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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Institute

Handouts: AgendaHandout|  


April 26, 2019, 9:00am – 4:30pm Friday  

UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Auditorium, 325 Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599  Directions and Parking.


Continuing Education:
6 Hours

General: $190 | Early Bird $140 before March 8, 2019

** Current UNC-SSW students, staff and faculty**
General: $140 | Early Bird $90 before March 8, 2019


This workshop will draw from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), to enhance participants’ skills in helping clients to identify values and make values-based changes in their life. This will be applicable to clients and professionals alike, and regardless of one’s therapeutic orientation. Values work opens us up to living a vital, meaningful life. Living in accordance with values can transform difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations into experiences with purpose and meaning, often reducing psychological suffering. However, following a path of meaning and purpose is not always simple or easy. Additional challenges may arise, and questions such as “What is the purpose of my life?” and “How do I make decisions?” are difficult to answer, let alone share with others.

This workshop will help therapists to engage clients in the complex process of aligning with their core values, and how values work can inform every aspect of psychotherapy. Participants will learn about the 4-part process of valuing used in ACT: 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. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of values work as well as practical tools to facilitate values work, including metaphors, experiential exercises, and clinical worksheets.


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. Identify 4 steps in the process of valuing
2. Name and be able to implement at least 1 method to help clients in identifying their core values
3. Name and describe the 4 functions of behavior, from an ACT perspective
4. Evaluate the extent to which goals are in the service of values
5. Evaluate the inherent vitality in goals
6. Explain at least 1 principle of personal values exploration
7. Identify at least 2 strategies for using values work 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
  • Christie, A. M., Atkins, P. W. B., & Donald, J. N. (2017;2016;). The meaning and doing of mindfulness: The role of values in the link between mindfulness and well-being. Mindfulness, 8(2), 368-378. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0606-9
  • 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.