Clients who survive trauma frequently experience a host of behavioural, cognitive, emotional, and physical health problems. When these individuals come to therapy, most of them are hoping that they will be able to eliminate the nightmares, memories, anger, anxiety, and other posttraumatic symptoms that they experience. In fact, most of them have tried many things (such as isolation, substance use, even suicide attempts) to manage these symptoms. However, what many of these individuals fail to realize is that their efforts to avoid the pain of their posttraumatic experiences may actually be making things worse, and may even be the heart of the ongoing problem. Despite their best efforts, trauma survivors frequently find themselves trapped in a life that is largely devoted to the avoidance of pain. Effective empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic symptoms have been developed to aid trauma survivors in improving traditional PTSD symptoms. However, they are not universally effective, and not all clients are willing to engage in exposure-based treatment. In addition, given the high levels of psychiatric comorbidity with PTSD, treatments are needed that can cut across diagnostic categories and begin to treat presenting problems based on functional dimensions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a contemporary behaviour therapy, provides an alternative to existing approaches and focuses on helping our clients to reconnect with those ideals and principles for living that are deeply important to them and that dignify the difficult events that they have survived. This presentation will begin to introduce applications of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as it can be used with trauma survivors of either civilian or military-related trauma.
Participants will be able to:
This is an INTERMEDIATE LEVEL WORKSHOP. Participants are expected to have attended an introductory workshop on ACT or have sufficient clinical and theoretical knowledge to understand the ACT model.
Dr. Sonja Batten is a clinical psychologist with two decades of experience in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She has presented ACT workshops internationally and is the Past President of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Dr. Batten has extensive experience in the field of traumatic stress and has held senior leadership positions in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. She is currently a Senior Associate and health care consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, DC. Dr. Batten is the author of the well received text, Essentials of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.