Teams are often comfortable with providing supportive therapy, but more formal, theory-driven therapeutic interventions can often benefit many individuals with a severe mental illness. Empirically-supported therapeutic interventions are necessary to address common problems with which Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) service recipients present, such as anxiety, depression, grief, poor emotion regulation, ineffective interpersonal skills, delusions, low self-esteem, and trauma symptoms.
Such interventions include, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy to address cognitive distortions and misinterpretation of social cues, which is especially common for individuals with paranoia; relaxation skills, such as relaxation breathing techniques; mindfulness interventions; trauma-therapy, which is often needed given the high rate of abuse experienced by this clinical population; exposure therapy to address anxiety; dialectical behavioral therapy to address emotional instability and interpersonal problems; and family therapy to address interpersonal conflicts and reduce expressed emotion, which may evolve from families personal stress and/or poor understanding of loved one’s mental illness. Motivational interviewing or enhancement therapy is also a core evidence-based practice essential to working with individuals to resolve ambivalence and build more intrinsic motivation to change a problematic behavior.
It is very important that the whole team is well-trained in the basics of motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral treatment, and trauma-informed care, as well as receiving refresher training on the basics of psychotic symptoms and related cognitive impairments. Ideally, team therapists receive further training in CBT for psychosis, empirically supported trauma treatments (e.g., Seeking Safety), and fundamentals of dialectical behavior therapy. It is typical for the ACT Team Leader to be one of the more clinically sophisticated team members and delivers some of the therapy within the team.
Learn More about empirically-supported therapies that may be relevant to those receiving ACT services through these resources.