This workshop will feature the work of Dr. Kelly G. Wilson and will focus on the therapeutic relationship and more broadly on social connection in an evolutionary context. Therapeutic relationship is widely recognized as central to effective treatment. This should not surprise us. One of the great commonalities in serious psychological suffering is a sense of isolation, of not being fully heard, understood, truly known. Sometimes psychological struggles are physically isolating. However, deep loneliness, the experience of being alone, can take hold even when a person appears socially connected. Humans are social mammals, and, for us, social isolation and social hostility are toxins. We tolerate acute instances of social toxins pretty well. However, 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.
Set in an evolutionary context, the workshop will offer a personal and powerful 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, and shift your attention from fixing and consoling to listening and appreciating? What happens in that relationship when we offer the same quality of attention to the clinical 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. We will practice exercises and interviews that can change your interactions with your very next client.
Dr. Wilson will offer multiple live demonstrations to illuminate interviewing method, pace, and targets.
Participants will be able to:
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based treatment with over 300 randomized clinical trials. ACT is grounded in emerging clinical science that demonstrates the broad utility of mindfulness and values in human wellbeing. ACT is a hybrid therapy, bringing together aspects of mindfulness, Gestalt therapy, and humanist-existential thought, all organized under a contemporary contextual behavioral framework. The paradox upon which ACT is founded is that radical acceptance of what cannot be changed empowers us to recognize and change the things that we can. The ACT approach is about embracing necessary suffering in order to make more committed, life-affirming choices and live in accordance with deeply held personal values.
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.
Dr. Wilson’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.
Light refreshments will be provided for morning and afternoon tea. Lunch is not included in the registration fee but you will have the option to purchase lunch at one of the many catering outlets outside of the venue.