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How acceptance and commitment therapy changed the perspective on support provision for staff working with intellectual disability

Mauro Leoni (Department of Disability, Fondazione Istituto Ospedaliero di Sospiro Onlus, Cremona, Italy AND University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy)
Serafino Corti (Department of Disability, Fondazione Istituto Ospedaliero di Sospiro Onlus, Cremona, Italy AND Catholic University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy)
Roberto Cavagnola (Department of Disability, Fondazione Istituto Ospedaliero di Sospiro Onlus, Cremona, Italy)
Olive Healy (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Stephen J. Noone (Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Publication date: 4 January 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a review on evidence-based intervention concerning the reduction of stress/burnout and the improvement of wellbeing for professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities (IDs).

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical models and literature related to stress reduction are reviewed from a classical cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) approach up to the novel contribution of the third generation of cognitive-behavioural therapies, with a specific focus on contextual behavioural sciences and acceptance and commitment Therapy (ACT).

Findings

Despite the improvement of CBT-based interventions in reducing risk factors for stress and burnout, the limitations of a problem-solving approach when applied to challenging environments like those of direct support to persons with ID, are still large. Interventions based on the core processes and the related techniques of ACT appear to be promising in promoting the well being of paid carers reducing the risk of burnout, and increasing psychological flexibility. Such factors can increase the ability to clarify personal and professional values, as well as the opportunities to act consistently with such values and achieve greater social reinforcement in the work environment.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the existing research are presented and discussed. There are several aspects that future research should address in order to promote staff training protocols that could be extensively applied with preventive aims. Organisations could take the available procedures and methodologies and implement these evidence-based practices within existing training.

Originality/value

The research on the application of ACT and third generation of behavioural approaches to the wellbeing and behaviour of staff supporting persons with IDs remains limited. The present paper is the first narrative review on this topic.

Keywords

Citation

Leoni, M., Corti, S., Cavagnola, R., Healy, O. and Noone, S.J. (2016), "How acceptance and commitment therapy changed the perspective on support provision for staff working with intellectual disability", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 59-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-09-2015-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited