Running for: Treasurer
Profession: Fitness author, personal trainer
My goals in running for treasurer:
ACT processes are basic life skills that everyone needs. A person who has tools like acceptance, defusion, self-as-context, and contact with the present moment, and uses those tools to take committed action in line with their values, has a really high quality of life. I’ve seen clients who, when taught these skills, didn’t just improve their lives, but also improved the lives of their family and friends. It made them more effective at work and in their hobbies. When we get these tools to individuals, we elevate the communities in our region.
I want to be treasurer because it’s a need that the organization has, and the organization is important. It’s impactful work, getting ACT out into the Rocky Mountain Region, and I just want to contribute in any way that I can. Finances matter; if a project is important, then it’s important to get the finances right. I’ll be that person.
My goal in life is to bring contextual behavioral science to the fitness industry. My second and third books (OnTarget Publications, 2019 and 2021) include a lot of simple defusion techniques (for stress eating), value clarification exercises, and tools for choosing eating-related behavioral skills based on personal values. It’s really basic, but my clients are sub-clinical and do really well with basic ACT process work. I speak at conferences across the United States, to personal trainers, on foundational coaching tools like how to ask open ended questions and do reflective listening.
I’m finishing up a bachelors at MSU Denver in psychology, after which I plan to go to CU Anschutz. Last year, after being a TA in Statistics and Research Methods, I won MSU’s “Promising Teacher in Psychology” award. This year, I’m speaking at the Western Regional Honors Conference, about a literature review I did on contextual behavioral science and emotional eating.
Melissa Londoño Connally
Running For: Secretary
Profession: Licensed clinical psychologist
Melissa Londoño Connally, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Fort Collins, Colorado. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas in 2017. Her primary activities include ACT training, ACT consultation, and psychotherapy practice. She has co-authored 7 peer-reviewed publications, co-facilitated ACT trainings, and presented at various professional conferences. In addition, she is illustrating a children’s book series written by peer-reviewed ACT trainer, Dr. Amy Murrell, that highlights each of the 6 core ACT processes.
Statement: I became exposed to Acceptance and Commitment therapy at the end of my undergraduate training. I followed this work into my graduate training, practicing and publishing ACT related research. I gravitated to ACT for the ways a functional contextual approach, emphasis on clinician modeling, and client-led values supported culturally competent clinical practice. ACT also appealed to me because of the creative opportunities to de-literalize language and engage more experientially in practice. If elected I would focus on continuing dialogue about ways to promote more inclusive and affirming practices, foster community and leadership opportunities for students within the organization, and promote continued connection between research and applied work. I have appreciated the ways that Rocky Mountain ACBS is working to adapt to the needs of its members, and I would honored to continue to attend to flexible valued living within this community.
Running For: Secretary
Profession: Marriage and Family Therapist
I am currently working as a therapist at Eating Recovery Center, providing support to patients at the inpatient through partial hospitalization level of care. I am originally from the Eastern Sierras in California, and ended up in Orange County, CA to pursue both my undergrad and graduate degree from Chapman University. I was very lucky to have a very ACT focused education program and the contextual sciences have always been the foundation of my clinical work. I moved to Colorado about 6 years ago because of the great opportunities for mental health (and to have mountains back in my life).
I have been involved in the Rocky Mountain ACBS for the last 2 ½ years, with regular attendance at meetings for the last 2 years. I found it very rewarding to be involved in the background of the 3 day conference in 2017 which sparked my interest in becoming more involved in the leadership. In 2018 I was appointed the Educational Liaison, where I have been in charge of creating a new website, re-invigorating our digital presence on Facebook and approving membership requests through the national ACBS website. I would love to use my role as Secretary to help push initiatives like the book club and to support more online involvement since our chapter spreads across such a large area.