CBS LAMIC Online Conference

Welcome to the CBS LAMIC Online Conference. The conference will happen on 16th and 23rd of May 2022.

What is CBS? CBS stands for contextual behavioral science. CBS is a behaviorist approach to human suffering and flourishing that aims to research and promote ways in which people can deal with their human condition and find ways in which to thrive in their inner and outer environment. The main organization focused on generating interest in CBS is Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, which has its chapters in many parts of the world.

What are LAMIC? LAMIC stands for low and middle income countries as measured by the GNI per capita (keeping in mind that even within the „high income” bracket there is a huge discrepancy between the higher and lower income countries). All of the invited presenters are from low and middle income countries.

Stated values. The conference is organized as a way to embrace modern technology in such a way that

  • creates bridges between people from different parts of the world
  • helps to mitigate economic discrepancies and differences in opportunity related to financial inequality
  • gives researchers and mental health specialists from LAMIC countries space to create, express and share
  • generates fun, connection and a healthy dose of anxiety for the presenters

How do I attend the conference?

Registration and fee. In the name of accesibility the participation in the conference is free of charge. In the name of simplicity and as little bureaucracy as possible there is no registration required. Just click the link.

Accesibility. All of the lectures and workshops will be recorded and made available on here YouTube. You are very welcome to attend regardless where you connect from. There might be a limit of live participants, but if you can’t attend due to any reason then simply wait till the videos appear online.

Join the Facebook event.

Zoom participation link:

Recordings of lectures and workshops

The plan of the conference

Many thanks to the presenters who decided to take part in the event. All times are provided for now in Central European Summer Time (Warsaw etc., UTC/GMT+2).

Timezones. Please adjust to your own time zone when logging in. When you log in from South America, the sessions will be during your morning and noon. When you log in from Asia, the sessions will be during your afternoon and evening/night. When you log in from Australia, please make a very strong coffee.

16th May 2021

1205-1335 Mara Lins & Michaele Terena Saban-Bernauer – ACT for couple and family issues: digging pervasive behavior patterns

1335-1430 Maria Karekla – Digitalization of CBS: Opportunities for research and practice based on the new Task Force white paper recommendation for research

1430-1600 Manuela O’Connell – Embodying metaphors in ACT: How bodily experience can be a vehicle in ACT implementation

1600-1630 Hannah Bockarie – My her-story: A woman working to reclaim the world, beginning with one small nation (played from a recording)


1730-1830 Mônica ValentimSelf-as-context: experiencing a transcendent sense of self

1830-2000 Fabián Orlando Olaz – Back to the future: Clinical Behavior Analysis as an approach to understand and treat human suffering


23rd May 2021

0900-1030 Barbara Kossakowska Symptomatic but undiagnosed patient – an ACT approach

1030-1125 Jędrzej GrodniewiczWhat’s the difference between defusion and cognitive restructuring? On the philosophical underpinnings of „the second wave vs. the third wave” controversy.

1125-1255 Silvia Goliţă – ACT for Cancer Care

1255-1425 Stavroula SanidaStory Writing as an Evocative Tool in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy


The list will be gradually updated and then ordered chronologially once the full number of presenters is known and the final timetable is set.

Until then please take a peek what nice people have already agreed to make this conference happen.

Mara Lins (Brazil)

Psychologist. PhD in Clinical Psychology. Master in social psychology. Specialist in Couple and Family Therapy. Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT) training. Professor and Supervisor of post graduate courses. Director of the Faculty of CEFI (Center for Family and Individual Studies). Member of ACBS and past president of the Chapter of ACBS-Brazil. Book translator and author of book chapters on IBCT. Training in Contextual Behavioral Therapies, acting mainly on the following themes: Integrative Behavior Therapy for Couples, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Michaele Terena Saban-Bernauer (Brazil)

Master in Experimental Psychology and specialist in Behavior Analysis, professor and coordinator of the ACT course at Clinics Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo. Author of the book „Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”, and co-author of the book „Third Generation of Behavioral Therapies” and „The Treatment of Chemical Dependence and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies”. First president and co-founder of the Brazilian Association for Contextual Behavioral Science – ACBS Brasil, and is part of the founding board of the ACBS Foundation.

ACT for couple and family issues: digging pervasive behavior patterns

The family context is the environment that the person spends the first and usually several years of his/her life. In this context, behavioral learning occurs at different levels: modeling, shaping, through language and relationships that are learned repetitively in these contexts, in addition to genetic and epigenetic sensitivities and predispositions. Patterns of psychological inflexibility and experiential avoidance are often reproduced in these contexts across generations. In this workshop we propose experiential exercises to promote the observation of these generally pervasive patterns of experiential avoidance, promoting awareness, perspective taking and expanding the behavioral repertoire.


