ACT with Compassion: a Masterclass in using ACT with Self-Criticism and Shame

Thursday 14th and Friday 15th September, 2017


Thursday 14th and Friday 15th September, 2017
Workshop times: 9.30- 4.30pm both days
Presenters: Jason Luoma and Jenna LeJeune

jason-jennaPersistent self-criticism and shame are  two of the most difficult issues in working with  stuck clients.

By their very nature, shame and self criticism bring about high levels of experiential avoidance and resistance. Defusion techniques don’t touch the sides. Values work can feel like up hill work. Our standard therapy techniques just  fall short of the mark!

If you’ve struggled yourself in working effectively with shame and self-criticism (and who hasn’t!), then this workshop is designed for you. Join world leading ACT trainers and researchers, Jason and Jenna, from the highly acclaimed Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, as they take you through the cutting edge ACT  clinical skills and research in working with shame and self-criticism.

Jason and Jenna are internationally renowned for their work and training in this area – don’t miss this valuable opportunity to see them in action.

What You’ll Learn

51dkv6okrjl-_sx385_bo1204203200_This workshop comes full of learning opportunities, both through watching Jason and Jenna work and your own skills practice. You’ll learn how to use defusion, acceptance, mindfulness, self compassion and perspective taking to effectively target shame and self-criticism. You’ll be given the unique opportunity to experience these interventions from the inside as you interact with your own experiences of shame and self-criticism. You’ll get the chance for experiential practice of ACT processes in small groups. You’ll also learning how to skillfully use measures to track and target processes. Guidance on how to sequence ACT interventions when specifically targeting these difficulties will be provided. At the end of the workshop, you’ll come away with both a deep and rich experience of this approach and also a solid practical understanding of how to do the work.  

Learning Objectives


1) Understand a functional and evolutionary account of shame and self-criticism
2) Formulate problems with shame in terms of ACT and affective science
3) Identify how to  work with shame in the present moment with clients
4) Learn how to sequence ACT for chronic shame and self-criticism for maximum impact
5) Become an expert in detecting shame through nonverbal cues 6) Upskill your defusion skills for self-critical thoughts
7) Adapt ACT processes for use with highly self-critical and shame-prone clients
8) Understand how compassion-focused interventions fit inside an ACT model
9) Use theory around flexible perspective taking to guide the implementation of compassion focused interventions
10) Learn about  the use of chair work in an ACT approach to shame and self-criticism

Background to the Workshop

This workshop will incorporate research from up to date affective science that shows how shame and other social emotions are central in regulating our interpersonal interactions. Of all the social emotions, shame is probably the most powerful and hurtful. Shame can involve extremely painful feelings and thoughts of feeling broken, inferior, abnormal, disgusting, or irredeemably damaged. When we feel ashamed, we also feel disconnected from others and our sense of belongingness is ruptured.

A central goal of the treatment of shame is to help clients move from a sense of isolation and separateness to a sense of connection and belonging. This functional evolutionary perspective on shame and social is used to inform how ACT is implemented to uniquely target problems of shame and chronic self-criticism.

A particular focus of this workshop is on the ACT theory of self and its centrality in working with shame, self-criticism, and the development of self-compassion. The idea of the conceptualized self and conceptualized other will be used to organize how to use compassion-focused interventions within an ACT model. The workshop will move from theoretical, to experiential, to practical application, exploring how ideas such as self as context and flexible perspective taking can have very practical applications in helping clients develop newer and more flexible ways of relating to themselves based on values of self-compassion, kindness, and caring.

About the Presenters


Jason Luoma, Ph.D. is Director of Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center in Portland, OR where he also maintains a small clinical practice. Jason is an internationally recognized trainer in ACT, former chair of the ACT training committee, and past president of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. He is also an author of Learning Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a book popular with professionals for its mixture of sophistication and accessibility. He has conducted research on interventions for shame and stigma for over a decade and recently published the first randomized trial of an ACT approach to shame in addiction at the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. His work on shame and compassion can be read at www.actwithcompassion.com.   jenna_200x200

Jenna LeJeune, Ph.D. is the Director of Clinical Services at Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center in Portland, Oregon. In her clinical practice, Jenna specializes in working with adults who struggle with intimacy problems, trauma-related difficulties, problematic eating/body image, and others who tend to experience a high levels of shame and self-criticism. She also provides training in ACT to other professionals around the world. Her research interests include issues related to stigma and shame, specifically developing compassion-focused interventions within a contextual behavioral science framework for those struggling with chronic shame and self-criticism.


  • Standard rate £240 (from 2nd September)