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2-day Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Aisling Curtin & Dr. Trish Leonard

Come and join us on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th February
To book your place, please click on one of the following links:
2 Day Workshop:

Advanced ACT & MBI Course

The secret to achieving inner peace lies in understanding our inner core values- those things in our lives that are most important to us- and then seeing that they are reflected in the daily events of our lives

~Hyrum W. Smith

What is ACT?

Developed in the late 1980s by Steven C. Hayes, Kelly G. Wilson and Kirk Strosahl, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach. ACT balances acceptance and mindfulness-based skills with commitment strategies aimed at helping us move towards what matters most, while practicing acceptance of what is outside our control. Unlike traditional CBT, which focuses on changing or correcting one's distorted or unrealistic thoughts, ACT aims to change our relationship with unwanted private experiences (thoughts, feelings, bodily reactions) so that they don’t have so much control over our actions.  This difference in approach arises from the belief inherent in ACT, based on a growing body of research, that it is not the content of our private experiences which causes psychological suffering, but rather avoidance or entanglement with them. In fact, suppressing or eliminating unwelcome thoughts and feelings can result in a paradoxical effect, whereby the frequency and intensity of these experiences actually increases (Wenzlaff & Wegner, 2000). From an ACT perspective, when we engage in struggling with our uncomfortable private experiences, this can then lead to psychological rigidity; a failure to take behavioural steps in accordance with our core values (Hayes, 2009).   With this in mind, the central aim of ACT is to increase our psychological flexibility; that is the ability to connect more fully with the present moment, with awareness and openness, and to take action guided by our values (Harris, 2013). Psychological flexibility is achieved through six core processes in ACT:

  1. Cognitive defusion: observing what our mind says and responding effectively, rather than getting tangled up and lost in our thinking.

  2. Acceptance: embracing our private experiences fully and without attempting to change their frequency or form.

  3. Being present: connecting more fully with the here-and-now with openness to the possibilities and learning opportunities afforded by the current situation.

  4. Self-as-context: developing a more solid sense of ourselves as observers of our thoughts and feelings independent of the content of our private experiences.

  5. Values: clarifying what gives our lives meaning and what we would like our lives to be about.

  6. Committed action: doing what matters and taking steps towards our chosen values, even in the face of difficulties and discomfort.  

Adapted from Luoma, Hayes & Walser, 2007.

ACT develops psychological flexibility in clients, through the development of mindfulness skills, and guides them towards acting in accordance to their core values to create a meaningful life.  Another way of thinking about ACT is:

Accept, Choose and Take action.

Why ACT & MBI?

ACT was the first of the 'third wave' therapies and has the largest body of empirical data to support its effectiveness. It is also considered an empirically validated psychological intervention by the American Psychological Association (APA). A growing body of empirical data confirms that cultivating acceptance, mindfulness and openness to experience is highly effective for multiple presenting issues including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety disorders, addictions, psychosis, chronic pain, PTSD, personality disorders and eating disorders.  ACT and Mindfulness-based Interventions (MBI) have also been found to be helpful in the workplace for reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity and job satisfaction. ACT is a highly versatile and adaptable approach which can be delivered as a long, medium or short-term therapy, with empirical support for as little as four sessions.

Who was the Advanced ACT MBI course was developed for?

The Advanced ACT MBI course was developed for those seeking to develop a fluency and flexibility in understanding and applying ACT and MBI to their client work.

Including but not confined to:

  • Psychotherapists and counselors trained in psychodynamic / humanistic psychotherapy.

  • Psychologists seeking to apply ACT and MBI to their area of practice.

  • CBT therapists keen to incorporate innovative mindfulness and valued action exercises into their client work.

  • Mental Health professionals and allied health professionals including, but not limited to, psychiatrists, GPs, mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists.

Prior experience and knowledge of ACT and MBI would be an advantage although not essential*

What will the Advanced ACT MBI course involve?

