Which is better- ACT or Traditional CBT?

Michael Zito, Montclair State University, USA
Eddie O'Connor, Performance Excellence Center at Mary Free Bed, USA

Theme: Mental training/interventions

Program ID: WKSP-27

Presentation: October 5, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Melrose


As the popularity of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy grows, it is interesting to consider whether this third wave behavior therapy should replace cognitive-behavioral interventions that employ a different emphasis or whether both techniques are still useful to sport psychologists. A structured comparison and debate between two sport psychologists regarding the theoretical bases, advantages, limitations, and application of each based on empirical support will be the primary teaching method. The traditional cognitive-behavioral intervention is usually active and directive focusing on altering thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that interfere with athletic performance. Interventions redirect attention to the most productive elements of a task with the ultimate goal of limiting conscious thought. Behavioral practice is done to strive for automaticity. ACT differs primarily by taking an observing attitude to accept internal experiences as they are without seeking to alter them. This frees the athlete to behave in a more valued direction with less interference from negative thoughts and emotional distress, thus improving performance. There is considerable efficacy research to support both ACT (Vollestad, Nielsen, & Nielsen, 2012; Powers, Zum Vorde Sive Vording, & Emmelkamp, 2008) and the athlete specific Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) approach (Gardner & Moore, 2012) as well as CBT (Zinsser, Bunker & Williams, 2006; Vealey, 2007; Weinberg & Gould, 2011). The utility of each will be demonstrated in a case study as attendees create a treatment plan from both perspectives. The goal of this workshop is to enable practitioners to understand the pros and cons of each approach, consider with which cases each approach might be most useful and whether being trained in both approaches would be helpful. Handouts will include power point slides and case scenarios.

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