Speech Therapists and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness and acceptance-based therapeutic approach based on behavioral schools of therapy. Extensive research and clinical trials have shown that the combination of this approach with speech therapy techniques can lead to significantly improved outcomes, particularly for speakers of any age who stutter.

The primary objective of ACT is to provide values-based psychological flexibility skills in the face of life challenges. One of the key claims of ACT is that attempts to either control outcomes or avoid problematic thoughts and feelings leads to further distress and dysfunction; however, by opening up to and accepting even problematic feelings, individuals can live and function more fully and in alignment with their values. ACT stands in contrast to other schools of behavioral thought, notably cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which encourages making conscious changes to unhelpful thoughts.

For individuals who stutter, the benefits of an ACT approach can be significant. A clinical trial in 2012 selected 20 adults to target psychosocial functioning, readiness for therapy/change, mindfulness skills, and frequency of stuttering in two-hour sessions over the course of eight weeks. The findings showed significant levels of improvement in all four areas at the conclusion of the direct therapeutic period of the trial, and a three-month follow-up showed that these gains were maintained over time.

In summary, a blended approach of ACT and speech therapy techniques can be a potent tool in targeting goals for speakers who stutter.

Have questions about ACT or stuttering? Reach out to a Sidekick therapist today!


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for adults who stutter: psychosocial adjustment and speech fluency - PubMed (nih.gov)