9:00 AM09:00

One-Day Workshop: Getting Into the Heart of ACT

Mike Femenella, Ph.D.

Co-sponsored by the New York State Psychological Association- CBT Division (NYSPA)

April 1, 2017

"Getting Into the Heart of ACT"

The Purpose of this workshop is to simplify Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and make it more user-friendly for both clinician and patient without losing its richness. The six core ACT processes (acceptance, defusion, self-as-context, contact with the present moment, values, & committed action) will be conceptualized using everyday terms such as "love," "courage," and "hurt." This workshop is designed to be useful for therapists and students who are new to the model as well as experienced ACT therapists who want to broaden their therapeutic repertoire. This full day of training will include didactic presentation and discussion, experiential exercises, clinical techniques, and time for questions and answers.


To register: Purchase tickets at https://nyc-acbs-act-workshop.eventbrite.com

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to May 14


ACT II - A Skills-Building Intensive

Produced in collaboration with NY-ACBS



Ready to take your ACT Skills to the next level? 



Join us for an ACT clinical skills-building intensive, an opportunity to practice reading, targeting, and moving psychological flexibility processes. In this entirely new type of intermediate ACT workshop, the most experienced ACT therapist of all, Steve Hayes, has developed a comprehensive set of creative exercises that build out ACT as different type of evidence-based practice: not protocols for syndromes, but evidence-based processes linked to procedures that address problems and promote prosperity in people.

This 2-day training will help you:

·  Detect psychological flexibility processes in flight in session

·  Conceptualize cases in terms of flexibility processes

·  Target psychological flexibility processes at will at any point in therapy

·  Develop flexible and productive core intervention skills in ACT

·  Use these skills to create a powerful therapeutic relationship



13CE Credit Hours
Venue:Sheraton Brooklyn
228 Duffield Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Early Registration price- $425.00 by April 13 & students $265.00

Trainer: Steven C. Hayes


Register Now & Save $75 off with promo code just for ACBS- NY Members: “ACBSNY16"
(Not available on student registrations, in combination with other promo codes or on existing registrations


Registration link- bit.ly/ACTIINY


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9:00 AM09:00



Acceptance and mindfulness oriented process inherent in third generation CBT's such as Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) will be explored alongside Relational Psychoanalysis and Cyclical Psychodynamics.  This training will encourage reaching beyond the clinically familiar, aiming to interpersonally engage across therapeutic boundaries and to defuse some of our territorial disputes and reconstruct our theoretical paradigms.  Via didactic, experiential and video case presentations, Paul Wachtel, PhD and Mark Sisti, PhD, will respectively explore trans-diagnostic and trans-theoretical common ground among contextual conceptualizations and interventions.

The workshop’s emphasis will be on highlighting and respectively translating, practical clinically mutative interventions and change processes.   We aim to bring these vibrant and emerging therapeutic communities into a state of greater openness, receptivity, and clinical flexibility.  The heretical status often ascribed to the central concepts within both of these emerging communities, demonstrate they are no longer the rigid, stereotyped and disassociated communities and therapies known to previous generations.

•   Increase your clinical flexibility

•   Expand your awareness and use of clinically relevant processes

•   Expand your repertoire of conceptualization and interventions

•   Personally reach outside your theoretical comfort zone

•   Raise mutual awareness of self-fulfilling vicious cycles

•   Raise your quotient of in-the-moment awareness, through interpersonal awareness

•   Increase awareness and facility with in-session interpersonal interactions (for both axis I & II syndromes)

•   Better use relational/interpersonal awareness and interactions as vehicle for mentalization, emotional openness, social connection & defusion


Paul Wachtel, PhD:

For four decades Paul Wachtel has been one of the leading integrative thinkers in the field of psychotherapy.  He is the author or editor of 13 books, ranging from integrative clinical theory and practice to the social implications of our psychological socioeconomic doctrines. He is a CUNY distinguished professor at City College and the City University of NY Graduate Center, as well as past president of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI).  He is the winner of the 2010 Hans H. Strupp Memorial Award for psychoanalytic writing, teaching and research, the 2012 distinguished psychologist award by division 29 of APA (psychotherapy) and the 2013 scholarship and research award, by division 39 of APA (Psychoanalysis).

