Hesser, H., Westin, V., Hayes, S. C., & Andersson, G. (2009). Clients' in-session acceptance and cognitive defusion behaviors in acceptance-based treatment of tinnitus distress. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47, 523-528.
Cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) is considered to be an effective treatment of distress associated with tinnitus (perception of internal noises without any outer auditory stimulation), but the processes by which the therapy works remain unclear. Mindfulness and acceptance is receiving increased attention in the treatment literature for chronic medical conditions. However, few studies have examined these and related processes with behavioral or observer measures. In the present study 57 videotapes (a total of 1710 min) from 19 clients who participated in a controlled trial of an acceptance-based treatment for tinnitus distress, were coded for frequency and peak level of verbal behaviors expressing either acceptance or cognitive defusion. Frequency of cognitive defusion behaviors and peak level of cognitive defusion as well as peak level of acceptance rated in Session 2, predicted symptom reduction 6 month following treatment. These relationships were not accounted for by the improvement that had occurred prior to the measurement point of the process variables. Moreover, prior symptom changes could not predict process variables rated later in therapy (after most of the improvement in therapy had occurred). Thus, clients’ in-session acceptance and cognitive defusion behaviors appear to play an important role in the reduction of negative impact of tinnitus.