Implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training in a psychiatric ward: feasibility, lessons learned and potential effectiveness

Psychiatric inpatient wards are inherently complex milieus. Staff in wards are expected to alleviate severe suffering in patients whilst handling an increasing administrative burden, resulting in less direct contact with patients. Reports from both patients and staff indicate institutional aimlessness and lack of care content beyond medication and containment. As a possible means of improving this situation, this pilot study investigated the feasibility, potential effectiveness and challenges of the implementation of a 12-hour training programme in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a CBT-based psychotherapy model, on staff (n = 20) and patients (n = 9). The context was a psychiatric inpatient ward for psychosis patients. The staff members of a neighbouring unit acted as non-randomised controls. Feasibility of implementation, data collection and acceptance among staff of the intervention seemed acceptable, while data collection among patients was more challenging. Mean change scores suggest marginal positive changes in psychological flexibility for patients and staff post-intervention. Results are discussed in light of methodological and institutional limitations, and clinical experiences.

Photo: Paige Shoemaker

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Tyrberg, M. J., Carlbring, P., & Lundgren, T. (2017). Implementation of acceptance and commitment therapy training in a psychiatric ward: feasibility, lessons learned and potential effectiveness. Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care, 13(2), 73-82. doi:10.20299/jpi.2017.008