Acceptance and commitment therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy diverges from cognitive behavioral therapy by providing an appreciation for acceptance, observation, value, committed action, defusion, and contact with the present moment. This concept embraces the idea of accepting reactions, choosing valuable directions and taking action. This paper, however, endeavors to highlight and discuss the effectiveness of the use of acceptance and commitment therapy over other forms of therapy in the achievement of occupational health and well-being.

In relation to relieving work stress, the study by Bond & Bunce, (2000) identifies emotion-focused interventions based on the ACT with improved outcomes related to work and an improved propensity to innovate. These findings support the idea that the changes in both well-being and occupational health have a relationship with the intervention used with more desirable results leaning towards the use of ACT. The effectiveness of ACT according to the authors shows more effective results than previously depicted in the reduction of anxiety and work stress. This idea supported further by the findings in Bach, P. & Hayes, Steven C. (2002) where the findings clearly show that the use of psychological interventions can significantly reduce the cases of re-hospitalization of patients and improve medical functioning in patients. For better results, however, these methods have to be combined with other psychological components deemed helpful. The reduction in the re-hospitalization rate is a significant milestone according to researchers and depicts the significance of these methods. The use of the sick days in participants involved in ACT drastically reduced and the same attributed to the use of ACT. The study done by Dahl, Wilson & Nilsso (2004) supports this idea and depict that the rate of reduction of the sick day reduced to up to 91%. This study backs the idea that the application of ACT is essential in the improvement of occupational health and general well-being of participants. The primary goal of the study being the reduction of pain and stress the results make a clear connection to support this idea. Further studies develop the understanding related to the work context.

In this regard the use of ACT in the reduction of the treatment of tobacco cessation as studied by Gifford, et al. (2004) show desirable results compared to the use of nicotine replacement therapy. The study findings do not depict any significant changes initially but, however, the long run results portray a gain in the use of ACT. The quit rate associated with the use of ACT doubled when compared to the use of nicotine replacement therapy. This implication shows the importance of using ACT as a form of obtaining the health and general well-being of individuals.  The use of acceptance and commitment therapy further provide positive results in improving the quality of life. The idea put to use in the application of ACT to reduce seizures in individuals with drug resistant epilepsy (LundgrenDahl, Melin & Kees 2006). The study identified the decrease of the duration and frequency of epileptic seizures with the use of ACT with the combination of medication in comparison to the employment of medical treatment alone. It is noteworthy that according to study the quality of well-being of the participants improves consistently throughout the use of acceptance and commitment therapy.

In that respect Forman et al furthers the use of ACT for the control of anxiety and depression. The findings of the research using the concept of ACT over the standard cognitive therapy show that the use of ACT yields better results. In this study, the participants subject to the acceptance and commitment therapy showed an improved quality of life, improvements in depression anxiety and life satisfaction similar to the participants engaged in cognitive therapy. It is, however, imperative that the participants using ACT portrayed superior treatment related changes in acceptance in light of cognitive therapy.  With respect to cognitive behavior therapy, the use of acceptance and commitment therapy preferred because of the higher rate of improved performance depicted by the participants of ACT. Lappalainen et al. (2007) shows the increased acceptance related outcomes in patients who underwent ACT. Accordingly the support for the ACT concept in the improvement of the well-being of the individual and the concept of occupational health strongly connects and recommendations of adopting this model made critical. Exploration on the use of this concept in functional improvement also plays a significant role.

Furthermore, the findings of Wicksell et al. (2008) support the use of acceptance and commitment therapy in this area. The study provides that the use of treatment oriented to the ACT results in the functional improvement and enhanced life quality of patients with debilitating pain. The substantial and sustained improvements portrayed by these patients support the use of ACT in the attainment of occupational health and well-being. The favor attached to the use of ACT by the results of the study is a significant indication of the importance of ACT.  In another study by Flaxman & Bond (2010) where the study focused on the assessment of the use of ACT and SIT interventions, the results depicted more desirable results attached to the ACT process. The outcome of the study found an increase in psychological flexibility associated with ACT than a change in the cognitive content of participants. This result portrays a reduction of dysfunctional cognitions of employees. This finding supports the model of ACT in the primary functionality in alteration of psychological context of individuals and the promotion of psychological flexibility leading to improved well-being of the employees.

