ACT for Trauma: PTSD and Beyond

Earn 8.25 CE/CMEs - Care for Clients with Trauma Issues Without Exposure Treatment

Do you have clients with trauma-related issues?

Would you like to offer them an option for treatment that does not necessarily involve exposure?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is just what you need to know about that would suit these wary-of-exposure clients.

We are very happy to offer our new course: "ACT for Trauma: PTSD and Beyond”.

This course is 8:15 solid hours of an ACT expert explaining, in an easy-to-learn format, the essentials of how to care for clients with trauma-related issues and PTSD.

And not only that, since working with trauma clients is so emotionally demanding, we also offer a section that addresses therapist self-care.

This course offers multiple ways to learn ACT for PTSD:  You can watch the course videos, read the transcripts, or listen to the audio recordings.

Don’t worry, we use microlearning principles so all this information is easily digestible for clinicians with little time.

This course offers up to 8.25 CE/CME credits.

ACT for PTSD - A Validated Alternative to Exposure Treatments

In this online course, you can learn at your own pace, we have divided each module into several video sections, which are short and to the point.

You can easily choose which video section you are interested in watching. You can also listen to the audio version or download PDF transcripts.

Module 1 – The Basics of ACT for PTSD

In this first module, Dr. Sonja Batten introduces the key initial concepts of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for PTSD.


  1. ACT for PTSD: Key Initial Concepts
  2. The ACT Approach to Trauma and PTSD
  3. ACT for Trauma: Experiential Avoidance and PTSD
  4. ACT Treatment for Trauma
  5. ACT Treatment Targets for PTSD
  6. ACT for PTSD: Comorbidity, Childhood Trauma, and Skills Training
  7. The ACT Therapist and Trauma
  8. The Basics of ACT for PTSD: Summary

Module 1 duration: 1:05:48

Module 2 – ACT Session Overview and Values Clarification for PTSD

Dr. Batten presents the initial steps of ACT treatment for PTSD and summarizes the rationale and most important components of values clarification work for trauma.


  1. ACT for PTSD: Session Overview
  2. Values Clarification for PTSD: Rationale and Key Concepts
  3. Values Clarification for PTSD: Exercises and Metaphors
  4. Values Clarification for PTSD: Pliance, Priorities, and Pain
  5. Values Clarification: Assessment Questions
  6. Values Clarification Exercises in Between Sessions
  7. ACT for PTSD: Session Overview and Values Clarification

Module 2 duration: 00:47:55

Module 3 – Creative Hopelessness and Workable and Unworkable Control

Dr. Batten introduces control and avoidance as the problem. She shares metaphors and exercises to demonstrate the concept and how to address it with clients.


  1. Avoidance and Control in ACT: Moving Toward Psychological Flexibility
  2. Creative Hopelessness and PTSD: The Quicksand Metaphor
  3. Creative Hopelessness and PTSD: The Person in the Hole Metaphor
  4. Creative Hopelessness and PTSD: Giving the Struggle a Name
  5. Creative Hopelessness and Trauma: Difficulties with Unworkable Control
  6. Creative Hopelessness and PTSD: A Practical Exercise
  7. Creative Hopelessness and PTSD: Between-Session Homework Assignments
  8. The Essentials of Creative Hopelessness for PTSD

Module 3 duration: 00:43:37

Module 4 - Acceptance, Willingness, Thought Defusion, and Trauma

Dr. Batten describes acceptance, willingness, and defusion focused on trauma. Through exercises and metaphors, she explains how to work with patients and tackle the difficulties associated with PTSD.


  1. Introducing Acceptance and Willingness in ACT for PTSD
  2. Willingness vs Control in ACT Treatment for PTSD
  3. How to Practice Willingness and Acceptance in ACT for PTSD
  4. Defusion in ACT: How to Work With Trauma-Related Content
  5. Defusion and Trauma: Dos and Don’ts
  6. Defusion and Trauma: Exercises and Metaphors
  7. Defusion and Substance Use Problems: Exercises and Metaphors
  8. Defusion Skills and Trauma: How to Overcome Challenges
  9. Defusion Skills Homework and Self-Reflection Exercises
  10. Willingness, Acceptance, and Defusion Processes in ACT for PTSD

Module 4 duration: 01:11:55

Module 5 – Self-as-Context and Present Moment Awareness

In this module, Dr. Batten defines and describes self-as-context and present moment awareness. She discusses these concepts in relation to trauma and gives examples about how to apply them in exercises and metaphors with a sensitivity for trauma.


  1. ACT for PTSD: Present Moment Awareness and Self-as-Context
  2. Mindfulness in ACT for PTSD
  3. ACT for PTSD: How to Apply Mindfulness
  4. Breathing Mindfulness for PTSD: Tips
  5. Mindfulness Homework for PTSD: How to Do It
  6. Self-As-Context and PTSD: How Labels Reinforce Trauma
  7. Self-as-Context in Act for PTSD: How to Practice
  8. Act for PTSD: Self-as-Context Metaphors and Exercises
  9. Self-as-context Homework in ACT for PTSD
  10. Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness and Self-as-Context
  11. The Basics of Mindfulness and Self-as-Context for PTSD

Module 5 duration: 01:00:18

Module 6 – Revisiting Values, Committed Action Practice

Dr. Batten reviews the work on values and connects it to committed action. She relates the importance of values clarification to prepare for committed action by setting specific behavioral targets. She also gives examples of the skills necessary to make successful commitments and discusses the main obstacles.