The Course Director, Aisling Curtin, and the Course Team will bring a wealth of experience in ACT and MBI.  As you progress through this course you will move from an intermediate understanding of the underlying mechanisms that drive ACT and MBI to a more fluid and fluent understanding and application of ACT and MBI.  There will be multiple opportunities to observe, practice and refine ACT skills and develop a fluency in application. The course content will be guided by three core values: meaning/purpose, workability and competency with an emphasis on experiential learning, interaction and engagement (including role-plays/real-plays with feedback from therapist and ‘client’).  Practitioners will quickly be able to apply ACT and MBI and see the value and potential in client work.

Course objectives:

  • An introduction to the six core processes of ACT, and how to adapt them to different clinical populations leading to an advanced understanding of the core processes and how to combine these fluently.

  • An advanced understanding of functional contextualism, the theory underlying ACT, and how this can be applied therapeutically.

  • Understand the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of MBI, Behaviourism, RFT (relational frame theory) and the principles of Buddhism upon which ACT draws.

  • Effectively utilise ACT with a wide range of clinical disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, and addiction.

  • Conceptualise your cases using the ACT model.

  • Become more fluid and flexible in your interpretation and application of the ACT model.

  • How to effectively develop your own interventions based on metaphor and experiential exercises.

  • Awareness of the points where you and your clients get “stuck” in therapy and strategies to get 'unstuck' when therapy is not progressing.

  • What to do when “ACT isn’t working”- common pitfalls will be addressed and potential remedies will be taught.

  • Be aware of the importance of compassion and self-compassion (ancient wisdom for modern times).

  • Refine how you use ACT in your personal life to move towards where you want to be- also effective in coping with the stresses of challenging client work and the prevention of 'burnout'.

  • Learn how to apply ACT when talking about sex and sexuality within therapy in a respectful and helpful way

  • Learn out to apply ACT and MBI with gender and sexual minorities

  • Application of powerful ACT tools in difficult situations and with challenging presentations.

Upon completion of this course you will-

  • Have developed a level of flexibility and fluency in conceptualising and delivering ACT and MBI with both adults and young people across a wide range of clinical presentations.

  • Have an advanced understanding of the theories and principles underlying these approaches.

  • Be able to adapt your ACT and MBI skills to integrate with your existing way of working with clients and to respond to the unique needs and challenges of each client.  

  • Understand Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) and how to integrate this with existing approaches to enhance the therapeutic relationship

  • Be able to apply ACT, MBI and self compassion in your own life

    • To create a sense of vitality, meaning and fulfillment

    • To help you cope with the stresses of clients with challenging presentations

    • To prevent burnout

  • Be awarded CPD points

  • Receive a Certificate of Completion


Aisling Curtin

Dr. Kirk Strosahl

Dr. Patricia Robinson

Dr. Louise McHugh

Dr. Paul D’Alton

Dr. Lisa Coyne

Dr. Michael DelMonte

Dr. Trish Leonard

2016/2017 Cohort:

The 2016/2017 cohort for the Advanced ACT MBI course will be limited to 30 people.  The majority of trainings will be limited to the current cohort.  The 2015 cohort will have the option of a “top-up” to join training days on topics that were not covered in Year One, namely Buddhist philosophy, sexuality, working with gender and sexual minorities and guest international speakers.  The 2016/2017 cohort will be given a similar option for the 2017/2018 cohort to access any additional trainings, such as the compassion-focused therapy (CFT) module with Dr. Dennis Tirch and Dr. Laura Silberstein that is planned.  Once you have completed the Advanced ACT MBI Course, you are granted a lifetime-discounted rate for all ACT Now Ireland courses.  Also, if you miss one of the modules this year, as much as possible, we will accommodate you to attend a similar module during the following year.  The international guest trainers, namely Dr. Kirk Strosahl, Dr. Patricia Robinson and Dr. Lisa Coyne workshops are open to those with prior ACT training who are currently using ACT in practice outside of the Advanced ACT MBI cohorts.