1) Develop clinical skills in the management of extensive patterns of behavior and understanding and analysis of the family context

2) Demonstrate the process defined by the deictic and hierarchical configuration involved in helping the client to interact with his behavior in a flexible way.

3) Implement exposure-based interventions adapted to an acceptance-based model in couple and family therapy



Conceptual analysis, experiential exercises, didactic presentation

Maria Karekla (Cyprus)

Maria Karekla, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, peer-reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy trainer, and Associate Professor, University of Cyprus. She is heading the “ACTHealthy: Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Medicine” laboratory. Her research (>90 scientific peer reviewed publications) received numerous local, European and international grants, and awards by (among others) the European Council and Pompidou’s group, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. She is currently the chair of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate committee, University of Cyprus. She is also the convenor of the European Federation of Psychology Associations’ Psychology and Health committee and a member of the e-health task force. She recently completed terms in chairing the Cyprus Bioethics Committee on Biomedical Research and being a member of the Cyprus Psychologist Licensing Board. She presently serves as president-elect of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, from where she received the status of “Fellow” in 2019. In 2021 she became a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, whereas in 2018 she was nominated as Cyprus “Woman of the Year: Academic/Researcher category.” Her first psychotherapeutic childrens’ story book was nominated in 2017 for the National Literary Awards in the category Children/Adolescents and also for her illustrations for the book. She is a TEDx speaker and she has been hosted and interviewed for her work by numerous podcasts, newspapers, TV and radio stations nationally and internationally.

Digitalization of CBS: Opportunities for research and practice based on the new Task Force white paper recommendation for research

Recently, the Task Force on the strategies and tactics of contextual behavioral science research released a white paper outlining that CBS research should be multilevel, process-based, multidimensional, prosocial, and pragmatic. This white paper outlines recommendations to maximize the impact of CBS as a field for a science “more adequate to the challenge of the human condition” (Hayes et al. 2021). Digital technologies offer opportunities for research and practice to encapsulate these recommendations and springboard CBS research and practice to the next level. This presentation will provide an overview of the possibilities offered by the digital medium, demonstrate what has been achieved already and propose next steps in research and practice.

Manuela O'Connell (Argentina)

 Lc. Manuela O’Connell. Peer reviewed ACT trainer and Fellow for ACBS. Certified Mindfulness Teacher. Professor at Universidad Favaloro. Trainer in different countries in South America. Author of Una Vida valiosa and ACT book for general public and collaborator in The heart of ACT.

Embodying metaphors in ACT: How bodily experience can be a vehicle in ACT implementation

Flexible behavioral repertoires occur when we learn to move from the conceptual world to the world of more direct experience. Sensations are the foundation, the place where we truly experience life. In this workshop we will explore how bodily experience can be used to promote flexible behaviors. We will present the development of body metaphors and we will learn how by intervening with them we can point to different ACT processes in a more embodied and inhabited experiential way. In this type of metaphors, the bodily experience is used as a vehicle to promote a greater behavioral repertoire and thus contribute to psychological flexibility. Attendees will experience different body metaphors consistent with ACT. We will also discuss the use of verbal cues in guiding these metaphors and what to keep in mind to develop new ones. We are going to mainly emphasize how to integrate the bodily experience with ACT in a contextual and functional way. The format of this workshop includes didactic presentations and various experiential exercises. 

Mônica Valentim (Brazil)

Mônica Valentim, PhD, is a Brazilian Peer-Reviewed ACT trainer. Over the past 20 years, Mônica has devoted herself to teaching Behavior Analysis. Since 2013, she has immersed herself in Contextual Behavioral Science and has trained many psychologists in Brazil.

Self-as-context: experiencing a transcendent sense of self

In Making Sense of Spirituality (Hayes, 1984), the development of a sense of self as a perspective and its disctintion from covert contents (e.g. private speech or emotions) was introduced as a way for promoting more effective behaviors. Helping someone to tact such a non-tangible sense of self requires the use of metaphors and exercises to be effective. This talk will cover how Greek Philoshophy and Buddhism could contribute to build self-as-context.

