Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is gaining traction as an effective therapy for a wide range of presenting concerns. Limited research and discussion has been published focused on utilizing ACT with older adults. The ACT model is proposed to be a good fit for this population because many older adults may already be values orientated due to awareness that their lifetime is limited. A trans-diagnostic approach that normalizes experiences common to older age may be advantageous given older adults often present with heterogeneous issues and life experiences. A case study of an 89-year-old woman experiencing late-life clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder is presented. A significant factor contributing to her distress was her struggle with the cognitive and physical changes associated with aging. Results suggest that a brief ACT course implemented by a relative novice ACT therapist was effective in reducing psychological inflexibility as well as reducing distress to non-clinical levels at 6 weeks post therapy. Potential implications for adapting ACT with older adults are discussed, as well as reflections on some of the potential challenges for clinicians who are ACT beginners.
Roberts, S.L. & Sedley, B. (2015). Acceptance and commitment therapy with older adults: Rationale and case study of an 89-year-old with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Case Studies. Retrieved from http://ccs.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/06/06/1534650115589754.abstract.