The Contextual Behavior Therapy Fellowship Program aims to provide mental health professionals who have begun to work with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy with a forum for ongoing consultation.  The program provides participants with opportunities in which they can further expand their grasp of third-wave behavioral approaches to facilitate meaningful change within a radically accepting therapist-client partnership.  Each seminar will invite you to ponder your personal aspirations as a therapist and gently face the various barriers that limit or even thwart your efforts to be fully present and responsive to persons engaged in a painful struggle to identify and create meaning in their life.  To that end, you will be invited to explore the clinical applications of a contextual behavioral perspective and the specific practices of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  

Contextual Behavior Therapy Fellowship ProgramYou will be invited to examine your personal reactions in work with clients as a means of enhancing your experiential knowledge of this perspective.  In doing so, you will further develop the clinical “eyes” and “ears” necessary to promote the meaningful life many clients seek.

The course of study will begin with an introduction of a third wave application of basic behavior principles to the moment-to-moment interaction between client and therapist. Thereafter, in order to be sensitive to your particular interests and needs, participants will have the option of working through the topics outlined or focus on one or two modes of therapy (i.e., Dialectical Behavior Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The topics of study will include:

  1. Basic Behavioral Principles
    1. Respondent Conditioning
    2. Operant Conditioning
  2. Application of Basic Behavioral Principles therapist-client moment-to-moment interaction.
    1. Operant behavior as indicator of change-oriented interventions.
    2. Respondent behavior as indicator of acceptance-oriented interventions.
  3. Verbal Behavior
    1. Skinnerian
    2. Post Skinnerian (Relational Frame Theory)
  4. Functional Analytic Psychotherapy
    1. Therapist functions
    2. Clinically Relevant Behaviors (I, II, III)
    3. Five Principles
  5. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
    1. Skills (group)
    2. Individual Therapy
    3. Telephone Consultation
    4. Consultation Group
  6. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
    1. ACT perspective on “pathology.”
    2. Psychological Inflexibility/Flexibility
    3. Creative Hopelessness
    4. Six Core Processes
  7. Mindfulness-based Sobriety
  8. The Unified Protocol

The focus of sessions will alternate between lectures and case application.  Didactic sessions involve a combination of activities including lectures and discussion. Case application sessions include opportunities for participants to present cases, formulate targets of treatment, identify ways of intervening, and to participate in experiential exercises and real plays.

2017- 2018 SCHEDULE

Classes take place twice a month from September 2017-May 2018. All sessions will be held on Friday mornings from 9:00am-Noon at:

The University of Chicago
School of Social Service Administration:
969 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Specific dates for the fall 2017-spring 2018 program will be announced in April, 2017


Master’s degree in social work or related field required. 


Class size is limited. The application process requires:

• Completed application form

• Resume

• Brief personal statement (one to two pages) indicating your interest in this perspective and how you might integrate it in your practice

(Note: please detail your exposure to DBT, ACT, etc. in your resume or personal statement)

Submit your completed application, resume, and brief personal statement to the PDP office no later than July 1, 2017. Early applications are encouraged. Admissions decisions will be made by mid-July 2017.


Participants who complete the program will receive 45 CEUs.

The Professional Development Program at SSA is a State of Illinois licensed provider of continuing education for social workers, clinical psychologists, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. License numbers: 159.000140, 168.000115, and 268.000004.

PDP discounts cannot be applied to this program.


Paul Holmes
Nick Turner
Jancey Wickstrom


Professional Development Program
The University of Chicago
School of Social Service Administration
969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773) 702-1166
Fax: (773) 702-7222

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in the program should contact the Professional Development Program office at least two weeks in advance of the initial class for assistance. 

Alexandra Frenn, AM ’16

Alexandra Frenn, AM ’16

“Upon attending the admitted students event before committing to SSA, it was clear that I would be a part of a diverse, brilliant, rigorous, innovative, well-rounded, specialized community of individuals. I was inspired by SSA’s attention to career development and expansive options for their students.”