School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Jacqueline Stump

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 1415

Start date

Feb 2014

Submission date

Feb 2016

Jacqueline Stump


The mechanisms of change involved in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A mixed methods approach


In the last three decades, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been developed as a new model for treating psychological distress and is gaining increasing popularity. ACT is frequently introduced as the ‘third wave’ of the behavioural therapies and proponents of this model argue that ACT outperforms current 'gold standard' Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in treating a range of psychological conditions. However, more than twenty years of empirical investigation has produced cloudy results. If ACT is to distinguish itself as a new, third generation of the behavioural therapies, it needs to first demonstrate that it is an effective and empirically supported method of treatment, and secondly that its mechanisms of change are divergent to those of established therapies.

The present research program aims to improve our understanding by comparing ACT and CBT in terms of outcome and mechanisms of change. Initially, it aims to examine ACT's effectiveness in comparison to CBT in the context of group therapy for adults suffering from elevated stress. The second order question of how ACT brings about change will also be investigated. A mixed methods approach will be utilised in order to better understand how the client’s experience of ACT matches up to the processes of change proposed by ACT theorists. It is anticipated that using both qualitative and quantitative research tools will help to develop a more detailed and accurate picture of ACT as a treatment model.

Why my research is important

A deeper understanding of how the ACT approach brings about change in individuals could allow for more effective and efficient treatment decisions in the practice of clinical psychology.


  • Australian Postgraduate Award
  • UWA Top-up Scholarship


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