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Deepening Emotional and Relational Experiencing in ACT

  • 19 May 2023
  • 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Fort Mason, San Francisco


  • Register by May 5. 2023
  • Register May 6 - May 19
  • Register by May 5. 2023
  • Register May 6 - May 19
  • No early registration rate

Registration is closed

SFACBS welcomes you to an exciting in person workshop: 

Deepening Emotional and

Relational Experiencing in ACT

Friday May 19, 2023

8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Instructors: Victoria Lemle Beckner Ph.D., Kelly Werner Ph.D.

and Viveka Ramel Ph.D.

2 Marina Blvd (Fort Mason), Bldg. C Room C205

San Francisco, CA 94123

Description of the Workshop:

ACT as a behavioral approach is centered on effective, value-driven behavior. If difficult emotions arise, clients are encouraged to mindfully “let them on the bus” rather than resist, avoid or act them out. But interventions that privilege emotions and enhanced relational integration have the potential to do far more than simply address experiential avoidance. As ACT practitioners who also draw on efficacious emotion-focused and attachment approaches, we see emotion as signaling something important to be deepened, explored, and experienced together, with ever increasing relational attunement. Learning to do this skillfully can expand therapists’ and clients’ emotional and relational repertoire. This includes building flexible, compassionate awareness (self-as-context), deepening acceptance, and accessing a felt–sense of values and vitality from the bottom-up.

Participants in this workshop will learn to identify choice points for deepening affective experiencing, and how to facilitate mindfully dropping into and exploring the complexity and meaning of clients’ pain. This involves helping clients distill primary emotions from the fused soup of secondary reactions, thoughts and protective moves. Participants will also learn how to highlight and use the relationship (between therapist and client, between a couple, and between the self and parts) to create safety and and enhance emotional resonance, connection, authenticity, and healing. These skills will be taught using therapy video clips of individual and couples therapy with captions highlighting the processes, followed by group discussion and practice periods. The video and discussion will include both effective technique as well as instances where the therapist is struggling, providing participants an opportunity to collectively explore options in these harder, uncertain and multi-choice therapy moments.  

CE Information:

5 CEs for Psychologists and California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs and LCSWs 

The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences has designated approval agencies, such as the American Psychological Association. Providers who have APA approval can offer CE Certificates to BBS Licensees (LCSW, MFT and LPCC) and those CEs can be used for license renewal.

Professionals licensed in other states should check their respective CE requirements.

Educational Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

1.     Discuss the theoretical foundations and empirical support for using emotion-focus interventions in psychotherapy

2.     Discuss the theoretical rationale for highlighting relational experiencing in psychotherapy

3.     Describe how affective and relational interventions facilitate the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) processes of self-as-context, present-moment focus, acceptance, and experiential expression of values

4.     Identify primary emotions as target for acceptance, and distinguish from secondary emotions related to avoidance

5.     Apply 3 emotion-focus interventions that facilitate ACT processes

6.     Apply 3 relational interventions (between therapist-client, couple, or internally) that facilitate ACT processes


Victoria Lemle Beckner Ph.D. (in person)

Dr. Victoria Lemle Beckner is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, and a partner with the San Francisco Group for Evidence-Based Psychotherapy. She obtained her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialty in anxiety disorders and the neurobiology of stress and memory, and completed her 3-year research fellowship at UCSF. She is co-author of the book "Conquering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." In her clinical practice, Dr. Beckner integrates contextual behavioral, emotion-focused and relational models; she is passionate about how to integrate and effectively harness common processes of change across approaches, and explores this in her clinical work, teaching and professional trainings. She works to help clients deeply access emotion to process painful experiences and yearnings in a relational context, in order to encourage more flexible, authentic, value-driven behavior and the transformative experiences that follow. Dr. Beckner is a past-present of the San Francisco Bay Area ACBS chapter; she recently helped form the ACBS Climate Justice and Action SIG and is active on the board. She stretches herself to live a rock-and-roll dream, bravely playing drums in a cover band.

