City, University of London’s ‘Centre for Psychological Wellbeing and Neuroscience’ (a partnership between City’s Psychology Department and Mind CHWF) held a one-day CPD event on 9th June 2017 for professionals interested in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to improve the psychological health and resilience of people in work.  Building on expertise in the Department of Psychology, and in particular the work of Dr Paul Flaxman, the day - which was in partnership with Mind CHWF, NHS partners and also Goldsmiths, University of London - featured panel discussions and also workshops for the participants to help educate people about the most effective methods for delivering ACT sessions.  This free one-day CPD event provided delegates with insight into how ACT is being adapted, delivered, and evaluated in various organisations.

Over 300 people attended the conference, including mental health practitioners, psychologists, employment advisers, coaches, psychotherapists, occupational health professionals, OD, HR, and learning and development specialists. The day included presentations from leading ACT practitioners and researchers: Dr. Paul Flaxman (City), Professor Frank Bond (Goldsmiths), Dr. Joe Oliver (Camden & Islington NHS), Dr Duncan Gillard (Bristol City Council), Dr. Louise Hankinson (Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust), Dr. Liz Tallentire (Lancashire and Bolton NHS Trusts), Ross McIntosh (City), Teresa Jennings (Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust), Hana Villar (Mind CHWF & City).
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a skills-based psychological intervention that uses a combination of acceptance and mindfulness strategies, along with strategies designed to help clients clarify personal values, and to use those values as an increasingly prominent guide to daily behaviour. ACT is increasingly being delivered in workplace settings to enhance employees’ psychological flexibility, personal resilience, and mental health.

The latest ACT protocol is based on psychological flexibility with three core processes, with four sessions of two hours. In terms of ‘mechanisms of change’, ACT and mindfulness work in similar ways, with Dr Flaxman highlighting that “ACT is a mindfulness intervention but you can also do ACT with no meditation”.

In particular the core processes are:
· Open – skilfully relating to the inner world
· Aware – present moment awareness
· Active – using values to guide action

Speaking about the day, Dr Flaxman said:
“It was great to welcome such a diverse range of people to City to not only share our ACT research, but also to explore the experiences and expertise of our attendees as well. ACT can be an incredibly power tool, and I hope people have learn more about the practice and its benefits in the workplace.”