ACT Helps Depression following increased psychosis
A 2015 study “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for depression following psychosis” explored the effectiveness of ACT as a intervention for people experiencing clinically significant depression following a psychotic episode. In the study, participants were randomly assigned to either an 10-session ACT intervention tailored for psychosis or given Treatment-As-Usual. In the study participants who received ACT for psychosis intervention, compared to those who received Treatment-As-Usual, were 15 times more likely to achieve clinically significant decreases in depression scores.
To be included, patients required a diagnosis of a:
- psychotic disorder (i.e.,schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, brief psychotic disorder,
psychotic disorder NOS), or
- bipolar disorder with psychotic features, or
- depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms.
The participants in the study were:
- no longer acutely unwell – few had clinically significant levels of:-
- “Positive Symptoms” – problematic thoughts (delusions) or hallucinations or
- “Negative Symptoms” – severe reduction in emotional expressiveness (blunted affect) or emotional withdrawal and
- clinically significant levels of depression.
What was the ACT for Psychosis Intervention?
The ACT for psychosis intervention incorporated the following themes:
- distinguishing between different types of experience: internal experience vs. 5-sense experience;
- recognising how we get caught up struggling to move away from suffering;
- moving towards our values;
- getting distance between us and our ‘life stories’;
- exploring how trying to control difficult mental experiences can be part of the problem rather than the solution;
- noticing that we can notice: focusing on the context in which mental experiences occur rather on the content of these experiences; and
- exploring worry thoughts associated with psychosis
This study builds on other studies that explores: