The Six Steps to Flexibility : A Two-Day Introduction to the ACT Matrix

3rd - 4th Mar 2017


Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th of March, 2017
9.30am – 4.30pm both days
 Central London
Benjamin Schoendorff


BenjaminSchoendorffIn this workshop you get to practice the six-step approach to doing ACT with the matrix, a proven, highly effective approach to clinical practice, which has even been shown to be more effective than traditional ACT in a randomized controlled trial study for treating borderline personality disorder.

The workshop is based on the book, The Essentials Guide to the ACT Matrix (2016, New Harbinger) and comes with our free 6-steps to Flexibility e-book.

matrix-bookACT can at first blush seem complex and disorientating to clients and therapists alike. The six steps are a simple framework that can be used with the broadest populations, from practicing individually, to couples and family work, as well as with groups.

The power of the six steps, will help you maximize your potential as an ACT practitioner and empower you to better help even your most stuck clients.

In this workshop, you will learn how to present and use ACT in a simple, direct and effective way that you’ll be able to share with your clients and easily adapt in your clinical practice.

The result will be a profound change in the way you do your clinical work that will increase your ability to help your clients and yourself choose to move toward who and what is important even in the presence of painful obstacles.

Last but not least, the six steps will help you work smart, not hard and make good on the ACT promise of protecting therapists against burn out.

Workshop Overview

Outline program for the two days. Each session lasts for about 105 minutes and contains small group experiential exercises.

  1. Step 1 – Presenting the point of view
    (the matrix as a way to introduce ACT and a functional contextualist point of view)

    1. What brings you here: connecting with client experience and orienting to the point of view
    2. Presenting the matrix (experiential large group and small group exercises)
    3. Who is important as the central question
    4. Noticing important differences
    5. The finger and the moon: Noticing vs. giving rules
    6. “Yessing” part 1: Setting up a context for active noticing
    7. Setting up step 2
    8. Coffee break exercise
  1. Step 2 – Validating and analyzing away moves
    (an effective approach to validation and creative hopelessness)

    1. “Yessing” part 2, the power of meeting clients where they are, side-stepping stories and noticing consequences
    2. Assessing the effectiveness of away moves in the short term, long term and whether they help move toward who and what is important
    3. The shovel and the ladder or client-centered metaphor
    4. Noticing digging
    5. The three columns (experiential small group exercise)
    6. Setting up step 3
    7. Lunch break exercise
  1. Step 3 – The 2 rules and hooks
    (experiencing the difference between what can and what can’t be controlled followed by a comprehensive cognitive defusion exercise)

    1. What keeps us stuck in away moves? The mind as a highly successful control organ
    2. The rule of the world of five senses and the rule of the world of inner experience
    3. Hooks
      1. Noticing hooks
      2. Noticing what we do next
  • Noticing if what we do next is what we would have done, had we not bitten the hook
  1. Power of names (supercharging your distancing)
  1. Small group hooks experiential exercise
  2. Flexible framing, a new intuitive way to use Relational framing in clinical practice
    1. Flexible or inflexible framing ?
    2. Stuck stories and what to do with them
  • Noticing the difference between flexible and inflexible framing
  1. Setting up step 4
  2. Coffee break exercise
  1. Step 4 – The heart of treatment: Verbal Aikido
    (flexibility training as perspective-taking through 7 simple questions)

    1. “Yessing” part 3 – practicing effective validation in clinical practice
    2. Presenting and using the verbal aikido worksheet
    3. Verbal aikido for two
    4. Verbal aikido as 3600 noticing
    5. Calibrating toward moves – small group experiential exercise
    6. Filling in the bridging form
    7. Setting up step 5
    8. Overnight exercise
  1. The importance of feedback – how to get it and what to do with it
    1. Experiential small-group feedback on the overnight exercise using verbal aikido
    2. Some words and data on the importance of precise feedback for psychotherapists
    3. An experiential exploration of participants’ feedback and bridging questions
    4. Coffee break exercise
  1. Step 5 – Kittens
    (Self-compassion in action – without the words)

    1. When to end therapy
    2. The little kittens exercise
    3. Small group experiential exercise
    4. Yessing part 4 – even the worst of our inner experience
    5. Setting up step 6
    6. Lunch break exercise
  1. Step 6 – Teleportation to get unstuck (using the power of perspective-taking to get clients unstuck and do what’s important – fast)
    1. Perspective-taking and sense of self
    2. The teleportation dialogue
    3. Getting unstuck through deictic framing
    4. Small group experiential exercise
    5. Self-Yessing (part 5) in action
    6. The matrix as a deictic rabbit hole
    7. Setting up the rest of treatment: focusing on the present moment and the therapeutic relationship
    8. Coffee break exercise
  1. Wrapping up
    1. The 6 steps, and what to do after them
    2. Finishing therapy (small group experiential exercise)
    3. Appreciations (large group experiential exercise)
    4. Thanks and goodbyes

About The Presenter

Benjamin Schoendorff, MA, MSC, is director of the Contextual Psychology Institute in Montreal, QC, Canada. An ACT pioneer in the French-speaking world, Schoendorff is sought-after ACT trainer renowned for his ability to make complex notions easily graspable, his warm sense of humor, and most of all for his uncommon ability to transmit effective clinical skills to trainees.

ACT has changed Benji’s life, and he now dreams of bottling the essence of psychological flexibility and handing it out on street corners so as to spread peace, love, and understanding the world over. He is currently most proud of the six-step approach to the ACT Matrix, which is detailed in The Essential Guide to the ACT Matrix.


  • Early bird – £220 (ends 10th February)
  • Special “Bring a Friend” 30% discount – book 2 places: £154 per person (£308 total) – ends 10th February
  • Standard rate £240 (after 10th February)

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.