Fabián Orlando Olaz (Argentina)

Philosophical Doctor. ACBS Peer Reviewed ACT Trainer. Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Certified Trainer (FAP)-University of Washington, Seattle. Two months Post Doctoral Internship in the Experimental And Applied Analysis of Behavior Group (University of Almería, Spain) supervised by Carmen Luciano. Scholarsip Program “Becas de Movilidad Postdoctoral entre Universidades Andaluzas e Iberoamericanas 2017. Professor in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapies, Researcher and Director of the Interpersonal Behavior Laboratory in the Faculty of Psychology, National University of Córdoba. Affilliated Scientist to the Center of Social Connection, University of Washington, under supervision of Jonathan Kanter, Phd. ACT, FAP and DBT psychotherapist, he is a well known trainer who has led workshops and courses in Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, Puerto Rico, Brazil, México, EEUU, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Germany. In the clinical area he is specialized in working with clients with severe interpersonal problems. He is clinical supervisor and president of the CIPCO Foundation in Córdoba, Argentina. Curently, he is the President of the ACBS Argentiniean chapter and the representative for Argentina of the Iberoamerican Psychological Association of Clinical and Health. He wrote books, book chapters and articles about ACT, FAP, psychological assessment and social skills training

Back to the future: Clinical Behavior Analysis as an approach to understand and treat human suffering

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and other of the so called “Third generation therapies” have become therapeutic approaches increasingly used around the world, with growing evidence about their efficacy. Although from its origins many of these approaches have been based on functional analysis of behavior, it is evident that in recent years this vision has been lost giving rise to a conceptualization approach based on middle level terms. While this has increased the scope of these models allowing people without training in Behavior Analysis could access its learning and implementation, this has resulted in the loss of precision and a gradual departure from its behavioral roots. Therefore, in this conference I will address some of the basic principles and contributions of Clinical Behavior Analysis, an approach that has been defined as the application of assumptions, principles and current methods of functional and contextual analysis to clinical problems (Kohlenberg, Tsai & Dougher, 1993). I will present how coming back to behavioral roots can contribute in our clinical work, increasing precision and focus in the here and now of clinical interactions. Finally, I will review some of core strategies that should guide the work of any practitioner that embrace this point of view.

Hannah Bockarie (Sierra Leone)

Hannah Bockarie Founder and Country Director commit and act foundation Sierra Leone.

Hannah Bockarie is a Sierra Leonan teacher, educated at Makeni Teachers College and has earned a BA in Social work. Hannah is also a trained psychosocial counselor, certified by the International Rescue Committee and Medecins Sans Frontieres Belgium, Sierra Leone. Hannah is The Founder and Country Director of commit and act foundation Sierra Leone.

In her previous role as social worker, she has led a shelter for girls who experienced violence for the international youth charity Don Bosco, Freetown. She is a very experienced caregiver and engaged in the education and supervision of her colleagues. Hannah brings expertise in representing different mental health programs in her country and has been consulted by the WHO on mental health efforts in the region.

Hannah co-ordinates the activities of the organization, leading core staff. She organizes the training workshops, and leads clinical supervision for local therapists and psychosocial counsellors. In recognition of her courageous and successful work the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone declared Hannah the leader of the psychosocial aspect of Ebola prevention in Bo District and she also received series of awards as the best Psychosocial Counsellor.She also head the team in the fight against the Covid19 using the Prosocial approach in the three district in Sierra Leone ( Bombali , Tonkolili and Bo) this helps break the Covid 19 chain of transmission in the three district.

As a result of her hard work Commit and Act Foundation Sierra Leone has being expanded In two additional District Bombali and Tonkolili providing support to survivors of GBV and Anti Female Genital Mutilation.

Her work has created impact to over 178 thousand people in her country Sierra Leone.  

My her-story: A woman working to reclaim the world, beginning with one small nation

A nation with strikingly few women leaders, a country facing gender-based violence of pandemic proportions, Sierra Leone sits on the western edge of Africa. I am one of the few, an African woman leading an international NGO. During my formative years as a woman in social work in Sierra Leone, I had no female role models. I worked for years in social service organizations under men who didn’t understand the need we have in Africa to encourage women to speak and be heard. I wanted to dedicate myself to helping women who survived trauma during the civil war. Today I routinely approach powerful government ministers, church officials, and paramount chiefs. I organize women, teachers, and children into effective prosocial workgroups. I led through the Ebola crisis and later, opened a shelter for abused girls and pregnant teens. Currently, I lead national initiatives to combat COVID-19. In this talk, I will discuss the role I play as a woman leading an effort to reclaim the world starting in one small nation, and I will relate this to the struggles of all women internationally.

