Acceptance and commitment therapy using finnish sign language: Training counselors in signed ACT for the deaf – A pilot study

Leena Hassinen & Raimo Lappalainen

This study evaluated the implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Finnish Sign Language in a rehabilitation center for deaf people. Sixteen (16) clients and nine (9) staff members participated in this pilot study. Staff members received a brief training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) including 16 h lectures, 15 h supervision, and studying material. Each staff member treated 1–2 clients during 8–10 sessions. As part of the study, several ACT metaphors and exercises were translated into Finnish Sign Language. The study indicated that counselors with limited knowledge of psychological interventions were able to deliver an ACT intervention using Finnish Sign Language after a relatively brief training. The intervention was well accepted by both the clients and the counselors, and showed encouraging effects on clients' wellbeing. The study highlighted a need of valid assessment methods for clients who use sign language. This study provides an example how ACT -based interventions could be provided to minority groups.

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