ACT Early: ACT in early intervention for psychosis (Morris & Oliver) - with audio

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Authors: Eric Morris, Joseph Oliver, Louise Johns, Majella Byrne & Ellen Craig

Affiliation: Lambeth Early Onset Services & OASIS Service South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK

Abstract The stance of acceptance and committed action may allow for flexibility in response to persisting psychotic experiences, as has been suggested in ACT studies with the seriously mentally ill (Bach & Hayes, 2002; Gaudiano & Herbert, 2006). There is also the exciting potential for researching the impact of ACT in the early phase of psychosis - helping first episode clients to recover from psychosis through the development of a more mindful approach toward unusual experiences and critical appraisals, and committing to values-based actions.

More specifically, the use of ACT may: [1] foster the development of a psychologically flexible stance toward anomalous experiences, [2] enable a “values-based” recovery, [3] reduce the impact of “fear of recurrence” of psychosis through development of mindfulness and self as context, [4] enable individuals to notice the process of self-stigmatisation, contexts where this operates as a barrier, and commit to valued directions in the face of these appraisals, and [5] improve relapse prevention plans through the use of mindfulness and committed action. We describe a group program we have developed, as well as individual work with young people who have experienced a first episode of psychosis. In addition we briefly discuss a pilot ACT/mindfulness group for people experiencing at risk mental states, who may be in the initial prodromal phase of psychosis.

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