So you want to learn ACT? Here's how to get started.
I remember when I first dove into Acceptance & Commitment Therapy for the first time. I was intrigued by the practicality of it, and impressed with how fresh it felt in comparison to the way I had been learning and working. Before ever using the approach with clients I used it in my own life and saw it begin to open up in a way which was sorely needed.
Wanting, needing, craving, more, I dove into the ACT literature, bought every book on the subject on the market at the time, attended every in person training that I could get to, took every webinar that I could afford, and got plugged into the ACT community. Years later, here I am with this website designed to help you learn ACT and become more involved.
The following is a handy guide to some different ways of learning ACT with tips and advice to go along with them.
The following list is presented in no particular order. No one method will get you all of the way to becoming completely fluent with ACT, and at the same time, not all of the following methods are necessary to become completely fluid with ACT. The process will take time no matter what and will be ongoing. What I will suggest is choosing two or three of the methods listed below and laser focus on them. Then when you feel ready, add in one of the other methods, and so on. I understand that resources may be limited, so I've addressed that where appropriate, by indicating how much each method costs, and how accessible it is from around the world. One $ means it's inexpensive, $$$ means expensive (but worth it). One + means it's accessible only locally, +++ means accessibility is the easiest (typically through online means)
Top Methods For Learning ACT
Connect to an information hub - Cost: Free to $ | Accessibility: +++
Find a source of resources & info on ACT. This site for example is one such resource. The national ACBS chapter (the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science) is the association of which ACT is a part of. Joining that association will provide you with enough information, learning materials, opportunities to connect, and amazing discussions to make your head spin! Another idea is checking to see if there is a local ACBS chapter near you. There are several around the US and the world. Google it and find out! Reach out to your local chapter teams if available and see how you can get more involved.
ACBS website - There is a cost to become a member, but it is well worth it. The dues are values based, meaning you pay what you think the content and experience is worth to you. If you are hesitant, pay the minimum, but I promise you, later on you'll want to give a hefty donation to help support them because of how awesome being a member is.
Local ACBS Chapter - Google your region or country to find local chapters. There is also a master list on the main ACBS website.
This website - I've designed this site for everyone. I've got ACT videos, materials, and I also offer specialized services like consultations, workshops, and training. I'm also happy to point you in the right direction when it comes to learning more, and can answer any questions you might have about ACT, what certain trainings & trainers are like, etc. I also have a series of webinars that cover the six core processes of psychological flexibility called Learning ACT Naturally which I made in partnership with Behavior-Behavior.org.
Seek Supervision - Cost: $$$ | Accessibility: +++
Many well established ACT practitioners offer independent consultation and supervision, and most offer it via webcam for those who aren't local. If you are needing direct supervision hours for licensure you'd likely have to find a local ACT therapist for that, but the good thing is that we are everywhere!
The ACBS website has a list of practitioners who offer supervision, but by no means is this list exhaustive. You may want to search for the websites of ACT practitioners who have written books that you've enjoyed, or have conducted trainings that you've been to and see if they offer supervision or consultation.
In person live trainings & workshops - Cost: $$ to $$$ | Accessibility: + to ++
By far one of the richest experiences you can have when learning ACT is to attend a live workshop or training. The interactive and experiential nature of many trainings is vital and often transformative. Some advice regarding in person trainings is this: attend multiple trainings by many different ACT practitioners. Even if it's a training on the same topic that you've already done before. The reason I suggest this is because there isn't one right way to do ACT, and each person does it differently. By taking as many trainings from different trainers as possible, you'll begin to see the wide range of applicability of ACT, and the subtle and major differences between styles.
Again, the ACBS website has a calendar of trainings happening all over the world.
PraxisCET - The premier source of trainings for ACT. I cannot recommend enough the ACT Bootcamp training offered several times each year. These trainings are done throughout the US, and sometimes abroad. If you were to do only ONE ACT training ever, it would have to be a PraxisCET training, and hopefully the ACT Bootcamp.
Independent trainers - Many ACT practitioners offer independent trainings, or training affiliated with their own organizations. Because ACT is practiced world wide, you're likely to come across one near where you live.
Web-based live or recorded trainings - Cost: $$ to $$$ | Accessibility: +++
ACBS Website has a calendar of upcoming online trainings
PraxisCET has a variety of online workshops as well, all of the highest quality.
ImLearningACT.com by Russ Harris has amazing online ACT courses, which I can highly recommend.
And of course other independent trainers will have online trainings and webinars from time to time.
Books! - Cost: $ to $$ | Accessibility: +++
There's nothing like a good book, and you can find one on any topic you're interested in when it comes to ACT. Below are some of my personal favs. Careful, they're addictive!
And of course the big one Learning ACT by Jason Luoma, Steven Hayes, and Robyn Walser
Peer Intervision - Cost: Free to $ | Accessibility: +++
Connecting with a peer group who is interested in ACT as well is one of the best ways to learn. There are many peer groups throughout the US and around the world. As well as several online peer groups. I run one myself through the Texas ACBS Chapter. In a peer group you can do all sorts of things, consult on cases, create reading groups, throw around theory. Your local ACBS chapter may have something, but if there's nothing near you, start one yourself!
Online/In Person Advanced Training - Cost: $$$ | Accessibility: +++
Increasingly there are more and more in depth and experiential online ACT trainings. These are often multi-week affairs with intentionally limited capacity in order to optimize learning. PraxisCET offers some, as well as other independent trainers. These are perfect for those who are looking to expand the hell out of their ACT skills.
Continuing Discussion with Colleagues - Cost: Free to $ | Accessibility: +++
The ACBS has amazing listservs which you can be an active participant in. Do not be shy. Ask questions, answer questions, raise issues. Advance the theory. Remember, everything evolves. ACT is open source, you are as much in control with the direction ACT is headed as anybody else. Become an active member of a community and let your voice be heard, experience will follow.