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Title: Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for people who are distressed by hearing voices : a case series
Author: Clark, Abigail
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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Objective: This study aimed to provide a preliminary investigation of the mediators of change in an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention for people distressed by hearing voices. According to ACT it is the relationship one has to their unwanted experiences that impacts upon distress and valued living. The cognitive mediation model proposes that it is beliefs about the voice/s and the self that is causally related to distress and diminished life circumstances. Consequently, Cognitive Therapy (CT) aims to alter such beliefs. This study investigates the shared and distinct mediators of change in these two models. Design: Following a four-week baseline four participants who were distressed by hearing voices engaged in a 12-week ACT intervention. ACT and CT- process measures were completed at every session. Outcome measures were completed at the end of each phase. A qualitative Change Interview was conducted at the end of the intervention. Results: Two of the four participants responded to the intervention. They demonstrated reliable changes on measures of general psychological flexibility, psychological flexibility in relation to hearing voices, and in beliefs about voice omnipotence. No meaningful changes were demonstrated on a measure of positive and negative self-beliefs. Changes appeared to occur during the Acceptance phase of the therapy. Conclusions: This study provided further support for ACT as a promising intervention for people distressed by hearing voices. ACT appears to impact upon psychological flexibility, as hypothesized, as well as the content of beliefs about voices, possibly through the development of meta-cognitive awareness. Tentative findings suggest that changes may occur following the introduction of acceptance and mindfulness based techniques. In addition, findings suggest clients presenting with significant interpersonal difficulties may not benefit from ACT or may require a longer-intervention. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available