Workshop: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Children, Adolescents, and Parents with Dr. Chris McCurry

Dr. Chris McCurry

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Dr. Chris McCurry for a workshop for Behavior Analysts!


This workshop describes and demonstrates techniques for engaging children, adolescents, and parents in ACT work. We survey the current literature on ACT with these clients.

Assessment strategies that are consistent with ACT theory and treatment objectives are demonstrated and then practiced through small group exercises (e.g., Functional Analysis, the Matrix). We compare and contrast ACT case conceptualization with other treatment models, such as CBT.

The central therapeutic goal in ACT is Psychological Flexibility; “The ability to navigate challenging situations effectively, even in the presence of difficult thoughts and feelings.”  We demonstrate and practice various ACT metaphors, mindfulness and commitment exercises that can encourage psychological flexibility.

We describe a three-stage ACT-based model that can help young people and parents employ the six ACT therapeutic processes. The goal is to then get unstuck from habitual and ineffective reactions and to orient and take action toward pursuing valued individual and family goals.

We look at the benefits of psychoeducation for parents; teaching important aspects of child bio-psycho-social development as they relate to psychological inflexibility and subsequent behavior concerns.

Taking a “child in context” approach, we demonstrate techniques for helping parents identify maladaptive behavior patterns or “dances” between themselves and their child or adolescent. We discuss engaging the parents as “co-clinicians” by giving them strategies for turning challenging situations into teaching and skill building opportunities in the important contexts of home and community.

In the service of increasing parent psychological flexibility, effectiveness, and well-being, we describe the benefits of helping parents notice their own private events in challenging situations and to then engage the ACT processes themselves (parent as “co-client”). Finally, we discuss the importance of parent resilience.

A bibliography and informational handouts for parents are provided.

About the Presenter

Chris McCurry, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Seattle, Washington. He specializes in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders. Chris received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he had the privilege of studying with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy cofounder Steve Hayes, in the early days of ACT. He is the author of two books, one for parents and one for clinicians; Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance (2009) from New Harbinger Publications, and Working with Parents of Anxious Children: Therapeutic Strategies for Encouraging Communication, Coping & Change (2015) from W.W. Norton. Along with coauthors Sheri Turrell and Mary Bell, Chris saw the publication of ACT for Teen Anxiety, from New Harbinger, in 2018.

Learning Objectives

Participants at this event will:

  1. Discuss the relevant research informing ACT practice with this population.
  2. Describe the origins of psychological inflexibility in early child bio-psycho-social development and how development, or lack thereof, manifests in later behavioral tendencies.
  3. Describe the benefits of, and techniques for, teaching parents important aspects of child bio-psycho-social development as they relate to psychological inflexibility and subsequent behavior concerns.
  4. Describe strategies for conducting an ACT-based assessment and case formulation that partners with clients to increase their own awareness of how their struggles are constructed and maintained.
  5. Describe ACT strategies, metaphors, and exercises for helping children and adolescents use the ACT processes to increase mindful awareness of private events, decrease the struggle with difficult thoughts and feelings, and orient toward valued goals.
  6. Describe the three-stage ACT-based model for helping child, adolescent, and parent clients increase mindful awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and propensities, get unstuck from habitual and ineffective reactions, and orient toward valued goals.
  7. Describe how to engage parents as Co-Clinicians: helping parents teach and encourage the child or adolescent’s use of the six core ACT processes in the contexts of home and community.
  8. Describe how to respectfully engage parents as Co-Clients; helping them use the six core ACT processes to increase their own psychological flexibility, and parenting effectiveness, in challenging situations.


CEU’s included, and Cost to Attend:

  • Recording plus CEU’s: $199.99
    • 7.0 CEU’s

For questions, challenges with registration, or any other needed information, please contact Dusty, Director of Continuing Education and ACE Coordinator for CBPI, LLC, at continuingeducation@connections-behavior.com.

Connections Behavior Planning & Intervention, LLC, is a BACB-Approved ACE Provider (Provider # OP-17-2781). The BACB does not directly sponsor or endorse this event, its speakers, or its content.



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