Testimonials from First Cohort of Advanced ACT MBI 2015:

I have undertaken both ACT training courses and ACT Supervision with Aisling Curtin, and have found these to be of exceptional quality. Aisling is marvelous at linking theory with practice. The course theory is delivered in a way that is easy to follow because Aisling utilises experiential skills learning techniques and also illustrates concepts with examples from her own professional experience. The practical skills and academic knowledge I have gained through the course has been of great value in developing my confidence and capacity to work with ACT. I’d recommend this to anyone looking to develop fluency with ACT.  

Lisanne O’Loughlin, Counsellor and Psychotherapist

This course has been transformative for me, both personally and professionally. Looking back, the depth, breadth and scope of material covered was staggering. Theoretical components were seamlessly blended with enriching, authentic experiential exercises, guided with great skill, precision and humanity by Aisling and her co-presenters.

Aisling is one of those rare trainers who really responds to the needs and feedback of a group, and doesn't ask you to do anything she isn't willing and able to model herself. This creates a very special and nurturing context for a learning community, encouraging active and enthusiastic transferring of new knowledge, skills and experience to the real world.

Undertaking the course has enabled me to expand and enrich my working practices. It has challenged me to go further in developing connected, compassionate communication with my clients and in other areas of my life. It has also strengthened my goal setting and resulted in more impactful, efficient therapy provision and outcomes for a broad range of clients in ways I would never have predicted.  I can't recommend this course highly enough. A very valuable investment in personal and professional development.

Fiona O’Neill, Speech and Language Therapist

I have been using ACT for over a decade.  I always liked the ACT approach because I am a strong believer in only using scientifically validated treatments. I have also trained in The 12 Steps, in CBT and in ABA.  However, I have found that ACT was always the model that I turned to and that it worked very well for my clients over the years.  I found that they understood the principles easily and didn’t have to do lots of learning themselves before they could see the benefits of the therapy.  I also really liked how well ACT fit into my own behavioural psychology background and that it was built on sound empirical evidence from a coherent conceptual framework.  I was very interested when I heard about the Advanced ACT and MBI course, as I wanted to bring more mindfulness practice to the children and families who attend my clinic.  I also wanted to expand my own repertoire to include Functional Analytic Psychotherapy and Compassion Focused Therapy while reviewing and deepening my practice of ACT.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. I have trained with lots of other professionals in Ireland on this course and we have formed great friendships over the 10 months of our training.  I will be keeping contact with these people so that we can bounce ideas off one another to keep our skills fresh.  During this course, Aisling also brought together some of the world’s most renowned psychotherapists to deliver our training and to sharpen our techniques with both experiential and more traditional classroom learning.  This training has enhanced my practice beyond measure and I would happily recommend it to people who have lots of ACT training and to those who are new to the model.

Sarah Cassidy, PhD, Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychologist, Lecturer in Educational Psychology and Child Development & Chief Education Officer at www.

Learning ACT and MBI has greatly enhanced my private practice by introducing a highly effective mindfulness based approach to my work as a Counsellor & Psychotherapist.

I have only ever received positive feedback from my clients about ACT and how it enables them to learn mindfulness skills to deal with their difficult thoughts and feelings and learn to take action to live a more full and meaningful life.

Aisling is a wonderful trainer. She is passionate about ACT and this translates into her workshops, which are both engaging and enjoyable. She makes ACT very easy to understand and explains very clearly using plenty of role-plays, about how to apply ACT and MBI to your clinical practice. I would highly recommend the course to Psychotherapists looking for more skills and knowledge to enhance their therapy sessions with their clients.

Carolyn Duggan MIACP, B.A. (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy

Course dates 2016/2017

Full Days 9am-5pm:

Days 1 & 2: Sat 30th Aprilth & Sun 1st May

Day 3: Sat 28h May

Day 4 & 5: Thurs 9th and Fri 10th June (Dr. Kirk Strosahl & Dr. Patricia Robinson)

Days 6 & 7: Sat 10th and Sun 11th September

Day 8: Sat 8th October

Day 9: Sat 10th December

Days 10 & 11: 14th and 15th January (Dr. Lisa Coyne & Aisling Curtin) 2017

Day 12: Sat 11th February 2017

Day 13: Sat March 4th 2017

Course Fee: €1475

For more information and to book a place on the course please contact