Declaration of interest
The efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in psychosis has been reported but not for medication-resistant psychosis.
To test the efficacy of ACT in a sample of community-residing patients with persisting psychotic symptoms. (Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12608000210370.)
The primary outcome was overall mental state at post-therapy (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale – total); secondary outcomes were psychotic symptom dimensions and functioning. In total, 96 patients were randomised to ACT (n = 49) or befriending (n = 47). Symptom, functioning and process measures were administered at baseline, post-therapy and 6 months later.
There was no group difference on overall mental state. In secondary analyses the ACT group showed greater improvement in positive symptoms and hallucination distress at follow-up: Cohen's d = 0.52 (95% CI 0.07–0.98) and 0.65 (95% CI 0.24–1.06), respectively.
Improvements reflected the treatment focus on positive symptoms; however, absence of process-measure changes suggests that the ACT intervention used did not manipulate targeted processes beyond befriending. Symptom-specific therapy refinements, improved investigation of process and attention to cognitive functioning and dose are warranted in future research.
Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (Project Grant 487335). We acknowledge the support of: Alfred Health, Austin Health, Eastern Health, Healthscope, Melbourne Health, Mercy Health, MIND Australia, Monash Health, NEAMI, Peninsula Health and St Vincent's Health.
- © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017.
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