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Living with anxiety and uncertainty during the corona virus pandemic: Strategies to stay present to what matters

When: April 13, 2020 12-2pm, Monday

Registrants will receive an email with instructions and a link to ZOOM by the morning of the program.

Continuing Education: 2 Hours (details)


Register: Event Portal
Directions: Create or log into existing account. Select: Clinical Lecture Series. Follow prompts.


In these challenging times, heightened anxiety, increased uncertainty, and feeling overwhelmed with competing demands makes it even harder to live in the present and be connected to our values. In this brief webinar, Dr. Jennifer Plumb Vilardaga will draw from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help us practice ways to slow things down, be more in the present, and increase our openness to vitality available to us based on our value-guided actions. We will explore and deepen our connection to our core values, and plan for cultivating actions in line with them with creativity, given limited access to normal avenues of doing so. Openness to experience is fundamental to receiving rejuvenation and vitality from our value guided actions — so we will necessarily practice kind, self-compassionate, present-moment practices to help us stay present to what matters. These teachings simultaneously apply to our personal work during these challenging times as well as to our work with clients who are struggling.


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 completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Name and describe at least 2 ways that ACT represents a transdiagnostic intervention.
  2. Explain and be able to apply at least 1 practice that engages with personal values.
  3. Identify at least 2 strategies for incorporating mindful awareness and committed action.



    • 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
    • Faezipour, M., Ghanbaripanah, A., Seyedalinaghi, S., Hajiabodbaghi, M. & Voltarelli, F. (2018). Effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy on reducing depression among people living with HIV/AIDS. Journal of International Translational Medicine, 6(3), 125-129. doi:10.11910/2227-6394.2018.06.03.04
    • Fernandez-Rodriguez, C. (2019). Acceptance and commitment therapy in cancer: Review of applications and findings. Behavioral Medicine, 45(3), 255-269. doi:10.1080/08964289.2018.1452713
    • 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
    • Kelson, J., Rollin, A., Ridout, B., & Campbell, A. (2019). Internet-delivered acceptance and commitment therapy for anxiety treatment: Systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(1), e12530. doi:10.2196/12530
    • 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.