BABCP | British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies > Conferences > National Conferences and Workshops > Spring Workshops 2023 > Workshop 2

Workshop 2

Monday 17 April: 1.30 - 4.30pm

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Core processes and the importance of the therapeutic relationship

Robyn D Walser, Director of TL Consultation Services and co-director of the Bay Area Trauma Recovery Center, California, USA

Register here


Acceptance and commitment therapy employs a variety of verbal and experiential processes and techniques to assist clients in making life-enhancing choices based on personally held values. The behavioral processes implemented in ACT may be learned and understood at many levels, yet they may also remain challenging to implement in a flexible, consistent, and effective fashion inside of complex relational experiences. Moving beyond simple techniques and into a fluid ACT intervention requires attending to interpersonal processes. Indeed, the therapeutic relationship is the primary vehicle for implementing the core processes of ACT. Underscoring the importance of the relationship is paramount – it is the context in which the intervention emerges, allowing the therapist to shape psychological flexibility directly. Additionally, research on the therapeutic alliance in adult psychotherapy has been fairly robust, supporting the alliance as a mechanism of change in psychotherapy (Crits-Cristoph, et al., 2013). The therapeutic alliance that is co-created in ACT is a critical factor contributing to its effectiveness. This workshop will focus on applying ACT at the level of the interpersonal process designed to enhance the therapeutic relationship. Didactics and discussion will be oriented to increasing flexibility in the use of the core processes with the therapeutic relationship held as the vehicle for change.

Key learning objectives:

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the influence of language on human suffering.
  2. Describe the six core processes of ACT.
  3. Describe what is meant by therapeutic presence from an ACT perspective.
  4. Explain the importance of the therapeutic relationship as the vehicle for the effective delivery of ACT processes.

Participants will be able to translate the workshop into skills that improve their ACT work by paying attention to intrapersonal and interpersonal processes that promote effective implementation of the core processes of ACT, supporting the client and process-centered nature of this evidenced-based intervention.

Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D. is Director of TL Consultation Services, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and works at the National Center for PTSD. As a licensed psychologist, she maintains an international training, consulting and therapy practice. Dr. Walser is an expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has co-authored 7 books on ACT including a book on learning ACT. She has most recently written a book entitled: The Heart of ACT- Developing a flexible, process-based, and client-centered practice using acceptance and commitment therapy. Dr. Walser has expertise in traumatic stress, depression and substance abuse and has authored a number of articles, chapters and books on these topics. She has been doing ACT workshops since 1997; training in multiple formats and for multiple client problems.

Key references

Vilardaga, R., & Hayes, S. C. (2010). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and the therapeutic relationship stance. European Psychotherapy, 9, 117-139.

Walser, R. D., & O'Connell, M. (2021). Acceptance and commitment therapy and the therapeutic relationship: Rupture and repair. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(2), 429-440.

Walser, R. D., & O'Connell, M. (2023). Alliance rupture and repair in acceptance and commitment therapy. In C. F. Eubanks, L. W. Samstag, & J. C. Muran (Eds.), Rupture and repair in psychotherapy: A critical process for change (pp. 165–186). American Psychological Association.

0330 320 0851
Registered office
Minerva House, Hornby Street, Bury, Lancashire  BL9 5BN
Privacy Notice
Privacy Policy
0330 320 0851
Registered charity No. 1098704   A company limited by guarantee No. 4839948   Registered in England and Wales   VAT reg No. 732 5316 53