Getting unstuck and working with resistance

A practical guide to using creative hopelessness in ACT

Access is for 12 months after purchase
2 hours (2 CE credits)
Intermediate level
Suitable for psychologists, therapists, medics, coaches, etc

Course Description

Stuckness, resistance and low motivation is such a common part of therapy and they can show up in a number of different ways. Do you recognise any of the following?

  • Clients who resist change and argue against their capacity for transformation.
  • Clients who list reasons for staying stuck, downplaying the need for change with statements like “It’s not that bad!” or “Change is too difficult.”
  • Clients who are unwilling to commit to making changes, displaying resistance or reluctance towards taking the necessary steps for personal growth.
  • Clients who frequently respond with “Yes, buts…” as a way to counter or dismiss suggestions for change.
  • Clients who focus on the positive aspects of their current strategies, highlighting how they provide safety and coping mechanisms.

It is important to understand that clients may have valid reasons for holding onto old behaviours and patterns, even if they are unproductive. They may have experienced past failures or fear that change could worsen their current circumstances. While this is understandable, it can hinder progress towards psychological well-being and freedom.

Learn about this innovative approach to help your clients out of stuckness and moving towards resilience and well being. Enhance your therapeutic toolkit with our exclusive workshop on creative hopelessness. Join us for this impactful session designed specifically for mental health professionals like you, who aim to support their clients in overcoming limitations and achieving lasting change.

During this workshop, we will delve into the theory behind creative hopelessness and equip you with practical techniques to effectively apply it in your therapeutic practice. Gain the knowledge and skills necessary to guide your clients through the process of embracing creative hopelessness and exploring new possibilities.

We will begin by examining the concept of the control agenda and its impact on clients’ lives. Learn how to identify when your clients are tightly holding onto this agenda and resisting acceptance. Discover the power of reframing emotional control strategies and emphasising workability in different contexts, enabling clients to build lives that are rich, fulfilling, and aligned with their values.

Through real-life case studies and examples, you will develop a deeper understanding of when and how to employ creative hopelessness techniques with your clients. You’ll learn to recognise the signs that indicate the need for creative hopelessness work and gain valuable insights into effectively implementing this approach.

Throughout the workshop, we will address the common challenges therapist face when introducing creative hopelessness to their clients. We’ll explore strategies to overcome resistance and engage clients in embracing the discomfort and uncertainty associated with change. You will develop your skills in validation and compassion to provide the necessary support during this transformative process.

Prepare to engage in interactive exercises specifically tailored for ACT practitioners. Through these exercises, you will gain hands-on experience in applying creative hopelessness techniques within a therapeutic context. Strengthen your ability to separate clients’ experiences from their thoughts, facilitate exploration of the costs and limitations of their current strategies, and guide them towards openness to alternative approaches.

Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your therapeutic repertoire and empower your clients with the transformative potential of creative hopelessness. Join us for an enriching workshop that will enhance your professional practice and enable you to make a lasting impact on the lives of those you serve.

This workshop is intermediate level and assumes you already have a good working knowledge of the ACT model. 

Program overview

Introduction: Introduction to the workshop [4 mins]

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

You can view the introductory module for free here:

Module 1: What is creative hopelessness [15 mins]

  • Defining creative hopelessness
  • The control agenda
  • The concept of workability
  • Who needs creative hopelessness interventions?

Module 2: Using creative hopelessness [23 mins]

  • Five signs you need to use creative hopelessness
  • Five tips for doing creative hopelessness
  • The control agenda and validation
  • Where to begin with creative hopelessness
  • Creative hopelessness and the Hexaflex

Module 3: Five steps for creative hopelessness [16 mins]

  • The five key steps for doing creative hopelessness
  • Good questions to ask and top tips
  • Metaphors and creative hopelessness

Module 4: A creative hopelessness exercise [10 mins]

  • A creative hopelessness experiential exercise
  • How to bring creative hopelessness alive in your sessions

Module 5: A demonstration [55 mins]

  • Joe demonstrates how to using creative hopelessness interventions in two demonstration real-plays.

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.

Contextual Consulting is committed to the identification and resolution of potential conflicts of interest in the planning, promotion, delivery, and evaluation of continuing education. Potential conflicts of interest occur when an individual assumes a professional role in the planning, promotion, delivery, or evaluation of continuing education where personal, professional, legal, financial, or other interests could reasonably be expected to impair their objectivity, competence, or effectiveness.

There was no commercial support for this event. 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.

At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Identify signs of resistance, such as arguing against change, downplaying the need for change, or displaying reluctance towards personal growth, and implement strategies to address these barriers.
  • Apply the concept of creative hopelessness in your therapeutic practice. You will have practical techniques to reframe clients' control agendas, emphasize workability in different contexts, and guide clients towards exploring new possibilities for change and growth.
  • Demonstrate skills in engaging clients in embracing discomfort and uncertainty associated with change. 

This program is sponsored by Contextual Consulting and is approved for 2 CE credits for psychologists. To find out more, including attendance requirements and how to access your certificate, go to our continuing education information page.

Getting unstuck and working with resistance
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