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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Delusions (ACT)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Weill Medical College of Cornell University Identifier:
First received: April 8, 2008
Last updated: October 9, 2009
Last verified: October 2009

Symptoms of schizophrenia have historically been treatment resistant despite advances in psychopharmacology. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been shown through some preliminary research to be effective with psychotic symptoms (Bach & Hayes, 2002). ACT is considered part of the "third wave of CBT" along with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT; Linehan, 1993) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2001). The target of change in ACT is acceptance of symptoms as experiences that a person can have without experiencing distress, and while living a life in accordance with one's values.

The current study assessed the effectiveness of ACT (8 sessions) for delusions. Participants received treatment as usual throughout the study. The intervention followed the protocol of ACT described in Hayes, Strosahl and Wilson (1999) in which treatment will consist of building acceptance, willingness, and commitment to change, clarifying values, defusion of thoughts and feelings, as well as defusion of self. These therapeutic aims attempted to be achieved by the practice of various exercises in and out of session as well as the discussion of various metaphors within session. It was hypothesized that participants will exhibit decreased distress due to delusions, decreased delusional conviction and a reduction of overall anxiety levels from participants' baselines.

Condition Intervention
Delusional Disorder
Behavioral: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Delusions

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Weill Medical College of Cornell University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • This study will illustrate how patients' distress due to delusional thinking decreases over time when comparing baseline to treatment, treatment to outcome, and then outcome to follow-up. [ Time Frame: 4-6 months ]

Enrollment: 4
Study Start Date: April 2008
Study Completion Date: June 2009
Primary Completion Date: June 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: A
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will be administered to all subjects.
Behavioral: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Considered part of the "third wave of CBT" along with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT; Linehan, 1993) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2001), ACT is built upon the strong, research-based foundation of CBT. However, while CBT for psychosis focuses on reducing symptoms, ACT focuses on changing the way in which the person experiences his or her symptoms so that the person can still live his or her life in accordance with his or her life values. Specifically, CBT attempts to reduce delusions by disputing the evidence for the delusion and ACT attempts to increase the person's ability to live his or her life while still experiencing delusions (Hayes, Strosahl & Wilson, 1999).
Other Name: ACT

Detailed Description:
Four patients were recruited from New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College, Payne Whitney Clinic (Manhattan Campus), outpatient psychiatric program. Patients were randomly assigned to a length of baseline before beginning the 8-week ACT treatment. There was be a five-week baseline period for all patients after which two patients will be introduced to ACT treatment in weekly increments. All patients received treatment as usual throughout baseline and ACT treatment. During baseline, patients were assessed by an independent rater every week and during ACT treatment, patients were assessed every other week and at a one-month follow-up. Each participant's assessment results were compared over time, so that there will be an established baseline level of functioning which will be compared to his or her level of functioning during treatment, at the end of treatment, and finally at the one-month follow-up. Hypotheses: It was hypothesized that patients' distress, anxiety and tension due to delusional thinking would decrease over time when comparing baseline to treatment, treatment to outcome, and then outcome to follow-up. Additionally, the number of delusional thoughts and the rate of re-hospitalization was hypothesized to decrease over time.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients will be considered for inclusion in the study if they meet DSM IV diagnostic criteria for:

    • Schizophrenia
    • Schizoaffective disorder
    • Schizophreniform Disorder
    • Delusional Disorder
    • Brief Psychotic Disorder
    • Psychotic Disorder NOS with current delusions (assessed via chart review)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Exclusion criteria include a current diagnosis of Mental Retardation
  • Organic psychosis
  • An inability to participant due to an acute medical condition
  • Substance abuse within the past month, a high level of disorganization
  • An inability to speak English
  • Lack the ability to give informed consent
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00657631

United States, New York
Weill Cornell Medical College Oupatient Treatment Program of New York Presbyterian Hospital
New York, New York, United States, 10065
Sponsors and Collaborators
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Principal Investigator: Yulia Landa, Psy.D. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
  More Information

Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York: Guilford Press.
Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. T. (2001). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford Press.
Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. New York: International Universities Press.
Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D. & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: The Guilford Press.

Responsible Party: Yulia Landa, Psy.D. Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Weill Cornell Medical College Identifier: NCT00657631     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 0801009613
Study First Received: April 8, 2008
Last Updated: October 9, 2009

Keywords provided by Weill Medical College of Cornell University:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Schizophrenia, Paranoid
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
Mental Disorders
Behavioral Symptoms processed this record on May 25, 2017