Action-Packed CBT: More Walk, Less Talk

October 22, 2018 @ 9:00 am – October 23, 2018 @ 4:30 pm
Canad Inns Destination Centre, Polo Park (1405 St Matthews Ave)

October 22nd and 23rd from 9am-4:30pm

We know from educational research that lasting learning and change are more likely to result from active experience and doing than from talking alone. If we apply this idea to psychotherapy, we need to consider that talk therapy by itself is not always best therapy. The phrase, "action-packed CBT" describes a therapeutic approach that combines talk with active learning experiences embedded into each session. It is designed to make therapy more effective and to promote faster client change.

Similarly, this is an action-packed workshop. Christine A. Padesky, PhD demonstrates a variety of action methods that can enhance cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy. Like her other "Show Me" workshops, she structures her teaching around clinical demonstrations rather than lectures. For each segment of the workshop, she demonstrates particular methods so participating therapists can see exactly how Padesky conducts "action-packed" CBT. Structured exercises help therapists learn through experience how to implement action-oriented approaches. Thus, "More walk and less talk". Even so, there is ample time for questions, answers, and discussion to promote a more complete understanding of how to apply these approaches with diverse clients in a variety of settings.

Action methods demonstrated in this workshop include:

  • interactive writing/drawing
  • imagery
  • role playing
  • behavioral experiments conducted both in and outside the office to test out beliefs and try new behaviors

A brainstorming section in the afternoon of the second day helps therapists discover how a variety of creative methods can be derived from these basic actions. Padesky guides workshop participants to develop a model over the course of the two days to help decide when to employ action approaches, when listening and talk are the best interventions, and what types of action are best suited to particular therapy purposes and goals. By the end of the workshop, each participant has an opportunity to construct an individualized action plan for one of their own clients whose progress in therapy has stalled.


  • Describe two benefits of action-packed therapy
  • Recognize action opportunities within clinical interchanges
  • Plan three actions appropriate to use with current clients
  • Name two action methods that foster client engagement
  • Demonstrate one action approach that is likely to enhance learning
  • Identify two action methods that help promote change
  • Devise in and out of office behavioral experiments
  • Experience how collaborative writing increases client engagement
  • Link imagery with in vivo change efforts


  • Mental health professionals and graduate students in mental health fields
  • Non-CBT therapists will learn ways to incorporate action-oriented CBT practices into therapy
  • Beginning and intermediate CBT therapists will discover ways to transform treatment protocols into live action therapy
  • More advanced CBT therapists are encouraged to identify one or two clients with whom progress is slow and keep these clients in mind throughout the workshop.
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