Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Psychosis - with audio

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This workshop was led by Eric Morris, Gordon Mitchell, and Amy McArthur. It was held on July 17, 2008 at the BABCP National Conference, Edinburgh UK.

Workshop Description:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a contextual CBT that uses mindfulness and values-based behavioural activation strategies to help people develop a workable relationship with internal experiences as part of a direction of increasing life meaning and vitality. ACT involves an experiential approach to therapy, based upon empirical principles of behaviour change. Clients are guided through exercises and metaphors to develop a present moment focus, clarify personal values and explore the functional utility of coping strategies. There has been promising evidence to suggest ACT can help people who are distressed and/or disabled by psychosis to learn a mindful and accepting stance toward unusual experiences, reducing the impact of symptoms, and improving social functioning (Bach & Hayes 2002; Gaudiano & Herbert, 2006). This workshop will present an ACT approach to psychosis, including how the problems of psychosis are conceptualised in this model and modifications to mindfulness and acceptance techniques for this population.

Key Learning Objectives:
This workshop is designed for clinicians who work with people experiencing psychosis. The workshop is designed to:
· provide the rationale for the use of mindfulness and values based activation strategies to help people with psychosis pursue lives that are vital and personally meaningful,
· demonstrate how to conceptualise the problems of psychosis using ACT formulation,
· provide demonstrations and descriptions of the various experiential methods of ACT that are used in individual and group formats with this population


Eric Morris works as a consultant clinical psychologist for the Lambeth Early Onset Service, an inner-city early intervention service for psychosis based in south London. He is currently conducting research in acceptance and mindfulness interventions for psychosis at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

Gordon Mitchell and Amy McArthur are clinical psychologists in NHS Fife, Scotland, working with clients who experience severe and enduring mental illness. Over the past four years they have been increasingly using ACT approaches with this client group, particularly in-group formats.

Key References:
Bach, P. (2004). ACT with the seriously mentally ill. In S.C. Hayes & K.D. Strosahl (Eds). A practical guide to acceptance and commitment Therapy. Springer: New York.

Bach, P., & Hayes, S.C. (2002). The use of acceptance and commitment therapy to prevent the rehospitalization of psychotic patients: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 1129-1139.

Gaudiano, B.A., & Herbert, J.D. (2006). Acute treatment of inpatients with psychotic symptoms using acceptance and commitment therapy: Pilot results. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 415-437.

Handout and Audio Recordings

The handout for the workshop is available here. Audio recordings of the workshop are also available: First part (20MB, mp3 format) and second part (30MB, mp3 format).