Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Forensic Inpatients

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

John McNeill

First Committee Member

Courtney Welton-Mitchell

Second Committee Member

Lavita Nadkarni


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Qualitative Research; Treatment Manual; Assessment; Behavior/CBT; Diagnosis; Therapy in Forensic Settings; Inpatient treatment; Forensic Mental Health; Therapy with Forensic Inpatients; Forensic Hospital; ACT


This paper provides a preliminary exploration of the application of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) within the context of a forensic hospital. ACT has a reputation for being a clinically flexible and empirically sound therapeutic intervention, which appears uniquely suited for forensic hospital settings. However, no research has been published to date on the use of ACT as a treatment for forensic inpatients. The ACT approach directly aims to help people let go of the unwinnable struggles to control symptoms of mental illness, and instead focus on constructing a "life worth living." ACT interventions can equip forensic patients with the values and flexible behavioral repertoires necessary to lead lives that are personally meaningful and satisfying and do not involve inflicting harm to others. The ACT model also attempts to minimize the therapist-patient hierarchy through an emphasis on the ubiquitous nature of human suffering. This approach can be particularly useful when working with marginalized, treatment-resistant patients. Continued research on the application of ACT with forensic inpatients is recommended.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


42 pages

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