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Implementation of acceptance and commitment therapy training in a psychiatric ward: feasibility, lessons learned and potential effectiveness

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

This article was made available online on June 26, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Implementation of acceptance and commitment therapy training in a psychiatric ward: feasibility, lessons learned and potential effectiveness".

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  • Published twice a year, the Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care is devoted to issues affecting the care and treatment of people with mental disorders who manifest severely disturbed functioning. The journal is international and multidisciplinary. It provides stimulating papers and articles of interest to those who work in or study psychiatric intensive care, low secure services, acute inpatient wards, challenging behaviour environments, emergency psychiatry, or intensive treatments settings in other parts of the wider mental health system. The Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care encourages informed debate and exchange of opinion. Its content includes editorials, original research, brief reports, reviews, conference reports, news and notices, but preference is given to original research of a high scientific quality.
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