“Paul Wachtel’s cyclical psychodynamic therapy may be the most important integrative therapy in psychotherapy, bringing together a dizzying array of diverse literatures.  Wachtel’s range is astonishing, but he doesn’t stop with mere comprehension.  Even more interesting and significant than his grasp is his capacity to bring all these theories into meaningful relation with one another” - Donnel B. Stern


Mark Sisti, PhD: 

A lifelong clinician and trainer in CBT, Mark Sisti is the director of Suffolk Cognitive-Behavioral (SCB) a group treatment & training center committed to "third generation CBT’s”, where he supervises and trains students and professionals.  He is an adjunct clinical supervisor at Yeshiva— Ferkauf University, and LIU Post and has taught integrative course work at Suffolk Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, as well as a graduate of the one-year program at the Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis.  He is a founding fellow, diplomat and certified trainer, with The Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

He is past-president of the NY chapter (NYC-ACBS) of ACBS (Association of Contextual Behavioral Science), has given seminars and trainings on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Functional Analytic Therapy (FAP) at ACBS World Conferences as well as for other organizations.  His interests in the interpersonal aspects of contextual psychotherapy extend into his published writing and training in Contextual CBT, Compassion Informed Therapy, FAP and Relational Psychoanalysis. 



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5:30 PM17:30



Location: Bayard's Ale House, 533 Hudson Street (at Charles Street), NYC

About Bayard's and the Social Event:
Come out and meet new friends, catch up with old ones, and network with other ACT-friendly clinicians and students in the NYC area. Bayard's Ale House (Hudson at Charles Street) is an Irish Pub not far from the Village Community School that is also a historic site built in 1826. Conveniently located around the corner from the PATH and close to several subway lines, Bayard's offers a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a full menu of food, and offers $5 pints for any of their draft beer selection. The number for Bayard's is 212-989-0313.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to our membership chair, Brian Pilecki, at pilecki@gmail.com. Though not required, your RSVP will aid us in preparing for your arrival. Please feel free to contact Brian with any questions.

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9:00 AM09:00

Getting Into The Heart of ACT



Mike Femenella, PhD

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Location: Albert Ellis Institute, 145 E 32nd Street, 9th Floor,
New York NY 10016
Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Rates discounted for ACBS members

The Purpose of this workshop is to simplify Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and make it more user-friendly for both clinician and patient without losing its richness.  The six core ACT processes (acceptance, defusion, self-as-context, contact with the present moment, values, & committed action) will be conceptualized using everyday terms such as "love," "courage," and "hurt."  This workshop is designed to be useful for therapists and students who are new to the model, as well as experienced ACT therapists who want to broaden their therapeutic repertoire.  This full day of training will include didactic presentation and discussion, experiential exercises, clinical techniques, and time for questions and answers.

Registration and payment will be accepted through PayPal on the Home Page. Alternatively, you  may mail a check payable to: "NYC Association for Contextual Behavioral Science" to the following address:
32 Arbor Ridge Lane
South Setauket NY 11720
After you send payment (either method), 
please RSVP to nycacbs@gmail.com and include your name and institution.  Your payment and registration will be verified by email and, by request, you will receive a receipt on the day of the event.


NYC-ACBS ACT Study-Practice Group

Next Meeting:  Thursday, February 26. 2015

The Village Community School, 272-278 West 10th Street, NYC
COST: We will be collecting a fee of $20 for non ACBS members, $15 for ACBS members, and $10 for students. This contribution will not only go towards the rental of our meeting space, but also to help develop the local CBS community by providing our Chapter with more resources to sponsor events, trainings, and social activities in the future.

