Acceptance and Commitment Training

Acceptance and commitment training (ACT) is an evidence-based, cutting-edge paradigm that corresponds with increased quality of life and decreased prevalence of a variety of problems in living, including stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use. ACT teaches mindfulness skills to help people behave in a manner that is congruent with their highest values while cultivating greater psychological flexibility. It’s a mindfulness-based approach to improving quality of life and reducing struggling in our personal and professional lives. By learning to recognize and accept what is not in our control, we make space for values-based actions that support our well-being.


ACT for HSPs

ACT for Highly Sensitive People

Are you easily over-stimulated and/or emotionally sensitive? Angie Hardage, LMLP will teach you the tools of ACT for cultivating emotional agility, equanimity, and psychological flexibility that can help you cope in a frenetic world. This innovative program is based on the work of Dr. Elaine Aron and Dr. Patricia Zurita Ona. Series consists of three 2-hour sessions – choose from a Beginner’s or Advanced level series or take both for the full experience.

Fees (click to purchase a pass, then visit the calendar to enroll in the class):

**No refunds on or after the enrollment deadline. Although this course is meant for the general public, up to 9 CEs are available to KS & MO licensed mental health professionals for each series.

When: Two Sequential 3-Session Series

  • Beginners Series: Saturdays from 1:30 – 4:30 pm February 1, 8 & 15, 2020 (enrollment deadline 1/24/2020)
  • Advanced Series:
    • Saturdays from 10am – 1pm October 19, 26 & November 2 (enrollment deadline 10/11/2019)
    • Saturdays from 1:30 – 4:30 pm February 29, March 7 & 14, 2020 (enrollment deadline 2/21/2020)

Learning Objectives

Beginner’s Series:

Session 1: The Highly Sensitive Person and ACT – An Overview

  1. Identify the characteristics of the highly sensitive person (HSP).
  2. Review the ACT model and how ACT principles can be applied to the experience of being an HSP.
  3. Engage in a values-authorship experiential activity in order to understand the role of psychological flexibility in managing an HSP temperament.

Session 2:  Managing Emotions as an HSP

  1. Explore the function of emotions.
  2. Learn core skills including a) noticing and naming emotional experiences, b) stepping back and “pressing the pause button” when experiencing emotions, and c) checking and choosing behavioral urges against values in service of choosing workability.
  3. Develop skills for responding to particularly unpleasant emotions, including anger, loneliness, shame, guilt, abandonment, and rejection.

Session 3:  Developing Inner Wisdom – Applying ACT Principles in Service of a Life of Vitality

  1. Explore the function of language in emotional distress and emotional avoidance.
  2. Understand how rule-governed behavior and cognitive rigidity contribute to emotional distress and emotional avoidance.
  3. Learn about the role of self-narratives in emotional distress and emotional avoidance.

Advanced Series

Session 1:  The Nervous System and Evolutionary Mismatch

  1. Learn about the role of the nervous system from a functional contextual perspective.
  2. Develop core skills including the ability to recognize body states, identify signs of nervous system activation, and implement core grounding skills.
  3. Explore the role of mindfulness in effectively managing the HSP nervous system.
  4. Practice self-soothing skills and boundary setting to help regulate and protect the highly sensitive nervous system.

Session 2:  The Highly Sensitive Person and Relationships

  1. Identify and clarify relationship goals and values.
  2. Understand the role of attachment styles in relationships for the HSP.
  3. Learn about the role of communication (verbal and non-verbal) in relationships for the HSP.
  4. Explore the role of conflict in relationships for the HSP.

Session 3:  Tying it All Together

  1. Review of ACT skills (including noticing and naming, defusion, checking, acceptance, awareness, body-sensing, and interpersonal skills).
  2. Create a tracking chart to help integrate skills into activities of daily living.
  3. Appreciate the strengths of the HSP and identify next steps.


ACT 8 Session Series

Join Angie Hardage, LMLP for this 8-part series to learn in-depth this mindfulness-based approach to increasing wellness, decreasing suffering, and creating a life of vitality, meaning and purpose. Participants will learn how to observe and describe difficult thoughts, feelings, urges, and sensations with curiosity and compassion, while taking effective and committed action in service of intrinsic values. The primary target of ACT is cultivating the skill of psychological flexibility, a concept that is correlated with decreases in psychological symptoms and distress and with increased quality of life.

