A preliminary evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) training in Sierra Leone

Authors:

Corinna Stewart, Ross G. White, Beate Ebert, Iain Mays, Jennifer Nardozzi, Hannah Bockarie

Abstract:

Concerted efforts are being made to scale up psychological interventions in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) aims to reduce psychological inflexibility and has been shown to be effective for treating a range of mental health difficulties. ACT training workshops have been shown to reduce the psychological inflexibility of individuals receiving training. There is a dearth of research investigating the acceptability and potential efficacy of ACT in LMIC and the influence ACT training has on health care professionals who undergo this type of training.

This paper reports a preliminary evaluation of ACT training for local NGO workers and professionals who attended an introductory workshop in Sierra Leone. Specifically, the evaluation sought to address the acceptability of this type of training for participants, and whether participants demonstrated improved psychological flexibility and wellbeing following training. Participants completed measures pre-workshop, post-workshop and 3-months post-baseline.

Results indicated that participants rated the workshops positively and reported applying some of the techniques that they had learned during training to their clinical work. Participants demonstrated improvements in psychological flexibility and life satisfaction following training. The measure of psychological inflexibility demonstrated good internal consistency when used in a Sierra Leonean context. The implications of these findings for Global Mental Health discourses are discussed.

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