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Minerva Psychiatry 2021 September;62(3):132-9

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6612.21.02152-7


lingua: Inglese

A spotlight on acceptance and commitment therapy

Déborah DUCASSE 1, 2 , William VAN GORDON 3, Philippe COURTET 1, 2

1 Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Postacute Care, Lapeyronie Hospital, CHRU Montpellier, CHU Montpellier, Montpellier, France; 2 INSERM U1061, Neuropsychiatry, Epidemiological and Clinical Research, Montpellier, France; 3 Human Sciences Research Center, University of Derby, Derby, UK

There is increasing scientific interest into third-wave cognitive behavioral therapies, which include a range of interventions advocating awareness of both oneself and the present moment. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is one such third-wave therapeutic modality, which employs a “self as context” framework. ACT aims at changing the relationship to one’s sensorial and automatic psychological events, leading to decreased experiential avoidance. However, there is a lack of awareness as to the range of health conditions for which empirical findings appear to support the therapeutic delivery of ACT. There also exists some confusion in terms of the key Eastern contemplative principles that underlie the conceptual and therapeutic framework of ACT. Consequently, the present paper briefly outlines the key conceptual and therapeutic principles that ACT embodies, provides a high-level map of current directions in ACT treatment research, and discusses challenges and future directions. ACT appears to be an effective treatment for a range of psychological and somatic disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. However, further studies using randomized controlled trial designs are required to better understand the other health conditions for which ACT is likely to be an effective treatment. Furthermore, there is a need for greater understanding as to the most appropriate means by which ancient contemplative principles should be integrated into ACT approaches, as well as other therapeutic modalities likely to be compatible with the ACT approach.

KEY WORDS: Acceptance and commitment therapy; Cognitive behavioral therapies; Mindfulness; Psychology

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