The Therapy Relationship in ACT with Kelly Wilson: Session 1a

Course Description

Recorded Workshop
Presenter: Dr. Kelly Wilson

Focusing on the Meaning and Development of the Therapeutic Relationship: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Evolution Science

+ Therapeutic Relationship + Social Toxins + Social Network + Evolution Science + Experiential Learning + Multiple Live Demos by Dr. Wilson + Directly Relevant to Any Applied Setting

One of the great causes of suffering is a sense of isolation, of not being fully heard, understood, truly known. Deep loneliness, can take hold even when a person appears socially connected. Humans are social mammals, and, for us, social isolation and social hostility are toxins. Persistent exposure to social isolation and/or social hostility is a risk factor for virtually every source of disease burden in the modern world—including both mental health and physical disease burden.

When done skilfully, the therapy relationship offers a powerful and healing antidote to loneliness and isolation.

The workshop will offer a personal and impactful guide to the therapeutic relationship in from an ACT perspective. What can happen when you slow down, let go of your usual patterns of managing hard content? When you shift your attention from fixing and consoling to listening and appreciating? What happens when we offer the same quality of attention to the client conversation that we offer to our breath in a mindfulness meditation? Clients can be truly heard and, will sometimes, hear themselves for the first time.

Although this workshop will not be an introduction to ACT, it will be delivered in plain language that will be understandable to participants with no background in ACT. No jargon. For those with an ACT background, the workshop will deepen your understanding of ACT principles and your ability to use those principles flexibly to create and enhance therapeutic connection. The workshop will be appropriate for therapy beginners to veteran ACT therapists. The skill sets and sensitivities targeted in this workshop are broadly relevant to human services including all aspects of physical and mental health care, but also to management and education. Researchers are welcome to participate. Deep immersion in ACT processes has the potential to improve our research questions.

The workshop will be densely experiential. Principles will be described briefly, and we will focus our time and attention on practice. You will practice exercises and interviews that can change your interactions with your very next client. Kelly will offer multiple live demonstrations to illuminate interviewing method, pace, and targets.

Learn from one of the world experts in ACT how to slow down in therapy and really show up. Learn how to show up whole heartedly to your clients. Learn how to use the therapy relationship to foster deep and meaningful change with people who are suffering.

 Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the nature of social toxins from an evolutionary perspective
  2. Describe the impact of social toxins on health and wellbeing
  3. Describe the development and potential meaning of the therapeutic relationship
  4. Implement simple interview methods to foster therapeutic connection
  5. Deliver interventions that use mindful interviewing
  6. Deliver interventions that foster motivation for values work
  7. Discriminate and choose between problem-solving and appreciation-centered therapeutic perspectives in treatment
  8. Intervene to foster active, deliberate choosing between problem-solving versus appreciation-centered perspectives with clients
  9. Describe the roles of defusion and acceptance processes in the development of relationship
  10. Describe the roles of values and commitment processes in the development of relationship

Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University at Mississippi. He was the Founding President of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and was among the first cohort of ACBS Fellows. Dr. Wilson has devoted himself to the development and dissemination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and its underlying theory and philosophy for 30 years. He has published more than 100 articles and chapters, as well as 11 books including the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change, Mindfulness for Two, and Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong. He has central interests in the application of behavioral principles to understanding topics such as purpose, meaning, values, therapeutic relationship, and mindfulness.

Kelly’s love of teaching resulted in his winning multiple teaching awards at his home institution, including the Elsie M. Hood Award for Undergraduate Teaching and also the University of Mississippi Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. Dr. Wilson has presented workshops and provided consultancy in 32 countries.

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.

The Therapy Relationship in ACT with Kelly Wilson: Session 1a

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