The balance team is made up of counselors, prevention specialists, volunteers, and consultants of CLASS. We come to balance from different backgrounds, for a variety of personal reasons, all with a common goal. We want to improve the quality of life for people in Cenla, with special emphasis on reducing the negative impact of substance and alcohol misuse. We want to give people the tools and skills needed to move them toward their values and to live more purposefully. Many participants’ lives have been touched by drugs or alcohol, though they may not struggle with alcohol or substances themselves. Facilitators are community members trained in the Acceptance and Commitment Training model. Both participants and facilitators commit to respecting one another’s process and privacy.


Acceptance and Commitment Training (usually pronounced as the word act), is based on a model of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) emphasizing a willingness to experience difficult thoughts, feelings, and memories in service of choosing and living a more meaningful life. ACT is based on the idea that humans can easily get stuck when we focus our behavior on running, fighting or hiding from difficult experiences. ACT teaches participants to practice 1) noticing internal and external experiences as they occur, 2) noticing how actions impact those experiences, and 3) choosing actions moving each participant toward the life he or she chooses.  ACT facilitators understand every person struggles in their own way and are committed to supporting each participant in living their most meaningful life.


Many approaches to helping people live better assume the first step is getting rid of painful feelings or irrational thoughts.  ACT, however, assumes difficult thoughts and feelings only become a problem when we allow them to take over our lives. ACT participants learn to notice these thoughts and feelings and take meaningful positive action in spite of them.


Balance is completely free to all participants thanks to funding by a Healthy Behaviors Program grant from The Rapides Foundation. Weekly group sessions last about 90 minutes. Participants benefit the most from attending regularly and practicing strategies from balance in their lives. Other than the time and energy it takes to use balance in daily life, there are no fees or costs of any kind.


Balance participants learn to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings, to connect with their most deeply held values, and to choose more purposeful behaviors. Balance teaches participants to shift from a life dominated by mental struggle to one defined by personal values. Depending on the participant’s values, balance might influence well-being in terms of improved relationships, physical health, and personal development. Scientific evidence shows ACT can help people build a satisfying life, work productively, take care of their bodies, study more efficiently, adapt to life’s challenges, and treat themselves and others with compassion.