ACT for Depression and Anxiety Disorders With Dr. Russ Harris

Course Overview

This 6-week long course will take you from “chunky clunky ACT” to “fluent, flexible ACT”. You’ll go deeper into the ACT model, take your ACT skills to the next level, and learn specific methods for depression and anxiety disorders. You’ll learn about common stumbling blocks and sticking points, and how to quickly get around them. And you’ll discover a wealth of practical tools and strategies to effectively target depression – both major depressive disorder and dysthymia – and the full range of anxiety disorders from OCD & phobias to social anxiety & panic disorder. (Note: we don’t cover trauma in this training. That’s such a huge topic, we’ve created a whole course on it: ACT & Mindfulness for Trauma).
As with all our courses, the online format gives you total flexibility to learn whenever it suits you, and access a whole range of powerful resources that simply aren’t available anywhere else. 2.5 hours of new content will be released, week-by-week, over a 6-week period. Plus, on top of that, you’ll have an extra 4 weeks of access to the whole course – so you can watch all your favourite videos again. (And if you’ve fallen behind due to sickness, or taking a vacation, or work commitments etc, this will give you plenty of time to catch up). The entire course has been carefully designed with professional learners in mind, to ensure that you gain a comprehensive and practical grounding in the theory and application of ACT, which you can immediately put into practice depressed and anxious clients.

This course assumes at least a beginners-level knowledge in ACT. Before enrolling, you must do at least one of the following:

  • Attend an introductory level 2-day ACT workshop (with any trainer; doesn’t have to be Russ)
  • Complete our online ACT for Beginners course
  • Thoroughly work through a beginners-level ACT textbook from start to end – such as ACT Made Simple or Learning ACT. (This means not just reading it, but actively doing the experiential exercises. An ACT self-help book such as The Happiness Trap will not suffice; it must be a textbook.)

Russ will take you much deeper into the ACT model and show you how to adapt and enhance it to effectively address all the common problems of depression and anxiety disorders:
phobias, panic attacks, obsessions, compulsions, rumination, worrying, withdrawal, avoidance, shame, guilt, self-hatred, suicidality, dissociation, hopelessness, lack of motivation, social disengagement, comorbidity, and so on.

He’ll also show you how to overcome resistance, win over mandated clients, and work at an interpersonal level.

If you already know your ACT basics and you want to upgrade and streamline your skills to work efficiently, compassionately and creatively with the entire spectrum of depression and anxiety disorders, this is the course for you. And as with all our courses, you’ll get to see Russ’s unique teaching style direct-to-camera, discover delightful animations that bring the model to life, watch videos of therapy sessions with a range of common trauma issues, download numerous audio exercises and reading materials, participate in online discussion forums, answer multi-choice quizzes that test your learning as you go, print out powerful resources to use with clients … and a whole lot more.

Course Modules

Each week of the 6-week course is broken down into a series of easy-to-digest modules, so you can upgrade your skills quickly and simply, in bite-sized chunks.

2.5 hours of course content will be released week-by-week over 6 weeks, with an extra 6 weeks of access after the course ends, allowing you total flexibility to learn when it suits you.

Running from Anxiety

ACT view of anxiety disorders – The vicious cycle of experiential avoidance – ACT case formulation of anxiety disorders – Fear versus anxiety – Worrying -– The therapeutic relationship – The big and important differences between mindfulness and relaxation– Building rapport – Where to start? – How to stop running from anxiety- Creative hopelessness made simple – How to respond when clients say, “I hate this feeling! I just want it to go!” -“50 Shades of Acceptance” – helping clients gradually transition from tolerance to acceptance – How to get to and work with the very roots of anxiety

Dissolving Worries & Getting to Values

How to provide rapid relief from anxiety, without trying to get rid of it – Defusion from worrying and catastrophising – Grounding & centering – “Dropping anchor” & expansive awareness – First steps with panic – Mindful ceasefires: the antidote to panic attacks – OCD: Defusing obsessions and surfing compulsions – Making homework simple and practical – First steps towards acceptance of anxiety – Working with posture, movement, and breathing – Breathing exercises: myths and facts– Establishing behavioural goals – Getting to values and committed action – 5 most common mistakes when treating anxiety.

The Art & Science of Compassionate Exposure

What is exposure and why is it essential for anxiety disorders? – Commonalities and differences between exposure in ACT and other models – How to ensure that exposure is safe, flexible, values-guided, and compassionate – Tailoring exposure to fit the client – Building willingness – Creating Exposure Hierarchies – Enhancing exposure with self-as-context – What to look for and measure – Common exposure myths – Dipping in & dipping out: how to safely titrate exposure .

Wading Out of The Swamp

Building therapist self-confidence – Becoming fluent and flexible in “dancing around the hexaflex” – ACT view of depression – Using the choice point 2.0 for rapid change – Motivating the unmotivated – Defusion from hopelessness – Winning over mandated, coerced and reluctant clients – Wading out of the swamp: how to get clients moving in valued directions -– When is mindfulness contraindicated? – What to do when clients say “nothing will work” – How to disarm the “I don’t know” monster.

The Stuck, The Struggling, and The Suicidal

Suicidality: what reinforces it and how to compassionately undermine it – Defusion from “nothing matters” – Simple ways to get to values – Connect & reflect exercises – Working at an interpersonal level – Sessions with IMPACT: Interpersonal Mindfulness Processes in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy – How to find meaning when “life is meaningless” – 5 most common mistakes when treating depression – How to disrupt regret and rumination – How to get past “I have no values” – How to set goals when “nothing matters”.

From Shame to Self-compassion

Homework horrors: how to get clients active between sessions – Mindful, values-based problem solving – Shame-busting: moving from self-contempt to self-compassion – Working with the ‘inner child’ – dispersing the fog: how to appreciate life when your mind says “It’s pointless” – Releasing the shackles of perfectionism – When mindfulness backfires: how to rapidly get back on track – The therapist’s personal journey.

Course Outcomes

This course will enable you to deepen your understanding of ACT; to upgrade your knowledge and enhance your skills so you can use ACT effectively across a broad spectrum of anxiety and depression related issues.

Register Your Interest

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Here’s what people have been saying about the online training courses.

“I am loving the course so far and have learned a lot, thank you all for the hard work you’ve clearly put in! It has been a fun learning experience that is thorough and thoughtful.”

Kenleigh Roden-Foreman

Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology

Dallas, Texas, USA

“I’ve done a few online courses on mental health and related topics… this course makes it so much easier with the shorter clips, lively explanations and steady pace.”

Linda Kader

Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist

Melbourne, Australia

“I really love the course and find it is already helping me be more creative and flexible in session”

Cheryl Smith

Clinical Psychologist

Still not quite sure?

Read these endorsements from ACT professionals.

Professional Endorsements

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Real Testimonials