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Empowering Excellence: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Flexibly – Beyond Metaphors and Formal Exercises

Event Details
Date: Ongoing
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 2 hours (FPS)
CPD Category: 2 - Skills and Knowledge

Refer to listing

Organiser: AASW

There are many textbooks which describe formal Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) exercises and metaphors. However, there are often moments in therapy when we are not engaged in one of these formal exercises. Therapists can sometimes feel confusion or anxiety in these moments, wondering whether they are still engaging in ACT-consistent behaviours with their client.

This presentation will explore what ACT looks like in the therapy room when moving beyond formal exercises and metaphors. The techniques described in this presentation are not a replacement for these more formal approaches, but rather strive to broaden the therapist’s repertoire of tools to enable them to engage in ACT-consistent interventions in a flexible manner, through regular clinical dialogue.

The presentation is aimed at an intermediate level. It is most suitable for social workers and therapists who have some understanding of the ACT model, and/or those who have begun to incorporate ACT-based methods into their clinical work.

Please note this presentation will not review the basic components of the ACT model at an introductory level. You can book in for both workshops below.

“When therapists are learning a new treatment model, they will often begin by practising the formal, scripted exercises which have been developed for that particular modality. This can be a useful starting point to help therapists develop familiarity and confidence with key skills. While learning these scripted exercises can develop confidence, it can also limit flexibility and the range of ways in which we deliver our interventions. For example, what do we do if our favourite defusion exercise backfires catastrophically? Or if our client adamantly refuses to practice formal mindfulness exercises?

The core processes within the ACT model are happening at every moment in the therapy room, for both client and therapist. While formal metaphors and scripted exercises represent one way of engaging the six core processes, there is also a range of informal methods of targeting core process work in session. The ACT therapist can learn to orient their interventions towards any of these core processes, at any moment during the course of a session. This online presentation serves as a starting point for therapists to develop a range of skills that can be applied to regular clinical dialogue, connected with the six core ACT processes” Brendon Knott.

Course objectives

Participants will obtain an understanding of

  • How to think and conceptualise in ACT-consistent ways even when not engaging in formal components of the ACT model
  • How to think more broadly about the six core processes
  • How to flexibly engage in a broad range of interventions for each of the six core processes
  • How to integrate ACT-consistent interventions into general clinical dialogue.

Presenter details

Brendon Knott is a Clinical Psychologist with over 17 years’ experience working with a diverse range of client groups within the public and private sectors. He developed a strong interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and the overarching field of Contextual Behavioural Science (CBS) in 2003, and has worked clinically within this framework since that time. Brendon works with a broad range of presenting issues from an ACT perspective including depression, anxiety disorders, trauma, personality disorders, adjustment issues, grief and domestic violence. He is also experienced in applying the principles of ACT to groups and individuals with a range of physical health problems such as diabetes, stroke, obesity and the management of chronic health problems.

Brendon is also an experienced lecturer and trainer, who currently lectures on ACT and contextual behavioural therapies to undergraduate and postgraduate psychology students at the University of Newcastle. Brendon runs training workshops for helping professionals from a range of disciplines (psychology, social work, nursing etc) on ACT, as well as broader ACT-related topics such as functional analysis and functional contextual treatment interventions.

Method of Delivery

Once you have registered for this course, all online content is available to view at your convenience via the AASW SWOT Platform.

Please ensure that your email address is accurate and updated when you register.


The online presentation duration is two hours.

CPD for Credentials

This course can be claimed under Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS), Mental Health and Clinical for CPD purposes, consistent with the CPD Goals and Hours Requirements.

Find out more today about opportunities to have your specialised social work skills recognised.


AASW member price: $199
AASW student price: $99
Non-member price: $374

REGISTER HERE for both this presentation, and Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for a reduced price

Registration Details

Register for this course by following the panel to the right.

Alternatively, REGISTER HERE for both this presentation, and Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing all access instructions.

For further information regarding the Empowering Excellence Program, please contact the AASW CPD Team on (03) 9320 1003 or via email at [email protected]

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers