Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Status: Modest Research Support


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a behavioral therapy that is based on Relational Frame Theory, a theory of how human language influences experience and behavior. ACT aims to change the relationship individuals have with their own thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that are feared or avoided. Acceptance and mindfulness strategies are used to teach patients to decrease avoidance, attachment to cognitions, and increase focus on the present. Patients learn to clarify their goals and values and to commit to behavioral change strategies. This treatment has been applied to a number of conditions, including OCD.

Key References (in reverse chronological order)

Twohig, M.P., Hayes, S.C., Plumb, J.C., Pruitt, L.D., Collins, A.B., Hazlett-Stevens, H., & Woidneck, M.R. (2010). A randomized clinical trial of acceptance and commitment therapy versus progressive relaxation training for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 705-716.

Clinical Resources

Luoma, J. B., Hayes, S. C., & Walser, R. D. (2007). Learning ACT: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy skills-training manual for therapists. NY: Harbinger Publications.

Hayes, S. C. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life: The new Acceptance and Commitment therapy. NY: New Harbinger Publications.

Hayes, S. C., & Strosahl, K. D. (2005). A practical guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. NY: Springer Science.

Hayes. S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2003). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. NY: Guilford.

Training Opportunities

The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science website provides a full listing of resources and training opportunities, including books and clinical tools.