DUMC Box 3842

Duke Clinics, 40 Duke Medicine Circle

3rd Floor, Purple Zone, Suite 3700
Durham, NC 27710
Tel: 919-681-7231

© 2014 by ACT at Duke 

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Phone: 919-681-7231



ACT at Duke is a program of professional training and clinical services in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and basic and applied research in contextual behavioral science led by Dr. Rhonda Merwin. This site is a resource for:

• Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, psychiatry residents, psychology interns, and other professionals interested in receiving in-depth training in the application of ACT

​• Students and fellows interested in establishing research experience in ACT and underlying processes

• Professionals interested in ACT- informed research collations

• Individuals interested in receiving ACT-based treatment


What is ACT?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a contemporary cognitive-behavioral therapy that is densely grounded in contextual behavioral science. ACT has demonstrated promise in helping individuals with a wide array of clinical problems. There are over 200 randomized controlled clinical trials testing the effects of ACT and ACT is identified as an empirically supported treatment by the American Psychological Association (APA), Div. 12 and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).



The basic premise of the ACT model is that problems in living arise from the way in which we interact with our private lives, including our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Rather than observe our experiences as they unfold in the present moment, we are overattached to the content of our thoughts and avoid painful feelings. This leads us to behave in ways that are ineffective and inconsistent with our values. 

ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness to help individuals be more fully in and aware of the present moment, and commitment and behavior change strategies to help individuals chose action based on deeply held personal values. The ability to have thoughts and feelings, fully and without defense, while moving in a valued direction is the goal of ACT, and referred to as psychological flexibility.



Virabhadrasana II

(Warrior II)


Here there is nothing to fight

Except willfulness.

Some lean too far

Into the past.

Others stretch way out

Into the future.

The true warrior

Stays in the moment,

Burning deeper

Into whatever comes,

Or sometimes with

Even more difficulty,

What doesn’t.


ACT at Duke

Program Divisions

Learn more about the ACT at Duke community and how you can get involved by selecting any of the links below:


Professional Training

ACT at Duke offers professional training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.


Clinical Services

ACT at Duke offers individual therapy for adults and adolescents, and occasionally group therapy.

Parent training and family oriented treatment is also available.




Research Studies

ACT at Duke aims to advance clinical practice through research.