At the core of psychotherapy is a relationship between two people. It is through an authentic connection that transformative change can occur. However, authenticity requires vulnerability and trust. And this is risky. Clients are understandably fearful of rejection, shame, and invalidation, and more so when the therapist is seen as lacking the capacity to understand or likely to challenge a self-disclosure that is core to one’s experience. Authenticity can also feel threatening to therapists, who may opt to hide instead behind their expertise, credentials and a focus on client symptoms.
This workshop introduces Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) as a therapeutic model for establishing “intense and curative relationships” through authenticity (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991). In FAP, the therapist-client relationship is the explicit agent of change. Behaviors are then shaped through mindful, in-the-moment attention to “clinically relevant behaviors” and the use of interpersonal reinforcers. Trainers Miranda Morris and Holly Yates will introduce workshop participants to ways to identify “clinically relevant behaviors” in both self and client, enhance rapport through a process of reciprocal exchanges of vulnerability and responsiveness, and evoke and reinforce more adaptive behaviors in session through interpersonal reinforcers such as empathy, statements of caring, and self-disclosure.
FAP also creates opportunities for immediate practice of courageous behavior in the context of a caring relationship. Research has shown FAP’s positive effect on therapeutic relationship across difference. In interracial dyads, FAP has facilitated the recognition and acceptance of anxieties in the moment, while supporting positive actions in the service of anti-racist values—thus resulting in deeper connections and fewer microaggressions.
While FAP is an effective therapeutic modality on its own, practitioners can integrate its lessons, regardless of their therapeutic approach.
Miranda Morris, PhD is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethesda, MD. She conducts regular workshops in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and related therapies including FAP and RFT. She is a Peer Reviewed ACT Trainer. Miranda treats a broad range of difficulties including anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship problems, and pervasive difficulties often referred to as “personality disorders”. She is President Elect of the Board of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) and is an active member of the Mid Atlantic Chapter of ACBS Chapter and their ACT Carolinas affiliate.
Holly Yates MS, LPC, Certified FAP Trainer, has been in private practice in North Carolina since 2004. Her specialty areas are working with adults both individually and in groups as well as couples addressing depression, anxiety, mood disorders and life stressors through clinical intervention and skills training. Holly’s practice centers on third wave therapies most specifically Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She is a founding facilitator of the online ACT Peer Intervision Network sponsored through ACBS and a Certified FAP Trainer through University of Washington. Holly received supervision from Mavis Tsai, Ph.D., Robert Kohlenberg, PhD. (developers of FAP) and Gareth Holman PhD., in attaining her FAP certification and remains under their mentorship. She is currently under the mentorship and supervision of Matthieu Villatte, PhD. as she moves toward ACT Peer Review Trainer. Holly presents FAP and ACT workshops and trainings locally and around the country. Holly is Co-founder of North Wake Counseling Partners in Raleigh NC.
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- Williams, M. T., Kanter, J. W., Peña, A., Ching, T. H. W., & Oshin, L. (2020). Reducing microaggressions and promoting interracial connection: The racial harmony workshop. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 16, 153-161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2020.04.008