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Intermediate Level ACT Training

Monday 20th November - Tuesday 21st November 2017 at Stranmillis University College Belfast

Living with the Enemy: Helping people live fulfilling lives despite serious health problems

Serious physical health problems can take over a person’s existence; the daily struggle with the physical and psychological effects can take so much time and energy that it can feel as if the rest of life is ‘on hold’. They can become trapped in a war against their own illness, where every day is just about the battle, and it can seem impossible to find achievement and fulfillment in life if the health problem cannot be cured. Sometimes, they feel they’re just existing, not really living.

Many practitioners have already found that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can help people spot the ways of coping that haven’t been working for them, make sure that troubling thoughts and unwanted feelings don’t run their life, make sense of the changes in their circumstances, to make the most of today, and work towards a future that includes more of the things that matter to them, leading to a life with more meaning and fulfillment.

However, dealing with physical health problems in this way comes with its own challenges:

  • the range of presentations, consequences and trajectories of different illnesses
  • the prevalence of denial, hopelessness, helplessness and 'loss of sense of self' in these populations
  • dealing with complex family, social and healthcare systems
  • the effect of carers on living with illness, and the impact of being a carer (e.g. burden, guilt and grief)
  • how our own fears and frustrations can get in the way of helping people
  • bringing about behaviour change in people who feel 'stuck'
  • working alongside, and through, other care professionals

This two-day intermediate training will help you recognise, understand and respond effectively to these and other difficulties, giving you new tools and approaches for helping your clients and their carers to have a meaningful existence in the presence of their health problem – to ‘Live with the Enemy’. It is aimed at practitioners who are already familiar with the core processes of ACT, and preferably have some experience of applying them in a physical health context.

Dr Ray Owen - Facilitator

Dr Ray Owen is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist with over 20 years’ experience of working in Physical Health settings within the NHS, especially Cancer and Palliative Care. He has substantial experience of teaching and practice in a wide range of contexts, both within the Health Service and on a freelance basis. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an accredited facilitator in the national Advanced Communication Skills Programme for senior cancer practitioners.

He has taught extensively on ACT in physical health, and is the author of two successful self-help books published by Routledge – ‘Facing the Storm (2011)’ and ‘Living with the Enemy (2014)’, both of which were shortlisted for the BMA Popular Medicine Book of the Year Award.

Registration fees can be found on the booking form. If you have any queries please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224506.


Stranmillis University College Belfast

Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5DY •  Website•  Directions

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