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Description: Living in accordance with values can transform difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations into experiences with purpose and meaning, often reducing psychological suffering. Following a path of meaning and purpose, however, is often difficult for many reasons. This workshop draws from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to enhance participants’ skills in helping clients to identify values and make values-based changes in their life. Participants will learn ACT’s 4-part process of identifying core values, attending to the function of behavior, choosing goals in the service of values, and evaluating the inherent vitality in those goals. Participants will also be invited to explore their own values as professionals and how they act in accordance with these values in therapy. In this interactive workshop, Dr. Plumb Vilardaga will provide feedback and techniques to increase the potency of each of these steps for your work with clients and yourself, using a combination of didactic presentation, experiential exercises, and practical tools, metaphors, and clinical worksheets.

Trainer: Jennifer Plumb Vilardaga is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She is a peer-reviewed ACT trainer and received her doctorate at the University of Nevada-Reno under the mentorship of Steven C. Hayes, co-founder of ACT. Prior to coming to Duke, she practiced and supervised students at the PTSD clinic at the Seattle VA, and supervised providers learning ACT in VA programs across the country. She has published widely on ACT and co-authored a book on the use of personal values work in ACT. Her current work at Duke involves ongoing research on ACT, mindfulness, CBT, cancer pain management, and coping with other medical issues. She has clinical expertise in chronic pain, substance use disorders, PTSD and trauma recovery, anxiety, depression, coping with illness, and adjusting to disability. She enjoys working with adults, college students, Veterans, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

Learning objectives:
At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

1. Name and describe at least 2 core strategies of ACT.
2. Explain at least 1 principle of personal values exploration.
3. Identify at least 2 strategies for incorporating values work into clinical care with clients.


  • Bramwell, K., & Richardson, T. (2018). Improvements in depression and mental health after acceptance and commitment therapy are related to changes in defusion and values-based action. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 48(1), 9-14. doi:10.1007/s10879-017-9367-6
  • Dindo, L., Van Liew, J. R., & Arch, J. J. (2017). Acceptance and commitment therapy: A transdiagnostic behavioral intervention for mental health and medical conditions.Neurotherapeutics, 14(3), 546-553. doi:10.1007/s13311-017-0521-3
  • Grumet, R., & Fitzpatrick, M. (2016). A case for integrating values clarification work into cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 26(1), 11-21. doi:10.1037/a0039633
  • Plumb, J., Dahl, J., Lundgren, T., Stewart, I. & Dahl, J. (2009). The art & science of valuing in psychotherapy Helping clients discover, explore, and commit to valued action using acceptance and commitment therapy. New York, NY: New Harbinger Publications.


Printable Handouts | Full-size slides

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Clinical Lecture Series

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