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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Introduction and Skills Building (CLPS11061)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is open to health and social care professionals who are enrolled on the DClinPsychol or PG Dip / MSc. Psychological Therapies. It is open to other health and social care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements below only by the agreement with the course organiser. Please contact the Course Organiser well in advance to ensure you are eligible.

The course is delivered online across semesters one and two, using asynchronous and live online sessions. The live sessions are timetabled, whilst the asynchronous sessions are not. In total the course is made up of 15 lessons, each one is approximately 1.5 hours of asynchronous learning and 1.5 hours of live online session. The course will embrace a flipped classroom pedagogy, in which live digital interaction will be used to deepen and practice elements of education that are delivered in a self-paced manner.

The course covers the basic conceptual knowledge, skills and personal qualities required to deliver the modern form of cognitive behavioural therapy called Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.
Course description This course will introduce you to the Head, Hands and Heart of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, said as one word, never as three letters). The head of ACT is the knowledge and concepts of ACT, the theory of Psychological Flexibility, the underpinning theory and philosophical assumptions of Contextual Behavioural Science, and the parallel development of Relational Frame Theory. In addition, you will learn about the empirical evidence for ACT in cross sectional, experimental and controlled trial outcome research. The hands of ACT refers to the craft and skills of delivering ACT, the practice elements of how to actually do it. The heart of ACT refers to the personal qualities of the therapist that ACT training aims to cultivate. This involves the therapist becoming more psychologically flexible in their professional environment. You will learn these aspects through pre-recorded lectures, watching video of simulated therapy, analysing these interactions, discussion, Q&A, and engaging in role-play and real play in an online platform.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must be suitably qualified health and social care professionals (e.g. allied health professionals, applied psychologists, social workers, medical practitioners, nurses) who have existing experience (minimum 6 months) of delivering structured psychological interventions (e.g. CBT, IPT, BA, IAPT). Must also have experience of caseload management including risk assessment and management (minimum 6 months).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Course Start Date 19/09/2022
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 173 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written assignment (Case conceptualization) (max 5000 words) 100%
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided by the course organiser / tutor and by peers on skills building exercises such as a role plays and real plays. For students undertaking the course for credit, formative feedback will be given on a plan for the case conceptualisation.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically understand the theoretical model underlying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (History and development of ACT, Behaviour analysis, Relational Frame Theory, Functional Contextualism, Psychological Flexibility Model).
  2. Demonstrate the application of basic ACT skills in practice (Developing an ACT informed case conceptualization, targeting functional processes in sessions, using experiential exercises and metaphors).
  3. Personally apply ACT skills and knowledge to improve practitioner psychological flexibility (Use of ACT in personal self-reflection, dealing with practitioner barriers).
  4. Identify opportunities for applying contextual behavioural science in practitioner work setting and to contribute to the advancement of the field.
Reading List
Essential reading

Twohig, M. P. (2012). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 19(4), 499-507. doi:10.1016/j.cbpra.2012.04.003
Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2012). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (2nd Edition): The Process and Practice of Mindful Change (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Zettle, R. D. (2005). The Evolution of a Contextual Approach to Therapy: From Comprehensive Distancing to ACT. International Journal, 1(2), 77-89.
Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Wilson, K. G. (2012). Contextual Behavioral Science: Creating a science more adequate to the challenge of the human condition. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 1(1-2), 1-16. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2012.09.004

Additional Reading

Turrell, S. L. & Bell., M. (2016). Act for Adolescents - Treating teens and adolescents in individual and group therapy. Oakland: New Harbinger.
Hayes, L. L., & Ciarrochi, J. (2015). The Thriving Adolescent - Using acceptance and commitment therapy and positive psychology to help teens manage emotions, achieve goals and build connection. Oakland: New Harbinger.
Wilson, K. G., & Dufrene, T. (2008). Mindfulness for Two: An acceptance and commitment therapy approach to mindfulness in psychotherapy. New Harbinger, Oakland.
Ramnero, J., & Torneke, N. (2008). The ABCs of Human Behavior: Behavioural Principles for the Practicing Clinician. New Harbinger, Oakland, CA.
Torneke, N. (2010). Learning RFT: An Introduction to Relational Frame Theory and its Clinical Application. Context Press, Reno, NV.
Villatte, M., Villatte, J. L., & Hayes, S. C. (2016). Mastering the Clinical Conversation: Language as Intervention. New York: Guilford Press.
Graham, C. D., Gouick, J., Krahe, C., & Gillanders, D. (2016). A systematic review of the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in chronic disease and long-term conditions. Clinical Psychology Review, 46, 46-58.
A-Tjak, J. G. L., Davis, M. L., Morina, N., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. a J., & Emmelkamp, P. M. G. (2014). A Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Clinically Relevant Mental and Physical Health Problems. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 84(1), 30-36. doi:10.1159/000365764
Swain, J., Hancock, K., Dixon, A., & Bowman, J. (2015). Acceptance and commitment therapy for children: A systematic review of intervention studies. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 1-13. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2015.02.001
Levin, M. E., Hildebrandt, M. J., Lillis, J., & Hayes, S. C. (2012). The impact of treatment components suggested by the psychological flexibility model: a meta-analysis of laboratory-based component studies. Behavior therapy, 43(4), 741-56. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2012.05.003
Ost, L.-G. (2014). The efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 61, 105-21.
Atkins, P. W. B., Ciarrochi, J., Gaudiano, B. A., Bricker, J. B., Donald, J., Rovner, G., Hayes, S. C. (2017). Departing from the essential features of a high quality systematic review of psychotherapy: A response to Ost (2014) and recommendations for improvement. Behaviour Research and Therapy.
Foody, M., Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., Torneke, N., Luciano, C., Stewart, I., & McEnteggart, C. (2014). RFT for clinical use: The example of metaphor. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2014.08.001
Foody, M., Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Luciano, C. (2013). An empirical investigation of hierarchical versus distinction relations in a self-based ACT exercise. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 13(3), 373-385.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPsychological Therapies,Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,Psychological Flexibility,Third Wave CBT
Course organiserDr David Gillanders
Tel: (0131) 537 6253
Course secretaryMr Timothy Abbot
Tel: (0131 6)50 8498
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