Evaluating an interactive acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) workshop delivered to trained therapists working with cancer patients in the United Kingdom: a mixed methods approach
Moschopoulou E., Brewin D., Ridge D., Donovan S., Taylor SJC., Bourke L., Eva G., Khan I., Chalder T., Bhui K., Chalder T., Gribben J., Harris MM., Jones L., Korszun A., Little P., McCrone P., Morgan A., Roylance R., Thaha M., White P.
Background: SURECAN (SUrvivors’ Rehabilitation Evaluation after CANcer) is a multi-phase study developing and evaluating an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention integrated with exercise and work when highly valued (thus we called the intervention ACT+), for people who have completed treatment for cancer but who have low quality of life. We developed a training programme for therapists working in different psychological services to be delivered over 2–3 days. Our aim was to evaluate the extent to which the training could improve therapists’ knowledge and confidence to deliver ACT+ to cancer patients in a trial setting. Methods: Three interactive workshops were delivered to 29 therapists from three clinical settings in London and in Sheffield. A mixed-methods approach was used. Questionnaires were designed to assess knowledge and confidence in using ACT+ with people who have low quality of life after cancer treatment. They were self-administered immediately prior to and after each workshop. Open text-based questions were used to elicit feedback about the workshops alongside a satisfaction scale. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of therapists (n = 12) to explore their views about the training more deeply, and how it might be optimised. Results: Quantitative analysis showed that knowledge of ACT, as well as confidence in using the ACT+ intervention in this setting increased significantly after training (28.6 and 33.5% increase in the median score respectively). Qualitative analysis indicated that most therapists were satisfied with the content and structure of the programme, valued the rich resources provided and enjoyed the practice-based approach. Potential barriers/facilitators to participation in the trial and to the successful implementation of ACT+ were identified. For some therapists, delivering a manualised intervention, as well as supporting exercise- and work-related goals as non-specialists was seen as challenging. At the same time, therapists valued the opportunity to be involved in research, whilst training in a new therapy model. Conclusions: Training can effectively improve the knowledge and confidence of therapists from different clinical backgrounds to deliver a modified ACT intervention to cancer patients in a trial setting.