This is a photo of Dr. David Juncos, Voice Study Centre Ambassador.

Acceptance and Commitment Training for Music Performance Anxiety

with Dr. David Juncos
3-Part Course
Tuesday 17th, 24th and 31st January 2023 5-7pm GMT

This course will be recorded and sent out to all pre-registered participants to watch in their own time.
Due to licensing laws, we are unable to sell this course retrospectively.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Coaching?

Acceptance and Commitment Coaching (ACC) is a non-clinical version of a popular, mindfulness & acceptance-based psychotherapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; Hayes et al., 1999). Both ACC and ACT aim to promote mindfulness and acceptance of one’s unwanted symptoms of emotional distress, while also empowering one to engage in behavior of personal value more frequently. This combined skillset of both mindfully accepting one’s symptoms, while also adding in and engaging with valued actions more frequently enables one to behave in a more resilient and psychologically flexible way, which is the overarching goal for ACC & ACT.

Can Singing Teachers and Coaches use ACC?

When applied to common, performance-related problems such as music performance anxiety (MPA), ACC & ACT show promise as strategies that can be applied either by a clinical psychologist or a non-clinical practitioner, such as a singing teacher or performance coach. The Voice Study Centre has consistently worked with Clinical Psychologist Dr. David Juncos to help singing teachers and performance coaches begin to treat MPA directly with college students and professional musicians.

Evidence Base

In the first application of ACC to MPA, David worked in conjunction with Teresa Shaw, to train her to provide individualized ACC coaching for a musical theatre student with problematic levels of MPA (Shaw, Juncos, & Winter, 2020). The results were nearly identical to those obtained by David in his own clinical application of ACT to treat student vocalists with MPA (Juncos et al., 2017), in that Teresa’s student became significantly more accepting of his MPA symptoms and began to audition for, and won, a leading role in a musical. Prior to ACC coaching, he avoided auditions like so many other students with MPA. Similarly, a recent study by Sarah Mahony piloted a group ACC course for MPA with a small group of performing arts students (N= 6) with MPA about their vocal performances, in which Sarah also received a brief training in ACC by David (Mahony, Juncos, & Winter, 2022). Her results were also identical to those obtained by David’s earlier work (Juncos et al., 2017), in that her six students became significantly less reactive to their MPA-related thoughts, more accepting of their physiological MPA symptoms, and significantly lowered their shame in relation to each other (Mahony et al., 2022). Although ACC & ACT do not aim to reduce symptoms of MPA like other treatments often do, students involved in these studies and in David’s earlier ACT work do often significantly reduce their MPA symptoms (Juncos & Markman, 2015; Juncos et al., 2017). They also learn to take their MPA less personally and not blame themselves for being the cause of it.

The Teacher/Coach and Music Performance Anxiety: The Need for Training

In addressing a training gap often faced by music teachers at large that relates to how best to manage students’ MPA, Shaw et al. (2020) and Mahony et al. (2022) make a convincing case for singing teachers to manage MPA directly, rather than continue to refer these students to psychotherapists. Singing teachers will often be the first point of contact, and working with them can be less stigmatising & may save students more time than working with a psychotherapist. MPA will impact the student’s performance, and strategies to work with this visible, impactful condition are crucial. Increasingly teachers are educated in terms of neuro-diversity, safeguarding, and anxiety, and MPA training for those working within the arts is imperative for a healthy and thriving performance community. Shaw et al. (2020) also point out that when the teacher-student dyad is marked by empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard, the outcome for using ACC to help a student manage MPA is likely to be beneficial, as those relational qualities are stronger predictors of good psychotherapy outcomes than the actual type of therapy administered when observed in the psychotherapist-client dyad (Karver et al., 2006; Ardito & Rabellino, 2011). Coaching enables a teacher to work alongside a student to facilitate goals and manage performance pressure. ACC training aims to equip teachers with strategies to help students develop their psychological flexibility. ACC can also help teachers to coach students with other issues such as burnout, perfectionism and self-critical thinking, procrastination to practice, and it can help them with performance enhancement.

 

Replicating this Training Model

In both Shaw et al. (2020) and Mahony et al. (2022), the ACC training provided by David to each singing teacher was brief (< 10 hours) and was administered entirely online. Their training included attending a short course in using ACC to treat MPA, individualized supervision to help them as they began applying ACC to specific students, extensive ACC readings, and both had received post-graduate training in coaching and mentoring. Here at the Voice Study Centre, we believe this model for managing students’ MPA is replicable and we’re now offering the same training opportunities for you.

