The ACT matrix for beginners

A practical and easy to understand introduction to the matrix

Access is for 12 months after purchase
2.5 hours (2.5 CE credits)
Introductory level
Suitable for psychologists, therapists, medics, coaches, BCBAs

Course Description

Are you a therapist or coach with an interest in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)? Are you interested in learning to use a simple tool that will help you and your clients formulate presenting issues, and point you toward effective ways to move forward? If so, then this on-demand workshop is for you!

ACT uses a range of acceptance, mindfulness, and behaviour change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. It is concerned with helping people to identify what is important to them and to choose actions that facilitate value-driven behaviour. It is rapidly developing a wide-ranging evidence base across numerous areas of clinical practice, having amassed more than 1000 randomised controlled trials.

From a theoretical point of view, ACT’s psychological flexibility model is often presented using the Hexaflex, highlighting six core processes that sit at the heart ACT practice. Whilst this is a useful model for the clinician learning ACT, it is generally not something that is shared with clients, and one might argue that its practical utility is limited. In contrast, the ACT matrix is a highly practical tool that brings together some key concepts of old school behaviourism with ACT’s core processes in an elegant and user-friendly way. It has been used extensively with individuals, groups, and organisations as a way of organising assessment information, formulating stuck cycles, and highlighting options for committed action. Not bad for a model that essentially involves drawing two intersecting lines on a page.

This 2.5 hour skills workshop is designed for practitioners working with ACT in pretty much any setting who want to enhance and develop their practice by learning how to use the ACT matrix. The workshop will cover the behavioural theory behind the ACT matrix, a description of the tool itself, and a live demonstration of its use. In terms of the matrix itself, it will be pitched at beginner level, although some knowledge and experience of using ACT is recommended, since the basics of the ACT model will not be covered in any depth.

Feedback on this workshop

“Overall an informative training, covered all the main point in a clear and understanding way. Useful too see how to use ACT with real life clients. The coach used simply terms to explain ACT and was very engaging.”
Pricilla Trainee Therapist at Power to Live 
“Just thank you, it was an excellent experience”
“Very good overall!”
Module overview

Introduction: Introduction to the workshop [6 mins]

  • Introduction to the module series and overview of each module.

You can view the introduction for free here:

Module 1: Background theory [14 mins]

  • The ABCs of human behaviour
  • What is functional contextualism?
  • An overview of the psychological flexibility model
  • Stepping out of autopilot and into awareness

Module 2: Towards and away [17 mins]

  • The bear and the blueberry bush allegory
  • Appetitive and aversive – what’s the difference?
  • The observing self – who chooses

Module 3: The matrix quadrants [51 mins]

  • An intro to away moves
  • What happens when we get hooked?
  • Video vignette example of away moves
  • An intro to towards moves
  • Values overview: why, what, when and how
  • Values based actions – what are they?
  • Video vignette example of towards moves
  • Internal behaviour vs external behaviour – everything you need to know
  • An example of using the matrix

Module 4: Weaving the quadrants together [16 mins]

  • What does weaving the matrix together? And how do I do it?
  • RFT made super super simple
  • Opposition frames and  how to do them
  • Hierarchy frames and how to do them
  • C0ordination frames and how to do them
  • Bringing it all together

Module 5: A demonstration [27 mins]

  • Joe demonstrates how to use the matrix in a live session with a volunteer

Module 6: Troubleshooting [25 mins]

  • Troubleshooting the matrix and answering the important questions
  • Next steps in your matrix journey

If you have disability and require adjustments or accommodation, please email us at to discuss your needs and we will do our best to help you.

Polk, K. L., Schoendorff, B., Webster, M., & Olaz, F. O. (2016). The essential guide to the ACT matrix: A step-by-step approach to Using the ACT matrix model in clinical practice. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Bennett, R., & Oliver, J. E. (2019). Acceptance and commitment therapy: 100 key points and techniques. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the ABCs of human behavior, including the functional contextualism approach and the psychological flexibility model.
  2. Differentiate between appetitive and aversive experiences and apply this knowledge to their understanding of approach and avoidance behavior.
  3. Identify and analyze away moves and towards moves within the Matrix framework, considering the impact of values and internal/external behaviors.
  4. Demonstrate practical skills in weaving the Matrix quadrants together, utilising concepts such as Relational Frame Theory, opposition frames, hierarchy frames, and coordination frames.

APA psychologists: This program is sponsored by Contextual Consulting and is approved for 2.5 CE credits for psychologists. 

Behaviour analysts: This workshop is available for 2.5 BACB Learning CEUs. Contextual Consulting is an approved BACB ACE Provider # OP-20-3415.

Nationally certified counselors: This workshop is available for 2.5 credit hours. Contextual Consulting Ltd. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7578. 

To find out more, including attendance requirements and how to access your certificate, go to our continuing education information page.

The ACT matrix for beginners
$55.00 (+ VAT if applicable).
Student price US$30.00   Select:

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