The contributions of the studies in this area as depicted by the findings in Bond & Bunce (2000) suggest that the change in the outcome related to the ACT condition supported by the acceptance of unpleasant thoughts, sensations, and feelings by the patients. This resulted in the commitment and sensation to achieve the desired goals. The study in this area has contributed meaningfully to the understanding of the usage of cognitive behavioral therapy and its importance in the improvement of both the well-being and the health of individuals. The research has provided more evidence to the viability and effectiveness of this concept and improved the general understanding (Wetherell et al, 2011). The extensive application of the concept also highlighted in the contextual research and identifies that the concept is not only restricted to one area but can be applied various situations with the desired results.

The major achievement of the use of this concept is the attainment of increased psychological flexibility as depicted by Flaxman & Bond (2010). The alteration of psychological context within the experiences of thoughts and emotions of individuals is the main achievement of the concept. The available research strongly advocates for the use of this concept in the attainment of well-being and improved health.  This concept forms the backbone of any therapy aimed at improving these qualities (Pearson, Follette & Hayes). The understanding of this concept is, however, not without limitations. Despite the extensive literature and research in this field it is apparent that further research required in the field to further elaborate the context of CBT.

In conclusion, therefore, it is important to note that the use of ACT is essential to the attainment of occupational health and the feeling of well being among individuals. The substantial positive results from research in this area adequately support the effectiveness of the concept. In addition,  the superiority of the success rate of the use of acceptance and commitment therapy over other forms of therapy also made clear from these studies.

Reference list

Bach, P. & Hayes, Steven C. (2002). The use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to prevent the rehospitalization of psychotic patients: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70 (5), 1129-1139.

Bond, F. W. & Bunce, D. (2000). Mediators of change in emotion-focused and problem-focused worksite stress management interventions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 156-163.

Dahl, J., Wilson, K. G., & Nilsson, A. (2004). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and the treatment of persons at risk for long-term disability resulting from stress and pain symptoms: A preliminary randomized trial. Behavior Therapy, 35, 785-802.

Flaxman, P. E., & Bond, F. W. (2010). Worksite stress management training: Moderated effects and clinical significance. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 15, 347-358.

Forman, E. M., Herbert, J. D., Moitra, E., Yeomans, P. D. & Geller, P. A. (2007). A randomized controlled effectiveness trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Therapy for anxiety and depression. Behavior Modification, 31(6), 772-799.

Gifford, E. V., Kohlenberg, B. S., Hayes, S. C., Antonuccio, D. O., Piasecki, M. M.., Rasmussen-Hall, M. L., & Palm, K. M. (2004). Acceptance theory-based treatment for smoking cessation: An initial trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Behavior Therapy, 35, 689-705

Lappalainen, R., Lehtonen, T., Skarp, E., Taubert, E., Ojanen, M., & Hayes, S. C. (2007). The impact of CBT and ACT models using psychology trainee therapists: A preliminary controlled effectiveness trial. Behavior Modification, 31, 488-511.

Lundgren, A. T., Dahl, J., Melin, L. & Kees, B. (2006). Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for drug refractory epilepsy: A randomized controlled trial in South Africa. Epilepsia, 47, 2173-2179.

Pearson, A. N., Follette, V. M. & Hayes, S. C. (In press). A pilot study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a workshop intervention for body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice.

R, K., Ahlqvist, J., Bring, A., Melin, L. & Olsson, G. L. (2008).  Can exposure and acceptance strategies improve functioning and quality of life in people with chronic pain and whiplash associated disorders (WAD)? A randomized controlled trial. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 37, 1-14.

Wetherell JL, Afari N, Rutledge T, Sorrell JT, Stoddard JA, Petkus AJ, Solomon BC, Lehman DH, Liu L, Lang AJ, Hampton Atkinson J. (2011). A randomized, controlled trial of acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain. Pain, 152, 2098-2107.