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Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Scores High with Depressed Vets

14 Feb

Researchers from the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System assessed therapist and patient outcomes from a national training initiative with eleven cohorts (391 therapists and 745 depressed patients) across the country in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for depression or ACT-D.
Three-hundred thirty four therapists successfully completed the requirements of the ACT-D training program.
Ninety-six percent of therapists achieved competency by the end of training, as compared to 21% at the outset of training.
Mixed effects model analysis indicated therapists' overall ACT-D competency scores increased from 76 to 112 (conditional SD = 6.6), p < 0.001.

Moreover, training was associated with significantly increased therapist self-efficacy and positive attitudes toward ACT-D.
The therapeutic alliance increased significantly over the course of therapy.
Most consequentially, the mean depression scores of patients decreased from 30 at baseline assessment to 19 at final assessment, t(367) = -20.3, p < 0.001. Quality of life scores also increased.

The evaluation concludes that training in and implementation of ACT-D in the treatment of veterans is associated with significant increases in therapist competency and robust improvements in patient outcomes.

Citation: Walser RD, Karlin BE, Trockel M, Mazina B, Barr Taylor C. Training in and implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for depression in the Veterans Health Administration: therapist and patient outcomes. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2013 Sep;51 (9): pp. 555-63.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award