 

Stage One of this training model includes an online ACT for MPA short course, which will provide you with content about defining and detecting problematic levels of MPA, content about ACT and its six core processes known as the “Hexaflex” (mindfulness, acceptance, defusion, self-as-context, values & committed action), and about using ACT to effectively manage problematic cases of MPA. You will also learn to use ACT to achieve other important outcomes related to MPA treatment, i.e., how to take MPA less personally & enhance overall performance skills. Stage One also includes doing extensive readings about ACT and its use to treat MPA. Much of the content from Shaw et al. (2020) and Mahony et al. (2022) came from two ACT books: Acceptance and Commitment Coaching (Hill & Oliver, 2019) and David’s forthcoming co-authored book, ACT for Musicians: A Guide for Using Acceptance and Commitment Training to Enhance Performance Skills, Overcome Performance Anxiety, and Improve Well-Being due out in July, 2022 with Universal Publishers (Juncos & de Paiva e Pona, 2022). Of course, there are numerous other books and articles one can read to learn more about ACT – for a list, go here: www.contextualscience.org.

 

Stage Two of this model involves individualized supervision with David to help you consolidate information from the course and to enable you to begin applying ACC skills to students with MPA in your teaching practice, while also learning how best to handle the ethical issues that arise in administering ACC to students with MPA. This stage may last approximately 3-6 hours depending on your particular training needs, whether you plan to administer ACC individually or in group settings, and your overall level of readiness to do this work. For David’s fees or other questions about supervision, please contact him directly at drdavidjuncos@gmail.com.

 

Stage Three of this model is for singing teachers and other professional who wish to further specialize in using ACC to treat MPA as part of a post-graduate pathway with the Voice Study Centre — 30 MA credits: Level 7: If you wish to translate your learning into nationally recognised credit, you may complete our Level 7 module in Coaching and Mentoring.

Ethical Issues Arising in Doing this Work

It is imperative that a singing teacher or performance coach stay in their lane and not provide psychotherapy to their students or clients with MPA. Thus, in Stages One, Two, and Three, you’ll learn about the important ethical standards related to professional competence and boundaries you’ll need to follow in order to effectively carry out this work. To start, you’ll need to be sufficiently trained before you begin this work with a student, in order to ensure you’re keeping their best interest in mind. The results of our two pilot studies suggest that a brief training (< 10 hours) that combines Stages One & Two may be sufficient for you to begin doing this work.

Ongoing Supervision

However, this amount of training may not be enough for every practitioner, given their training needs. Thus, it’s imperative your training include ongoing supervision from an ACT expert who can evaluate your readiness to do this work prior to implementing it with a student. Readiness here means you have done sufficient readings about ACT and demonstrate a competent knowledge of the core ACT Hexaflex processes, you have demonstrated knowledge about how to coach a student to improve these skills, you have a willingness to apply ACT skills to yourself to help resolve any personal hurdles experienced during your training, you have a competent understanding of MPA and an ability to detect problematic cases of MPA, and an awareness that your ACC coaching skills are not to be used to treat problems of a more personal nature that are unrelated to a student’s performance or practice. If a student(s) requests your assistance in managing those types of problems, a referral to a psychotherapist is warranted. Since there is no ACT or ACC certificate — the founders of ACT believe that creating such a certification process is contrary to the mission of the organization that promotes & disseminates ACT-related information (Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, www.contextualscience.org) because it falsely dichotomizes those practitioners with it from those without it — any practitioner who is interested training in ACT may do so. As long as you work in a professional setting in which coaching or didactic interventions would be appropriate for you to use in order to help your students or clients overcome their obstacles to growth, you may use ACT.

David Juncos, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and performance coach with Hornstein, Platt & Associates, Counseling and Wellness Centers, in Philadelphia, PA. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from La Salle University in 2015. He has over 15 years’ experience in treating a variety of clinical problems, including anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders. He specializes in the treatment of music performance anxiety (MPA) and has presented internationally on his research in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to treat MPA and enhance music performance. He also is on faculty with the Voice Workshop, where he provides lectures and tutorials on MPA and quantitative research, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, peak performance, and he trains music teachers in a non-clinical version of ACT to help them manage students’ MPA. His forthcoming book, ACT for Musicians: A Guide for Using Acceptance and Commitment Training to Enhance Performance, Overcome Performance Anxiety, and Improve Well-Being, is due out in June, 2022 with Universal Publishers. In it, he and co-author Elvire de Paiva e Pona, MA, provide readers with numerous ACT-based techniques for help in managing MPA, enhancing performance, and addressing other common problems facing musicians, such as chronic pain, injury recovery, perfectionism, procrastination, shame, occupational burnout and career uncertainty.

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

Juncos, D.G., Roman, J.B., Osborne, M. S., & Zenobi, D. (2022). Assessing Psychological Flexibility in University Musicians: Psychometric Properties of the Musician’s Acceptance and Action Questionnaire. Manuscript in preparation.

