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Creating a Compendium of Third Wave Therapy Strategies


Researcher Introduction

This research is being conducted by Michelle Rous for fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology with endorsement in Health Psychology. The academic supervisors involved are clinical psychologists Dr Don Baken and Dr Shane Harvey (Massey University Psychology Clinic, Palmerston North). This project contributes to the growing body of Third Wave Therapy research, firstly by identifying strategies from three evidence-based third wave therapies which has prospects as a measure for identifying and recording therapist practice in these areas, and secondly, by investigating relationships between strategies from these third wave therapies, thus identifying areas of overlap and difference.

Project Description and Invitation

Firstly, strategies were identified from three Third Wave Therapies, namely Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Following this, the strategies were validated by being reviewed and edited by therapists experienced in these therapies.

Your participation in this study involves completing a card-sorting procedure, where each card presents a single strategy. Data generated from participants’ strategy arrangements will enable the creation of a model depicting how these strategies relate. The distance between strategies on the model represent how similar (or dissimilar) the strategies are, as judged by the overall group of participants. The map will reveal groups of strategies considered to be more similar to each other than other strategies in the model. Groups lying next to each other represent similar groups, and groups lying opposite each other represent groups considered to be most dissimilar.

We would like to invite all therapists from mental health disciplines to participate in this sorting procedure, to further our understanding of Third Wave Therapies. If you would like to participate, please complete the informed consent form after reading through this information sheet.

Participant Identification and Recruitment

Participants for the expert sample will be recruited via email; snowballing through networks of Massey University staff and potential participants; and newsletter advertisements of New Zealand organisations in mental health disciplines. Participants whose contact information is freely available or which is given to the researcher will be contacted directly, otherwise those invited to participate will be unknown to the researcher. They will be contactable and sent the required materials and information only upon their response to the recruitment advert with their contact details. 

  • Selection criteria: therapists from a mental health discipline (for example, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, youth workers and social workers), English-speaking
  • Exclusion criteria: therapists from unrelated disciplines (EG occupational therapist, physiotherapists)

30 therapists will be recruited to achieve sufficient power for the statistical analysis being used. 30 participants will also be recruited from a lay sample to check the reliability of responses across different language groups (to check for the presence of different understandings of terms between therapists and non-therapists).

A summary of the findings from this study will be emailed to participants, should they request this.

Project Procedures

Should you choose to participate, you will be asked to compLete a participant details form, indicating your name, age, gender, ethnicity and details regarding your professional discipline and practice.

You will be sorting a set of strategies identified from the three therapies. There are four phases involving grouping strategies based on levels of similarity. Instructions for this procedure will be provided by mail along with a link for a demonstration video. This procedure should take you around 60 minutes, up to a maximum of 90 minutes, including recording the sort-arrangement on the response form.

Once you have finished the procedure and recorded your arrangements for all phases in the response form, please scan the consent form, participant details form and response form to your computer and email to the researcher at

Data Management

Data from participants’ combined sorting arrangements will enable the generation of a model of third wave therapy strategies for each sample. All non-identifiable information (including age, gender, ethnicity, educational and occupational details) will be reported to describe the demographics of each sample as a whole.

A summary of the findings will be emailed to you should you request this.

Your contact details will not be reported and all efforts will be made to ensure this information is accessible only to the researcher. All data will be kept in a locked computer owned by the researcher and printed and kept in a locked storage cupboard owned by one of the supervisors.

Participant’s Rights

You are under no obligation to accept this invitation. If you decide to participate, you have the right to:

  • decline to answer any particular question;
  • withdraw from the study;
  • ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
  • provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you give permission to the researcher;
  • be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded.
  • Completion and return of the required forms implies consent.  You have the right to decline to answer any particular question.

Project Contacts


Michelle Rous:

Supervisors (clinical psychologists)

Dr. Don Baken:
Dr. Shane Harvey:

Please contact us if you have any questions.

This project has been evaluated by peer review and judged to be low risk.  Consequently, it has not been reviewed by one of the University’s Human Ethics Committees. 
The researcher(s) named above are responsible for the ethical conduct of this research.
If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research that you wish to raise with someone other than the researcher(s), please contact Dr Brian Finch, Director, Research Ethics, telephone 06 356 9099 x 86015, email