Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Project

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This research study is for family members or friends of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. It will help us examine if a counselling program based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) would be beneficial for these caregivers.

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If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Makayla Lanteigne, the ACT Project Research Assistant, at (506) 800-3250 or [email protected] The recruitment period for this project will close November 1, 2022.

About the ACT Project

In 2021, the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick (ASNB) launched a free Tele-Counselling and Psychotherapy program for family members or friends of people living with dementia. Participants have consistently reported positive outcomes.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was chosen as the approach of choice for friends and family of people living with dementia. ACT is used to address a wide range of challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, despite its prevalence in therapy, scientific studies on ACT delivered through tele therapy for this group are limited.

Through this research study, the ASNB in partnership with the University of NB, wants to understand if the ACT Counselling Program helps caregivers mood and manage feelings of stress, as well as understand how this program can be improved.

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

The principle of ACT is that fighting emotions and thoughts leads to more distress. ACT works by exploring your thoughts, emotions, and values. In other words, it emphasizes emotional openness and the ability to choose behaviours that are in line with your personal values. For example, someone who feels anxious will learn to accept and observe the feeling as part of their journey instead of fighting it. Emotions and thoughts are viewed as just that- not facts. From there, ACT works by identifying the individual’s values (e.g., independence, family, community) and encourages the person to engage in behaviours that are in line with these values.

What can participants expect from the study?

Participation in this study is completely voluntary and involves the following:

  • Randomly assigned to receive either the ACT Tele-Counselling Program or Usual Care services.
    • ACT Program: 6 to 8 counselling sessions which last between 45 minutes and 1 hour long over 3-6 months by telephone, videoconference or text (your choice!)
    • Usual Care: 2 check-in telephone calls from ASNB staff over 3 months.
  • Answer two sets of questionnaires-- the first before and the second immediately after the ACT Program or Usual Care. These questionnaires include questions about the participant’s age, gender, mood, and feelings.
     
  • Based on demographics, some participants will be asked to participate in a recorded 1-hour interview over the telephone or by videoconference to understand what they thought about the ACT Program and how it can be improved.

Am I eligible to participate?

We are looking for 80 family and friend caregivers of persons living with dementia that meet the following criteria:

  • Over 18 years old;
  • Currently caring for a family member or friend with dementia or Alzheimers;
  • Live in New Brunswick;

* Participants will also be asked to answer a survey to make sure that the study is appropriate for them. If they are not eligible to participate in the study, we will assist them to find appropriate services at the ASNB and elsewhere.

What should I do if I want to participate?

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact, Makayla Lanteigne, the ACT Project Research Assistant at (506) 800-3250 or [email protected]

This project is funded by the Mental Health Research Canada and New Brunswick Health Research Foundation through the New Brunswick Mental Health Impact Grant. In addition, this project would not be possible without the support of the following organizations: the University of NB, Alzheimer Society of NB, Mount Allison University, McMaster University, University McGill, and the University of Ottawa.

Logos: Mental Health Research Canada, New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, UNB, Mount Allison University

This project has been reviewed by the UNB Research Ethics Board and is on file as # 2022-055. If you have any questions about the study please contact Pam Durepos at [email protected] (506) 292-6736. If you wish to discuss this project with someone who is not involved in the study, please contact Dr. David Coleman, Chair UNB Fredericton Research Ethics Board at [email protected] or (506) 453-5189.