Each class includes a combination of didactic and experiential learning and will also address 1) barriers that make it difficult to “do the know,” and 2) specific examples of how participants can translate the material into their daily personal and professional lives.

When: 8 Wednesdays from 7-9 pm Starting January 8, 2020 (enrollment deadline Friday Dec 27th, 2019)

Fees: (click to purchase your pass by the enrollment deadline, then visit the calendar to register for the course):

**No refunds on or after the enrollment deadline. This course is appropriate for the general public, but up to 16 CEs are available to licensed KS & MO mental health professionals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Session 1 – The ACT Model: Psychological Flexibility & Emotional Agility. Objectives – 1. Explore the 6 processes of the ACT model; 2. Discuss the ACT philosophy of human suffering, including the myth of “healthy normality” and the concepts of “clean” pain vs. “dirty” pain3. Explore the roles of language and the nervous system in human suffering and distress; and 4. Explore the concepts of psychological flexibility and experiential avoidance and their relationship wellness and quality of life.
  • Session 2 – Defusion: Is that a THOUGHT or a FACT? Objectives – Defusion – 1. Explore the two ways of “knowing” (experiential and verbal); 2. Learn about the role of defusion in distress, including the ability to name at least two specific examples of fusion with private internal experiences; 3. Explore various experiential defusion strategies; and 4. Explore individual and cultural barriers to practicing defusion.
  • Session 3 – Values Authorship & Clarification: What Do You Want Your Life to Be About? Objectives – 1.Explore the difference between values and goals, 2. Engage in values authorship using the values card sort activity, 3. Learn about the concepts of pliance and tracking and how they relate to values-consistent behavior, and 4. Explore behavioral applications of values using ACT metaphors (Classroom Professor and Two Sides of the Same Coin), 5. Utilize the Flexible Action Plan to translate intrinsic values into behavioral, committed action
  • Session 4 – Present Moment Awareness: Be Here Now. Objectives- 1. Explore the relationship between present-moment mindful awareness and psychological distress, 2. Explore specific forms of disconnection from present-moment experience including cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance using the ACT in a nutshell metaphor; 3. Discuss the role of mindful self-compassion in increasing present-moment experiences; and 4. Utilize the Expanding Your Life Space metaphor in service of increasing present moment awareness while pursuing values-based activities.
  • Session 5 – Acceptance: Willingness, Willfulness, & the Wisdom to Know the Difference. Objectives – 1. Explore myths related to acceptance, willingness, and willfulness; 2. Utilize acceptance-based ACT interventions including the Costs of Avoidance worksheet and the Willingness and Action plan to identify strategies for increasing acceptance and willingness in activities of daily living; and 3. Utilize the cactus/feather metaphor for practicing acceptance and willingness in the face of unwanted internal experiences.
  • Session 6 – The Role of the Self in ACT: Contacting Self-as-Context. Objectives – 1. Explore the concept of the “self” in ACT, including self-as-content, self-as-process, and self-as-context; 2. Engage in the “I am . . .” experiential exercise in order to contact self-as-context/observer self; 3. Discuss the role of perspective taking in the context of relationships with self and others.
  • Session 7 – Committed Action: The Mindful Action Plan. Objectives – flexible action plan and mindful action plan – 1. Explore the relationship among committed action, psychological flexibility, and values; 2. Explore the concepts of experiential avoidance, cognitive rigidity, and rule-based behavior as barriers to committed action; 3. Discuss the 4 steps of committed action; and 4. Utilize 2 ACT resources to operationalize committed action, including the Mindful Action Plan and the Flexible Action Plan.
  • Session 8 – Compassionate Perspective Taking. Objectives – 1. Explore the concept of the “self” in ACT, including self-as-content, self-as-process, and self-as-context; 2. Engage in the “I am . . .” experiential exercise in order to contact self-as-context/observer self; 3. Discuss the role of perspective taking in reducing self-criticism and shame, and 4. Explore the role of self-compassion in reducing shame and self-criticism.