Our Story

Decades ago, we (Mavis Tsai and Robert Kohlenberg) as therapists noticed that when we approached our clients with our own humanity and vulnerability, when we held their pain and reflected their best selves rather than tried to “fix” them, they were much more likely to make dramatic improvements.

From these memorable therapeutic interactions, Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) was created. FAP uses empirically supported principles that focus on the healing power of present-moment authentic interactions. Its technical rules have been translated into the principles of Awareness, Courage and Love (ACL). FAP has a worldwide following; its books thus far have been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Korean and Persian.

Eventually, however, we became dismayed to realize that only therapy clients had access to the transformative power of ACL principles. Since we live for genuine connection in our personal and work relationships, we grew increasingly alarmed by the global loneliness epidemic. We wanted to share ACL with everyone, not just those who choose or can afford therapy. Thus, the ACL Global Project was born. Under Dr. Tsai’s leadership, it is a rapidly expanding program that currently has chapter leaders bringing together over 10,000 people who want to connect deeply in 92 cities, 26 countries and 6 continents.

Our Values

Awareness. Courage. Love.

We believe that sharing our truest selves with one another strengthens us as individuals and communities.

We believe that every individual has a complex life story full of anguish and joy, disappointments and hopes, vulnerabilities and strengths. We honor that although our lives are unique in their specifics, we share many life experiences in ways that bind us with the unseen ties of family in its broadest sense. We welcome feedback, skepticism, and questions.

We also believe that connection goes beyond our human relationships to encompass affinity with all living beings and the planet we call home. By practicing ACL we aim to nourish human connection at all levels of life’s experiences.

We are guided by what is in the best interest of those we work with, and we are privileged to share journeys of exploration, connection, and growth with whomever crosses our path, whether it’s for an afternoon, a few months or years, or for a lifetime. We collaborate with partners from all cultures and walks of life to learn languages of love that are committed to inclusivity for all.

Our Vision and Mission

Our vision is to alleviate the major public health epidemic of loneliness and social isolation by creating ACL chapters in every city and country in order to reach any person who desires richer, more meaningful relationships.

Our mission is to grow and nurture a worldwide network of open-hearted changeseekers who strive to meet life’s challenges through deepening interpersonal connection and rising to live more true to themselves.