Background: Life requires flexibility. In many areas of living, we bend or we break. ACT uses mindfulness and acceptance in combination with values and behavioral activation practices to enhance psychological flexibility. We will explore these principles and how they can be applied to clients who struggle with eating and body image.
A. Comments on current diagnostics
c. Genetics, Epigenetics, and Vulnerability
B. State of the Evidence on Mechanism of Action
a. The Cognitive Hypothesis
b. The Fear Hypothesis
C. Introduction to the ACT Psychological Flexibility Model
a. Psychological Flexibility as a Transdiagnostic Alternative
i. Working with Present Moment Processes
ii. Working with Self Processes
iii. Working with Acceptance Processes
iv. Working with Defusion Processes
v. Working with Values Processes
vi. Working with Commitment Processes
D. Major Obstacles in Eating Disorders
E. Mapping ACT onto Eating Disorders
a. Introduction to Practical ACT Worksheets
F. Talk Back with the Audience
a. Particular cases and issues from the audience will be mapped using ACT processes. The presenter will use role play and inquiry to demonstrate the use of ACT techniques with difficult eating disorder cases.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the broad utility of mindfulness and values in human wellbeing. ACT is a hybrid therapy in terms of approach and technique, 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.
With more than 70 randomized clinical trials, ACT has demonstrated efficacy in treating a wide array of extremely refractory health conditions, such as chronic pain, as well psychiatric conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to psychotic disorders. Preliminary trials with eating disorders and body image have been promising.
In addition to ACT clinical trials, the keynote and workshop is based on three bodies of evidence that are experiencing extraordinary growth within clinical psychology and within experimental psychology more generally:
1)There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that chasing happiness leads paradoxically to less happiness. For example, experimental studies show that individuals primed to covet happiness derive less pleasure from pleasurable events that follow the priming.
2)A second body of evidence shows that pursuit of valued life directions leads to good psychological outcomes, improved physical and psychological functioning, and buffers the impact of stressful life events.
3)Finally, there is a growing literature on the benefits of mindfulness for a variety of difficulties including anxiety and depression, among other difficulties.
This keynote and workshop will feature significant use of present-moment focused work. And, will also contain significant exercises and worksheets aimed at facilitating values work. Although formal mindfulness meditation practice is not necessarily emphasized in ACT, mindfulness processes are central to the work. Mindfulness processes are particularly important in their integration with values work. These exercises and worksheets will show how we can bring the values directed, present moment focus directly into clinical interactions.
Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Mississippi. He is Past-President and Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and is one of the co-developers of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Dr. Wilson has devoted himself to the development and dissemination of ACT for nearly 25 years, publishing more than 80 articles and chapters, and 10 books including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change Dr. Wilson has taught in 31 countries, and has participated as co-investigator in a wide range of research projects in the U.S. and abroad.