Kelly Werner, PhD (in person)

Kelly Werner, Ph.D. loves guiding people to live from the equanimity and core strength at the depth of themselves. In her work with individual clients and her ongoing group “Wise Inside,” she helps participants to fully access this inner resource which is referred to as Self-as-Context in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Self-Energy in Internal Family Systems Therapy. As a global workshop facilitator with the United Nations (Peace on Purpose) and with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (a mindfulness based emotional intelligence program founded at Google), she teaches evidence-based practices for inner resilience and balance. Dr. Werner is a founding member and past president of the San Francisco Bay Area ACBS chapter, and has developed an authentic conversation game, “Tell Me,” for personal and professional use. She has trained therapists to do Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and workshop facilitators to lead meditations and teach about emotional intelligence and science in a corporate environment. She has developed curricula for both teacher trainings and online applications like Insight Timer. Her therapy, program development and teaching are informed by her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and her research postdoc at Stanford in clinical affective neuroscience. Dr. Werner loves attuning to other's inner worlds, and hopes that by fostering peace within individuals, there will be more balance in the outer world.

Viveka Ramel Ph.D. (joining online)

Viveka Ramel is a co-founder of the San Francisco Center for Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and a founder of Sevitar, two psychotherapy and psychological consulting and education practices in San Francisco. She is also an instructor at the Psychology Department at Lund University, Sweden, where she is currently co-teaching a novel course on climate psychology integrating contextual behavioral science, Prosocial and ACT processes at a system scale. She obtained her doctorate degree in clinical psychology with specialties in experimental research and neuropsychology from the Joint Doctoral Program at University of California San Diego and San Diego State University. This was followed by three years of postdoctoral applied affective neuroscience research at Stanford University. Viveka centers her clinical orientation on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT). The last decade, Viveka has focused her development and learning as a clinician on emotion-focused approaches, primarily EFT, and expanded her practice to meet the relational needs of couples, families, and professional relationships. She recently taught a class on emotion-focused and relational deepening for clinical psychology graduate students. Viveka has also taught mindfulness based emotional intelligence and resilience programs to organizations (e.g., via the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a program founded at Google), is trained as a Prosocial facilitator, and is active in the ACBS Climate Justice and Action SIG. Regardless of the facet of work, Viveka is committed to deep inquiry, experiential connection, and functional contextual awareness to cultivate authentic presence, psychological flexibility, and relational attunement. 

Intended Audience:

This workshop is suitable for all postgraduate professionals, including psychologists, counselors, social workers, etc. A working knowledge of ACT will be useful but not necessary. 


Professional Member early - By May 5 $150
Professional Member regular $190
Professional Nonmember early - By May 5    $170
Professional Nonmember regular $210
Student/Intern Member or Non Member $  80

CE Fee (selected and charged at checkout) $  25

Join our Chapter ! (membership in the international ACBS organization also required)


Included in the training fees:

5 hours of  instruction


Workshop Schedule (Updated 5/14/23):

8:30 – 9:00  Arrive and sign-in (No CE’s)

9 – 9:45   Didactic overview: ACT model, emotion-focused & relational approaches, closer look at emotion in the relational context, clinical skills

9:45 –10:30   Therapy video: Deepening & validating primary affect while making the relational context explicit in individual therapy (Victoria)

10:30 –10:45  BREAK (No CE’s)

10:45—11:05  Role-play practice & discussion

11:05—11:50  Couples therapy video: Staying & unpacking emotional experience and bringing in partner witnessing / empathy (Viveka)

11:50—12:15  Exercise & discussion

12:15—1:00  LUNCH (No CE’s)

1:00—1:45  Therapy video: Deepening acceptance from self-as-context and internal relational work in individual therapy (Kelly)

1:45—2:05  Exercise & discussion

2:05—3:00  Integration & discussion


All three instructors will receive a fee for teaching this workshop

The costs of this workshop are completely supported by participant fees

Refund Policy
If you cancel your registration:
21 or more days before the date of the event, we’ll refund all of your registration fee or give you credit to a future event;
20 to 7 days before the event, we’ll refund 75% of your fee;
Fewer than 7 days before an event, we’ll refund 50% of your fee.
If you don’t cancel before the event begins, we can’t refund your fees, but we’ll give you a credit toward a future event in the amount of 50% of your registration fee. If we cancel an event for any reason, of course, we’ll refund all of your registration fees. Continuing-education certification fees can be refunded until the day before the event. They become non-refundable on the first day of the event. Continuing-education certification purchased at an event is non-refundable.

If you have any questions about the event please contact Michael Vurek at 

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