Quality of Life in Advanced Cancer : An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy View

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APA Citation: 

Angiola, J., & Bowen, A. M. (2013). Quality of Life in Advanced Cancer: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy View. The Counseling Psychologist, 41, 313-335.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, cancer, psychological flexibility, prevention/well-being

Prognosis is poor and quantity of life is compromised for individuals with advanced cancer. Quality of life is impacted, for some, by psychological distress. According to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), psychological distress is associated with emotional avoidance and lack of valued living. ACT aims to increase psychological health via acceptance of one’s “minding,” a focus on present-moment living, and a commitment to value-driven life. In this article, we introduce the advanced cancer patient, the theory behind ACT, and how ACT may be delivered. We present the hypothetical case of J.B., a 56-year-old woman with recurrent Stage III ovarian cancer who reports thoughts of hopelessness and worthlessness, and how ACT might be applied to help J.B. experience a rich and meaningful life irrespective of her time remaining.

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