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Arch Womens Ment Health. 2017 Oct;20(5):645-654. doi: 10.1007/s00737-017-0735-8. Epub 2017 Jun 10.

Acceptance and commitment therapy for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders: development of an inpatient group intervention.

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Department of Psychology, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Stratton Hall, Suite 119, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 235 E. Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-3270, USA.
UNC Department of Psychiatry, 101 Manning Drive, Campus Box #7160, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7160, USA.


Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for childbearing women. Current treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy, have demonstrated modest success in addressing perinatal psychiatric symptoms; however, additional treatment options are needed to address the limitations of current approaches, particularly for women experiencing moderate to severe perinatal mental illness during pregnancy or postpartum. We discuss the use of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) as a promising treatment approach that may be uniquely suited for perinatal women due to its emphasis of values, mindfulness, and acceptance; these psychological constructs notably address the significant psychiatric and behavioral health condition comorbidity, somatic symptoms, and stigma associated with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, we describe the development of a four-session ACT-based group intervention at the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sessions focus on core ACT processes of acceptance, cognitive defusion, present-moment awareness, value identification, and goal setting, and we describe how each of these processes is relevant to the perinatal population. Implications for future clinical applications and research investigations are discussed.


Acceptance and commitment therapy; Perinatal mental health; Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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