Rachel Cotter

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Application in a Real-World Alcohol and Other Drug Community Setting

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Treating addictive behaviours in alcohol and drug populations in real-world settings is a challenging and complex task. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an emerging therapeutic approach that has demonstrated promising results with alcohol and other drug populations. ACT aims to increase mindful awareness of the present moment, enable defusion from unhelpful thoughts, and commit to valued actions. Ms Cotter developed and delivered an ACT group treatment programme for substance use disorders and coexisting mental health problems and evaluated the outcomes from four groups. She found that ACT was positively received by participants, but produced mixed results in terms of reducing substance use. Significant improvements in anxiety, stress, mood management, and mindfulness were found. Additional research drawing on larger sample sizes and control groups was recommended for investigating the effectiveness of ACT for those with substance use problems, particularly in alcohol and other drug services that commonly addresses dual diagnosis.

Dr Simon Bennett
Dr Shane Harvey

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