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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Trauma
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) offers an empirically validated approach to the treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related symptoms like unwanted thoughts, feelings, memories, and nightmares. Trauma survivors often work to avoid these experiences as well as trauma-related situations and cues. Narratives about the self as “damaged” or “broken,” or that their presence can taint others are common in survivors of trauma, and these stories can narrowly define who individuals are and thus how they can act in the world. It is a common misconception that healing from trauma means being able to remove oneself from the trauma and “leave it behind.” This workshop will teach from the ACT approach, which does nearly the opposite—it explores how to make room for difficult memories, feelings, urges, and thoughts as part of living a value-guided and deeply meaningful life. Dr. Plumb Vilardaga will explain, model, and demonstrate the ACT approach as it relates to trauma work. Participants will learn from a mix of didactic and experiential exercises using “real” role plays (asking attendees to tap into their own thoughts, feelings, memories, and reactions as fellow humans) to encourage and deepen emotional experiencing and cognitive flexibility, and particularly as it applies to individuals with a history of adversity.