A qualitative evaluation of an ACT-based substance misuse treatment programme for service users within a secure mental health setting [2018]

The purpose of this paper is to understand service users’ experience of a new acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based substance misuse programme. The programme is designed for people in secure mental health services, presenting with complex mental health difficulties and co-occurring substance misuse problems.

A qualitative approach informed an exploratory pilot of this novel intervention. Service users completing a 16-week ACT programme were invited to participate in the current study. Out of the nine individuals enroled on the programme, six opted to take part in the exploratory pilot and completed semi-structured interviews following part 1 of the programme (eight weeks). Four of these participants proceeded into part 2 of the programme (eight weeks) and completed a further semi-structured interview.

The thematic analysis identified five main themes: “Increased awareness of personal values and the impact of substance use on values”, “Taking committed action towards values”, “Coping skills and the application of skills to manage difficult thoughts and feelings”, “Personal development” and “Use of metaphors/analogies”.

Research limitations/implications
A quantitative evaluation of clinical outcomes is recommended to gauge further programme effectiveness.

Practical implications
The findings provide preliminary support for the use of an ACT-based substance misuse programme in a secure mental health setting.

This study evaluates the use of a novel ACT-based substance misuse intervention with people in secure mental health care with co-occurring mental health and substance misuse difficulties. This paper provides an in-depth understanding of service users’ experience of participating in this new treatment programme.

Lacey M. Johnson, Kelly J. Elsegood, Charlotte Lennox
Advances in Dual Diagnosis, 2018