clinicians who use acceptance and commitment therapy for depression might recognize this genre of questioning, and the pattern of behavior that accompanies it.

Overwhelmed by the intensity of their internal experience — feelings of sadness, dread, or emptiness, thoughts of worthlessness or isolation — clients steadily withdraw. 

Their lives get smaller and smaller until the depression becomes all there is. 

Clients lose sight of anything outside their suffering, their focus turning intensely inward while the world around them keeps moving. 

Just as in the client’s life, depression can seem like an overpowering force in therapy. Clients are often stuck in rigid stories about their struggle and how it has come to define them. Values assessments only make them feel worse. Their lack of motivation keeps them immobilized, frozen.

For ACT clinicians, loosening up any psychological flexibility can seem like a losing battle…

But with a creative and functional approach, something else becomes possible.

You can create a space where something new can happen.

You can broaden clients’ awareness to include not only pain but also the many ways to engage in life.

You can support meaning, empowerment, and even joy.

At times, it might require thinking outside the box, and it certainly requires a deeper understanding of depression as a behavior.

That’s precisely what this course will cover.

Treating Depression With ACT is a live online course that will focus on how to conceptualize depression from an ACT perspective and address psychological inflexibility, low variation in behavior, impaired sleep, loss of social connection, and interpersonal problems. 

You’ll learn how to leverage mindfulness processes to help clients increase their awareness of the world outside the skin as well as how to better create an open and engaged collaboration that fosters values-based change.

And rather than struggling to “get” the client to engage, you can empower them to explore how they will create meaning and be in the world.

About Treating Depression With ACT

Join this 4-session live online course to learn how to use ACT with depressed clients to unlock new possibilities and change in your work. 

Over the course of 4 weeks, author and master trainer Dr. Robyn D. Walser will teach you to pinpoint the function of depression-related behavior as well as opportunities to constructively explore both positive and negative aspects of experience in a way that promotes psychological flexibility. You’ll also learn how to create tailor-made, at times unconventional, ACT interventions to help clients experiencing depression embrace change and reengage in life.

As a result, you’ll be better equipped to:

  • Foster energetic, collaborative, and active sessions, which will carry over into the client’s life
  • Speak to each individual’s deep-seated fear and needs by understanding how depression and related behaviors function
  • Break through fused stories related to the depression as well as rigid identities that become entangled with those stories
  • Build momentum and fuel action even when a client is severely unmotivated or feels that “nothing matters”
  • Broaden the client’s flexibility and sense of possibility in part by cultivating curiosity about experiences beyond suffering
  • Help clients access a sense of meaning, even when positive feelings are elusive

You’ll leave this training with a renewed sense of direction in your interactions with depressed clients and armed with tools for helping clients explore meaningful paths forward, even in the face of pain.

This training offers 8 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 | March 5, 2024, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. EST
Exploring ACT and the phenomenon of depression in an individualized, process-based and client-oriented way using ACT
Function and form: Conceptualizing depression across time

Session 2 | March 12, 2024, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. EDT
Fusion, defusion, willingness and acceptance: opening up to experience
Present moment, mindfulness, and depression: waking up to experience

Session 3 | March 19, 2024, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. EDT
Self as context: Exploring the relationship with me and my story
Broaden and build: Curiosity about the world within and exploration of the world without

Session 4 | March 26, 2024, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. EDT
Inspiring change: Values and well-being
ACT and the therapeutic relationship in the context of depression

Participants will be able to:

  1. Develop skills in conducting ACT case conceptualization and treatment planning for clients with depression, with a focus on individualized, process-oriented, and client-centered care.
  2. Discuss the core principles and concepts of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and how they apply to the treatment of depression.
  3. Identify the role of cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance in perpetuating depressive experiences and learn strategies to address these processes.
  4. Develop mindfulness skills and practices to increase present-moment awareness and acceptance of emotional experiences in individuals with depression.
  5. Explore the concept of values and their importance in setting meaningful life directions as part of the ACT approach to depression treatment.
  6. Explore the concept of committed action and behavioral goals in assisting individuals with depression in setting and working toward values-based well-being.
  7. Describe the role of self-compassion in depression, exploring presence to pain while also considering the consequences of inaction.
  8. Describe how to use mindfulness-based interventions and experiential exercises as therapeutic tools for clients with depression.
  9. Discuss the therapeutic relationship and personal emotional reactions to working with individuals with depression.

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 8 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 8 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 8 ANCC contact hours.

Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 8 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 8 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 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.

Behavior Analysts: Praxis CET is an approved BACB ACE Provider # OP-17-2718.

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.

A familiarity with acceptance and commitment therapy terms and concepts will be helpful, as this course will not offer an introduction to ACT theory.
Mental health professionals and/or trainees with some previous exposure to and experience with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This training will not include an introduction to ACT, but will be appropriate for a variety of attendees with knowledge ranging from beginner to advanced.

Bai, Z., Luo, S., Zhang, L., Wu, S., & Chi, I. (2020). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to reduce depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of affective disorders, 260, 728-737.

Barnes, S. M., Borges, L. M., Smith, G. P., Walser, R. D., Forster, J. E., & Bahraini, N. H. (2021). Acceptance and commitment therapy to promote recovery from suicidal crises: A randomized controlled acceptability and feasibility trial of ACT for life. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 20, 35-45.

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.

Karlin, B. E., Walser, R. D., Yesavage, J., Zhang, A., Trockel, M., & Taylor, C. B. (2013). Effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for depression: Comparison among older and younger veterans. Aging & mental health17(5), 555-563.

Strosahl, K. D. (2004). ACT with the multi-problem patient. A practical guide to acceptance and commitment therapy, 209-245.

Twohig, M. P., & Levin, M. E. (2017). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a treatment for anxiety and depression: A review. Psychiatric clinics40(4), 751-770.

Walser, R. D., Garvert, D. W., Karlin, B. E., Trockel, M., Ryu, D. M., & Taylor, C. B. (2015). Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in treating depression and suicidal ideation in Veterans. Behaviour research and therapy, 74, 25-31.

Walser, R. D., Karlin, B. E., Trockel, M., Mazina, B., & Taylor, C. B. (2013). Training in and implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for depression in the Veterans Health Administration: Therapist and patient outcomes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51(9), 555-563.

Weinstein, J. H., Kroska, E. B., & Walser, R. D. (2021). The empowerment plan: Enhancing the safety plan with a CBS approach to repertoire expansion. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 20, 101-107.

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.