 Targeted Audience: Anyone interested in women’s leadership in CBS in developing nations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will identify four barriers to women in Sierra Leone related to poverty, violence, and government office
  2. Participants will evaluate six ways to enhance women’s leadership in developing nations

Barbara Kossakowska (Poland/Cyprus)

Barbara Anna Kossakowska, psychologist, lecturer, ACT therapist, vice-president of the Polish Chapter of Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Symptomatic but undiagnosed patient - an ACT approach

There is a quite big percentage of the patients/clients who come for the psychotherapy with many somatic symptoms and are not diagnosed yet. If they come for the psychotherapy at this moment some of them hear from the doctors that the symptoms are all in their heads. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a perfect therapy for those patients. The emphasis on noticing and just experiencing the body and mind will not cause the need in changing the experience or to change the interpretation of this experience.
Level of participants: intermediate or advanced ACT practitioners
The participants will take part in experiential exercises. They will explore their own response to people with somatic symptoms and the traps of the mind. The aim of the workshop is to identify their own responses to the patients having somatic symptoms and be an efficient ACT therapist.

Jędrzej Grodniewicz (Poland)

J.P. Grodniewicz, PhD, is a philosopher specializing in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and their intersection with epistemology. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Barcelona. He is a member of the LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy and BIAP (Barcelona Institute of Analytic Philosophy). His recent work focuses on the philosophy of psychology, especially, theoretical foundations of psychotherapeutic modalities. 

What’s the difference between defusion and cognitive restructuring? On the philosophical underpinnings of "the second wave vs. the third wave" controversy.

In this talk, I will analyze the differences between two methods of working with a client’s beliefs: cognitive restructuring (characteristic of the “classical” cognitive therapy), and defusion (characteristic of the so-called “third wave” therapies, especially, ACT). I will argue that the main difference between these two approaches lies in the answer to a philosophical question: what is the nature and organization of our beliefs? Hopefully, these theoretical considerations will bring practical benefits, helping therapists to make a conscious decision about combining, or not combining, these two methods in their therapeutic practice.

Stavroula Sanida (Greece)

Stavroula Sanida, M.Sc., earned her Master of Science degree in Mental Health and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from University of Athens in Greece. She is a certified trainer in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy by University of Washington, a certified therapist in Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist by the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies and a certified trainer by the Greek Committee of Continuing Education. She works in private practice in Athens, Greece, since 2006 and she applies ACT, CBT, DBT and FAP. Story writing for therapeutic purposes is a tool she also uses in therapy. She has presented Story Writing as an Evocative Tool in conferences and has led relative workshops. She has been awarded as a mentor by the European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs. Writing short stories, dancing tango and traveling are some of the activities that offer her passion.

Story Writing as an Evocative Tool in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) uses functional analysis to create meaningful therapeutic relationships by focusing on the subtle ways client\s’ interpersonal difficulties occur in the therapy session. FAP has five rules which can be summarized in a model using the mid-level terms awareness,  courage, and love, behaviorally defined. Writing a unique metaphor/story for clients is a creative way of implementing this model as it involves:

  1. awareness of a client’s history, strengths and target behaviors,
  2. courageous or evocative therapist behavior,
  3. loving behavior that shapes target behaviors and also motivates  clients to be more present in session and to interact in more connecting ways.

Through writing unique metaphors, a new context is created, where clients can form new perspectives and move in valued directions. 

Silvia Goliţă (Romania)

Silvia Goliță, MSc Ma, is a Romanian psychotherapist and clinical psychologist specialised in ACT and Schema Therapy. She is a founding member of the Romanian ACBS Chapter and an active and engaged member in her local ACT community. Silvia is also specialised in psycho-oncology and is currently conducting her PhD building and implementing an online ACT intervention for breast cancer patients. She is passionate about both working in individual therapy with clients and teaching ACT to larger groups of mental health professionals.

ACT for cancer care

The cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment affect all domains of the patient`s life. A high number of patient struggle to adjust and report problematic levels of distress at many points through diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. These patients face the challenge of not just dealing with physical symptoms but being able to live a rich and meaningful live even in the mist of fighting for one’s life.

A growing number of studies have shown that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), by increasing individual’s level of psychological flexibility, can more effective that other frameworks of psychological intervention for this population.

This 90-minute webinar is aimed at practitioners who support people diagnosed with cancer. It will briefly introduce the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy model as a way of making sense of and helping with, the challenges of living life well throughout the cancer trajectory. It will include:

  • The ideas behind the model
  • The evidence-base
  • The core ACT processes as applied to cancer care
  • Trying out some initial techniques that can be incorporated into your practice.

The webinar requires a minimal knowledge in ACT and is suitable for psycho-oncologists and psychologist working with cancer patients both in in-patient and out-patient settings.

See who promotes the conference