 

Juncos, D.G., & Markman, E.J. (2015). Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of music performance anxiety: A single subject design with a university student. Psychology of Music. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735615596236.

 

Mahony, S. E., Juncos, D. G., & Winter, D. (2022). Acceptance and commitment coaching for music performance anxiety: Piloting a six-week group course with undergraduate dance & musical theatre students. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:830230.

 

Shaw, T.A, Juncos, D.G., & Winter, D. (2020). Piloting a new model for treating music performance anxiety: Training a singing teacher to use acceptance and commitment coaching with a student. Frontiers in Psychology, 11:882. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00882

 

Juncos, D.G., & de Paiva e Pona, E. (2018). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a clinical anxiety treatment and performance enhancement program for musicians: Towards an evidence-based practice model in performance psychology. Music & Science 1, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1177/2059204317748807

 

Juncos, D.G., Heinrichs, G.A., Towle, P., Duffy, K., Grand, S., Smith, J., & Morgan, M.C. (2017). Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of music performance anxiety: A pilot study with student vocalists. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00986

 

Juncos, D.G., & Markman, E.J. (2015). Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of music performance anxiety: A single subject design with a university student. Psychology of Music. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735615596236.

 

PEER-REVIEWED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Osborne, M.S., Juncos, D.G., & Roman, J.B. (2021, November). Being willing and able: Acceptance and commitment interventions help performers deliver, when it counts. Paper presented at the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare’s online 2021 conference: Back on Stage.

 

Juncos, D.G., & Osborne, M.S. (2021, October). A review of acceptance and commitment therapy as a psychotherapeutic intervention for student and professional musicians with performance anxiety. Paper presented at the 8th bi-annual International Symposium on Performance Science, Montreal, Canada.

 

Osborne, M.S., Roman, J.B., Zenobi, D., & Juncos, D.G. (2021, October). Comparing a general measure of psychological flexibility, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II), with a domain-specific measure, the Musician’s Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (MAAQ), as a predictor of important outcomes within music performance and practice. Paper presented at the 8th bi-annual International Symposium on Performance Science, Montreal, Canada.

 

Mahony, S.E., Shaw, T.A., Juncos, D.G., & Winter, D. (2021, October). Acceptance and commitment coaching as a non-clinical intervention for music performance anxiety within university settings. Paper presented at the 8th bi-annual International Symposium on Performance Science, Montreal, Canada.

 

Roman, J.B., Juncos, D.G., Osborne, M.S., & Zenobi, D. (2021, June). Psychological inflexibility and its relation to performance anxiety, flow, and perfectionism in university musicians. Poster presented at the 19th annual World Conference for the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, Poznan, Poland.

 

Shaw, T.A., Juncos, D.G., & Winter, D. (2020, May). Piloting a new model for treating music performance anxiety: Training a singing teacher to use acceptance and commitment coaching with a student. Paper presented at the Voice Foundation’s 49th Annual Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice, Philadelphia, PA.

 

Juncos, D.G. (2019, July). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a clinical anxiety treatment and performance enhancement program for musicians: Results from previous and current studies. Paper presented at the 7th bi-annual International Symposium on Performance Science, Melbourne, Australia.

 

Juncos, D.G. (2018, July). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a clinical anxiety treatment and performance enhancement program for musicians. Paper presented at the 16th annual World Conference for the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

 

Juncos, D.G., Heinrichs, G.A., Towle, P., Duffy, K., Grand, S., Kalkus, E., Braverman, A., Lipovenko, L., & Garfinkle, E. (2016, July). Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of music performance anxiety: A pilot study with student vocalists. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Performing Arts Medicine Association of America, New York, NY.

 

Juncos, D. (2015, July). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Musical Performance Anxiety: The Results of Two Single Subject Designs. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of Performing Arts Medicine Association of America, Snowmass, CO.

 

Juncos, D., Cardaciotto, L., Spokas, M., Falcone, D., Morgan, M., & Gent, L. (2013, November). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Musical Performance Anxiety: A Single Subject Design. Poster presented at the Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, TN.

BOOKS

Juncos, D.G., & de Paiva e Pona, E. (2022). ACT for Musicians: A Guide for Using Acceptance & Commitment Training to Enhance Performance, Overcome Performance Anxiety, and Improve Well-Being. Irvine, CA: Universal Publishers.

This book is available to purchase here

Tuesday 17th, 24th and 31st January 2023 at 5-7pm GMT

This course is free for Voice Study Centre's MA/PGCert students and £150 (VAT inclusive) otherwise.

If you would like to book a place on this course, please use the payment form in the 'Book Your Place' tab or email info@voicestudycentre.com

Online Payment

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