Launched by the Chapter in Spring, 2013, the ACT Study-Practice Group generally meets on the third Thursday of the month (exceptions to this schedule are posted in advance), and serves as a place where individuals of all levels of experience and backgrounds can alternately learn and practice Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Each group alternates between study groups with guest speakers focusing on particular topics and practice groups where ACT principles will be applied to real life cases.
We cannot stress enough that there is NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY to attend!  We hope to draw a very diverse group of participants, including students, ACT newbies, very experienced ACT practitioners, and professionals from other therapeutic orientations and disciplines within and outside of mental health.
Dr. Mike Femenella is our ongoing host and alternating monthly facilitator of the case conference practice groups. Mike is one of the earliest practitioners of ACT on the East Coast and has been committed to ACT as his exclusive treatment modality since 2001. He has received extensive training in ACT with Steve Hayes, Kelly Wilson, Robyn Walser, Kirk Strosahl, and other notable ACT trainers. He is an ACT consultant for the Veterans Administration, and has trained and supervised numerous clinicians, including listening to hundreds of hours of audiotaped sessions, rating them for adherence, and providing supportive feedback. 

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7:00 PM19:00


The ACT Study-Practice Group continues to be the centerpiece of the Chapter's educational programming. Hosted by our facilitator, Mike Femenella, PhD, it serves as a place where individuals from all levels of experience and backgrounds can alternately learn and practice Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and related perspectives. Joining Mike since its inception in May, 2013, we have been pleased to welcome the following guest presenters at the ACT Study-Practice Group:

Daniel J. Moran, PhD
November 19, 2014
"Balancing What’s Hot with What’s Not:
Putting Mindfulness in Harmony with Commitment"

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach that blends mindfulness with behavior therapy.  Effective ACT treatment plans help people become more present-focused while moving forward on values-based commitments.  This workshop described how to assist clients with sticking to important commitments, and also included experiential exercises, as well as didactic elements that explain the use of the Mindful Action Plan
About the Speaker:
After earning his doctorate from Hofstra University in 1998, Dr. Moran was a university professor for ten years, helped treat dozens of people with Discovery Studio’s Hoarding: Buried Alive TV show, and founded the MidAmerican Psychological Institute, a thriving behavior therapy clinic in Chicagoland. He is also the Founder of Pickslyde Consulting, an organization aimed at using evidence-based applications to improve performance and wellness in the workplace.  He co-authored ACT in Practice (New Harbinger) with Patty Bach, PhD; and, in 2013, published the book, Building Safety Commitment in an effort to help front-line workers and leaders improve their safety by learning about mindfulness and values-based motivation. More recently, Dr. Moran has been named Senior Vice-President for Quality Safety Edge, a pioneering organization aimed at implementing behavior-based safety processes worldwide. He currently serves on the ACBS Board as Secretary-Treasurer.

Jonathan S. Kaplan, PhD
September 18, 2014
"Mindfulness in ACTion: What, Why, How, and When"

Mindfulness has become used increasingly in various psychotherapies, including ACT.  Yet, applied incorrectly, mindfulness can facilitate avoidance and prevent the cultivation of acceptance and psychological flexibility.  In this workshop, Dr. Jonathan Kaplan reviewed what mindfulness is and explored its role in ACT.  He introduced the SPARK model of mindfulness processes that helps people develop their own personalized practice.  After leading participants in a couple mindfulness exercises, he identified ways to overcome common obstacles to the practice and invited discussion about how and when to use mindfulness with patients.
About the speaker:
Dr. Jonathan Kaplan works as a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City.  He has been practicing and teaching mindfulness for 15 years.  Author of Urban Mindfulness and co-author of ACT & RFT in Relationships, his work has been featured in O Magazine, El Mundo, BBC News, NPR, Fox News, ABC News, and various other TV and radio shows.  He holds a Diplomate from the Academy for Cognitive Therapy and he is a Founding Fellow of the New York City Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Association. For more information, please visit 


Brian Pilecki, MA
May 15, 2014
"The Role of Language in Human Suffering" 

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me…”  Though many of us may remember this nursery rhyme from childhood, the truth is that names, words, and language can cause us much suffering.  This study group used an ACT perspective to discuss the ways in which language and thinking can be harmful, and how focusing on the process of thinking, rather than its contents, can be therapeutic and liberating.  Specific interventions for working with clients were offered. 
About the Speaker:

Brian Pilecki, PhD has since completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Fordham University, and was accepted to a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University, where he is involved in research and practice in an ACT-based partial-day hospitalization program.  He has been studying and practicing mindfulness since 2000 and ACT since 2007, presenting at national conferences and publishing in the areas of cognitive defusion and experiential avoidance.  Brian earned his MA in Eastern philosophy prior to his doctoral studies, was a seminal founding member of NYC-ACBS, and serves on the Chapter’s Board as Membership Chair and Treasurer.


