Acceptance and Commitment Therapy SIG

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Hot off the press: Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Early December saw the publication of the first issue of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. Published by Elsevier, the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science is the official publication of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). The journal aims to publish papers written by researchers, practitioners, and theoreticians that are relevant to the contextual behavioral approach. What is more, the contents of the first issue are free to everyone. To access those articles, click here.



Reflections on ACT SIG’s Networking Event: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Training for Social Workers in Sierra Leone with Dr Ross White (30/11/12)

In Community, London Network on December 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

We were honoured to attend Dr White’s presentation on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) training for Social Workers in Sierra Leone on the 30th of November 2012. Dr White gave an informative and emotive presentation on ACT-inspired work currently taking place in Sierra Leone. We were impressed by the team’s considerate approach in delivering ACT training in a low-income country -taking into account details of Sierra Leone’s painful recent history, cultural characteristics, and being cautious not to impose ideas or constructs derived from a Westernised context.

The importance of this project is revealed by appreciating the immense need for mental health services in Sierra Leone as well as by acknowledging the difficult conditions faced by the group facilitators and training participants (treacherous travel conditions, interrupted electricity supply, high temperatures, group participants who shared a recent traumatic past). Dr White described being moved by the participants’ engagement and hospitality as well as by their willingness to incorporate the ACT skills into their own work as social workers. It was particularly useful to hear an anecdotal description of Dr White observing a participant skilfully replicating an ACT exercise in their work environment as a social worker for young people in Sierra Leone.

An interesting aspect of this presentation was the way by which ACT was tailored to fit the specific cultural context of Sierra Leone. In addition to a number of mainstream ACT metaphors and mindfulness exercises that seemed to work well (e.g., lifeline exercise, self-compassion exercise, the Matrix), the facilitators were innovative in developing tailor-made exercises and metaphors. For example, they used traditional songs to communicate ACT-related themes and developed defusion skills through the use of song and dance.

The project was evaluated by collecting questionnaire data on how the intervention impacted the training participants (at pre, post, and at three months post training). The outcomes were encouraging in demonstrating a drop in participants’ trauma symptoms, increased value-based behaviour and an increase in psychological flexibility. Albeit, preliminary, these outcomes emphasize the value of further expanding this program. Dr White spoke about plans to roll-out another training program in Sierra Leone and for a scheme to set-up a supervision structure for participants who graduate the ACT training course.

The presentation left us eager to hear about future developments of this program in Sierra Leone and we will be on the look out for other programs that aim to implement this type of intervention in other low and medium income countries. In addition to the humanitarian value of such projects, there is also great value in learning if and how ACT interventions can be transferred cross-culturally.

* The ACT training program in Sierra Leone was made possible through the financial contribution of the charity, COMMIT and ACT. For more information visit:

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