  1. Values Clarification and Committed Actions in ACT for PTSD
  2. ACT for PTSD: Values Clarification Exercises
  3. ACT for PTSD: Choosing Committed Actions
  4. PTSD and Setting Targets for Committed Actions
  5. Exploring Goals Actions and Barriers in ACT for PTSD
  6. PTSD and Commitments: Obstacles
  7. Therapist Obstacles to Facilitating Committed Action with PTSD
  8. Committed Action and PTSD: Key Points

Module 6 duration: 01:01:48

Module 7 – Special Topics and Tips

Dr. Batten discusses special topics and tips for working with trauma survivors using ACT, going into detail about exposure treatment, self-identity, guilt, shame, and anger. She describes the military context and explains the co-occurrence of depression and suicidality with PTSD. She also provides tips for therapy termination with trauma survivors.


  1. ACT Components and Goals for Trauma Survivors
  2. Exposure Treatment: Approaching Traumatic Memories From an ACT Perspective
  3. ACT for PTSD: Consistent Invalidation, Self-Identity, and Self-As-Context
  4. Trauma, Guilt, and Shame From an ACT Perspective
  5. Coping With Anger in ACT for PTSD
  6. ACT for PTSD: Military Context and Overcontrol of Emotions
  7. Depression and Suicidality in ACT for PTSD
  8. ACT for PTSD: Therapy Termination
  9. ACT for PTSD: Special Topics and Tips for Working With Trauma Survivors

Module 7 duration: 01:02:32

Module 8 – ACT for Trauma: Overall Take-Home Messages

In Module 8, Dr. Batten summarizes the main ideas of acceptance-based interventions for trauma: psychological flexibility, core principles, case conceptualization, and sequencing interventions. She identifies how to acquire treatment skills and how to tackle therapist obstacles. She recognizes the importance of therapist self-care, ongoing development, and the therapeutic relationship.


  1. ACT for PTSD: Psychological Flexibility and Core Principles
  2. ACT-Inspired Case Conceptualization for Trauma
  3. Sequencing ACT Interventions for PTSD
  4. ACT for PTSD: Acquiring Treatment Skills
  5. ACT for PTSD: Therapist Obstacles
  6. Self-Care for Trauma Therapists
  7. ACT Training and Core Competencies for Trauma
  8. ACT for PTSD: The Therapeutic Relationship
  9. Acceptance-Based Interventions for Trauma-Related Health Conditions

Module 8 duration: 00:50:32

Module 9 – The ACT Therapeutic Stance

This module is a chapter of Dr. Batten’s book which describes in detail the ACT therapeutic relationship.


  1. The ACT Therapeutic Stance

Module 9 duration: 00:35:00

Sample Video: Using Exploratory Questions to Assess Values

Meet Your Instructor: Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D.

Batten Sonja
Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D.

Dr. Sonja Batten is Senior Psychological Health Advisor at Booz Allen and leads the firm’s Behavioral Health Community of Practice. Prior to joining Booz Allen, she worked in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the role of Deputy Chief Consultant for Specialty Mental Health. Her responsibilities included supervising the development of mental health policy related to women’s mental health, military sexual trauma, PTSD, suicide prevention, and substance use disorders, including collaboration with the Department of Defense. She also led VA’s innovative nationwide mental health public awareness campaign Make the Connection, which won more than 50 awards in 2 years, and spearheaded its complementary social media component.

Dr. Batten was the first Deputy Director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury and the first Associate Director for Women’s Health Research at Yale University. While leading the outpatient and residential PTSD programs for the VA Maryland Health Care System, she established its first mental health outreach and clinical program for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also a certified executive coach and Prosci change management practitioner.

Accreditation Information

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Medical Academy LLC and Psychotherapy Academy. Medical Academy LLC is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


Credit Designation
Medical Academy LLC designates this enduring material for a maximum of 8.25 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Download All Materials in Different Formats

Audio course

Learn trauma tips while doing other things like commuting, doing chores, or running errands.

All modules are available as an audio course.

PDF transcripts

"ACT for Trauma: PTSD and Beyond" offers transcripts and audios of all modules.

These PDF transcripts allow you to absorb course materials more quickly.

Video downloads

You can download all course videos for offline access.

You don't have to rely on having a stable internet connection.

Instant Access to "ACT for Trauma: PTSD and Beyond"

  • 8.25 CE/CME Credits
  • Immediate and lifetime access to all materials
  • Video downloads
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If for any reason you are not fully satisfied with the course, send us an email to and we will promptly issue a refund.