Martin Brock, MSc
April 16, 2014
"To Do ACT…or... Not To Do ACT
The ACT Questions You Never Dared to Ask"

One can read the books, participate in workshops, and join in the ACBS listserv discussions in order to learn how to do ACT.
 But those events don’t typically tell how NOT to do ACT, nor do they address personal hurdles in learning to implement ACT.  ACT group supervision is an important part of becoming more proficient at being present with clients and learning to apply solid ACT case conceptualization to clinically relevant behaviors.
In this session, a seasoned ACT therapist with extensive supervision experience talked about common ACT blind spots
 and common misunderstandings observed in supervisees’ ACT work.  We discussed these concerns and offered a variety of possible ways of moving forward when therapists find themselves stuck. Part of the session was devoted to question and answer, so as to give opportunity for attendees to bring up specific dilemmas. 
About the Speaker:
From across the pond, we were proud to host Martin Brock, MSc, a peer-reviewed ACT trainer. He has over 35 years of experience and has trained clinically in CBT, ACT, CFT, MBCT, and EMDR. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK, and is a recognized ACT trainer who has regularly delivered ACT workshops in the US, Europe, and Australia.

Martin is Chair of the ACBS Membership Committee, Past President of the ACBS UK Chapter, and sits on the ACBS Evolution Science and Compassion Focused Special Interest Group.


Yosef Gurevitch, LCSW
October 17, 2013
"Timing is Everything: An Exploration of
When to Facilitate Acceptance"

NYC-ACBS Co-Founder, Yosef Gurevitch, LCSW,  guided the group through the fine points of deciding just when and how to introduce acceptance in a session with clients experiencing difficult realities. Through a simulation with a volunteer client, Yosef demonstrated optimal times for such an intervention to be most effective. Debriefing with the client, discussion and questions and answers followed. 
About the Speaker:
Yosef Gurevitch is Director of the NY/NJ Center for Mindfulness, where he facilitates Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills building, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs for the general public; and Mindfulness-Based trainings and workshops for professionals. He is Co-founder and Past President of NYC-ACBS.
 He maintains a private practice in Monsey, New York and Lakewood, New Jersey.

Mark Sisti, PhD
August 15, 2013
"Acceptance Processes and the Therapeutic Agreement"

This month's presentation involved posted study materials, including an optional reading on experiential avoidance.  Four documents studied and discussed were: "Acceptance Agreement Exercise," "Acceptance Interventions," "ACT Hexaflex," and "Experiential Avoidance."
About the Speaker:

Mark Sisti, PhD is the Founder and Director of Suffolk Cognitive-Behavioral (SCB) a group treatment & training center committed to "third generation" cognitive behavioral therapies. As Director of SCB he supervises and trains students and professionals in the New York metropolitan area.  He is also an Adjunct Clinical Supervisor at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University, and a Founding Fellow - Diplomate and Certified Trainer in The Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Currently, Mark serves as President of NYC-ACBS, and is the Chair of the ACBS Chapter and SIG Committee.


Dennis Tirch, PhD
June 20, 2013


About the Speaker:
Dennis Tirch, PhD is the Founder and Director of The Center for Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy, Diplomate and Fellow of The Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and the Associate Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (AICT) in Manhattan.  He currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, and previously served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Albert Einstein Medical School, and as an instructor to psychiatric residents at New York Medical College.  Dr. Tirch regularly conducts Compassion Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and CBT training workshops for healthcare professionals in the New York area.  He is a prolific writer, who has authored several books including The Compassionate Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety. His most recent work is The ACT Practitioner’s Guide to the Science of Compassion (New Harbinger) with Benjamin Schoendorff, MA, MS and Laura Silberstein, PsyD. Dr. Tirch is Co-Founder and Past President of NYC-ACBS, he was a Founding Participant in an ACT Peer Consultation Group for New York City and Environs (ACTNYCE), and currently serves as Chair of the ACBS Communications and Publications Committee. 












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