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Mon 12 Sep

FULLY BOOKED Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

9.30am -4.30pm


This course is closed for applications. Due to the volume of applications received only successful applicants will be contacted

Successful applicants will receive an email the week of 15th August to arrange payment of €100 deposit refundable on full completion of the two day course. 


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Training for clients with hoarding disorder and/or self-neglect behaviours. This two day training will take place on 12th September and 17th October from 9.30am - 4.30pm. 

The course has been funded by the HSCP Office, HSE. As such, places are available to social workers in the publicly funded healthcare service only. 

Trainer Bio

Aisling Leonard-Curtin, M.Sc. Coun. Psych., C. Psychol., Ps.S.I.

Aisling Leonard‐Curtin is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist, peer-reviewed acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer, functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) trainer, and polyvagal theory consultant. She has experience working across a variety of settings including organisational, psychiatry, addictions, psycho-oncology, community, public, and educational settings.

Aisling teaches on multiple university courses at Masters and Doctorate level and regularly delivers ACT workshops internationally. Aisling is a published author, most recently co‐authoring The Power of Small published by Hachette Ireland, a number one bestseller in Ireland, which has been translated into four languages and released in North America by St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan. Aisling’s first book, an edited volume co-edited by Matthew Skinta, Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities was published by New Harbinger. Aisling regularly contributes to the media on how to make small but powerful changes when everything feels too much.  She has been featured in multiple media outlets including the Irish Times, The Today Show, and Psychology Today.

Aisling is keen to bring this transformative approach out to as many people as possible.

About this Workshop

A 2-day training delivered via Zoom: One-day comprehensive introduction to ACT from a polyvagal theory perspective followed by a one-day masterclass on using polyvagal-informed ACT to support clients with hoarding disorder and self-neglect. This training will be guided by three core values, namely meaning/purpose, workability, and competency, with an emphasis on experiential learning, interaction, and engagement (including role-plays/real-plays with feedback from therapist and ‘client’).

ACT is a third-wave psychological intervention that blends acceptance and mindfulness strategies with commitment and behaviour change techniques to increase psychological flexibility. With over 800 Randomized Controlled Trials supporting its efficacy and effectiveness across a range of contexts, populations, and client presentations, ACT aims to help us move toward what matters most while practicing acceptance of what is outside our control.

Polyvagal theory is a new approach to understanding our autonomic nervous system that suggests we experience three distinct, predictable states; dorsal vagal (flop and drop), sympathetic (flight-or-flight) and ventral vagal (safe and connected). Polyvagal-informed ACT blends psychological flexibility processes with this acute understanding of our nervous system and neural pathways for health, growth, and restoration, while also recognizing our cues of safety and danger.

Hoarding disorder is characterised by persistent difficulty discarding or parting with belongings regardless of their monetary value due to a desire to avoid the emotional and physiological distress associated with discarding. Given that ACT is an acceptance-based approach that enhances psychological flexibility, it has the potential to enact meaningful change for individuals with hoarding disorder. In line with this, recent research has shown that ACT can beneficially impact clients with hoarding disorder, successfully reducing clutter and increasing sustained commitment to both self-care and valued action (Ong, 2018).

Through this workshop, attendees will learn how to harness polyvagal-informed ACT and support clients with hoarding disorder and self-neglect, facilitating psychological flexibility and discarding through gradual incremental steps.


Dates: 12-Sep and 17-Oct 2022

Start time: 9.30 am

End Time: 4.30 pm


Learning Outcomes

Day One: Comprehensive introduction to ACT from a polyvagal theory perspective

  • Provide an overview of the ACT model and its core components
  • Learn how to help move from a place of psychological inflexibility (being disconnected, closed and disengaged) to a place of psychological flexibility (being connected, open and engaged)
  • Learn about how our autonomic nervous systems respond to uncertainty, threat, and danger, and how to bring more cues of safety into our lives
  • Identify your toward and away moves when in the three autonomic states of dorsal vagal (flop and drop), sympathetic (flight-or-flight), and ventral vagal (safe and connected)
  • Utilise the adapted Life Path with yourself and clients. The adapted Life Path allows you and your clients to identify moves that bring you closer toward and further away from who and where you want to be, recognizing the costs and benefits of both, to find a sustainable path forward for positive change.


Day Two: Masterclass on using polyvagal-informed ACT to support clients with hoarding disorder and self-neglect

  • Construct ACT-consistent case conceptualizations of hoarding and self-neglect
  • Assess when and how clients’ psychological inflexibility and experiences of being hijacked by the autonomic survival states of sympathetic (fight or flight) and dorsal vagal (flop and drop) can contribute to hoarding behaviours and self-neglect
  • Polyvagal-informed ACT will provide a tool kit outside the practical elements of social work to enhance client’s psychological flexibility to enact meaningful change for clients with hoarding and/or self-neglecting behaviours

The IASW Special Interest Group for Social Workers working with Aging and Older Persons (SIGA) advocated for funding for training to support Social Workers working with adults experiencing self-neglect and hoarding. Referrals for self-neglect and hoarding are increasing annually to Social Work services. SIGA recognises the impact of these behaviours on both the individual and  the Social Worker providing a supportive service as intervention requires a significant level of support and resources. SIGA members wish to promote this issue and provide Social Workers with skills with ACT to support clients in these often complex cases.  ACT is a therapy that participants can use in a number of other areas of their work and own self care, however SIGA have requested a focus on Self Neglect and hoarding for purpose of this training.