ACT for Couples
Integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Schema Therapy to Treat Couples
This webinar will describe a complete protocol for a unique and innovative approach that integrates ACT, Schema Therapy, and Nonviolent Communication to treat couples. It is common for couples to develop rigid behavioral coping responses (experiential avoidance) and patterns that are driven by old stories, predictions and expectations in relationships (schemas). These coping responses include experiential avoidance behaviors such as clinging, withdrawing, attacking, reassurance seeking, defending, explaining, controlling, or demanding. Although these coping behaviors provide short-term relief from interpersonal distress, they create self-fulfilling prophecies that result in long-term relationship damage.
This approach is designed to treat couples in troubled relationships by identifying 10 common relationship schemas (primary pain) that trigger particular experiential avoidance strategies (Schema Coping Behaviors) that damage relationships (secondary pain).
In this webinar you will learn techniques to help partners stay connected in the face of unavoidable pain and the resulting drive for experiential avoidance. Partners are trained to mindfully observe the moment of choice and their experience in the face of pain in order to make values-based choices in response to triggers. You will learn how to use techniques to help partners stay connected while triggered and choose values-based actions rather than avoidance. The aim is to help couples take steps towards their values through building compassion and acceptance towards unavoidable pain in relationships, making distance from thoughts that pull them towards old behaviors, and cultivating flexible perspective taking with each others experience.
Materials covered will include a conceptual framework, experiential exercises, and video examples to help participants utilize creative hopelessness, build willingness with couples to experience the unavoidable pain that gets triggered in relationships, cultivate mindfulness, identify values-based actions, and use emotion exposure and defusion techniques to work with barriers that show up for partners.
This workshop is designed to help you:
1. Identify 10 maladaptive schemas and schema coping behaviors that create couple distress.
2. Describe 10 experiential avoidance strategies that damage relationships.
3. Use schemas to provide a formulation for couples' interpersonal dynamic in the relationship.
4. Discuss the six basic tenets of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and how to adapt the hexaflex to work with couples.
5. Demonstrate skills in defusing from cognitive barriers to values-based actions.
6. Use exposure to work with emotional barriers that act as barriers to values-based actions.
7. Utilize mindfulness skills to identify each moment of withdrawal/avoidance as it occurs in session. Help couples contact the present moment to choose values-based actions.
8. Understand the importance of values and values consistent actions in improving romantic relationships.
9. Learn communication skills for couples
10. Integrate schemas with the ACT approach to treat couples.