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The ACT listserv is available only to ACT members. If you are a cognitive therapist who is not yet a member of ACT, see what you are missing! Please visit the Diplomate section of our website for details on how you can join ACT. Listserv Archives: ACT members have access to listserv archives, which can be searched to access previous discussions. To search the archives, go to http://www.louisville.edu/it/listserv/archives/. You will need to enter your email and set up a password. From there, you may enter you search term (e.g., "adherence") or just browse the posts by month.

Academy of Cognitive Therapy Listserv Press Release

by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. Cognitive Therapy Today, Vol. 9, Issue 1. 2004. Updated 2006. The listserv of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT) puts its members in touch, almost instantaneously, with over 485 cognitive therapists worldwide. ACT is a non-profit organization that disseminates information about cognitive therapy, certifies clinicians as cognitive therapists, and serves the public good. The ACT listserv is an invaluable tool for cognitive therapists who are clinicians, educators, researchers, or administrators. Pose a question or raise an issue on the listserv and ACT members (both newly certified cognitive therapists all the way up to the Founder of Cognitive Therapy) may respond.

In 2005 alone, the listserv received over a thousand queries and responses. Some ACT members sought clinical advice. How do I help my post-traumatic stress patients with their nightmares? What do I do about a patient who wants to keep coming to treatment but does not want to work toward achieving goals? How should I treat a patient with a schizoid personality disorder? How can I help a patient who experiences an anxiety freeze response? What can I do with a patient who suffers from pathological jealousy? What is the best approach for someone with trichotillomania?

Other questioners asked for self-help materials for consumers: for post-coronary patients, for cancer patients, for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and for parents with depressed or conduct disordered children. Others wanted books for their patients to read on forgiveness, clarifying values, enmeshed families, chronic anger, performance anxiety, childhood teasing, bipolar disorder, and health anxiety. The listserv helped members find relaxation tapes, CT materials printed in Spanish, and CT self-help programs for their patients. Clinicians were also able to find internet resources for their patients, with links to consumer organizations such as www.freedomfromfear.org and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (www.nami.org).

Some ACT members had theoretical questions that invariably led to extended discussions, dealing with topics such as constructivism, Buddhism and CT, cognitive vulnerability, metacognitions in worry, the role of emotions in CT, attachment theory and CT, the definition of rational/logical thought, and the relationship among schema, core beliefs, and assumptions. There were also interesting discussions about the similarities and differences of cognitive therapy and rational emotive therapy, values inherent in CT, historical and philo-sophical background of CT, and cultural and gender factors in CT.

Many therapists sought treatment protocols and references to use in their clinical work, research, supervision, or teaching, for diagnoses as varied as conversion and factitious disorders, multiple chemical sensitivity, complicated grief, and body dysmorphic disorder. They requested protocols for patients with co-morbid diagnoses, non-verbal learning disabilities, fear of flying, chronic pain, insomnia, and chronic anger as well as for sexual offenders, prisoners, and for patients who are pre or post bariatric surgery. They also needed treatment manuals for group therapy, family therapy, and play therapy.

Some therapists, particularly those engaged in research, had questions about assessment instruments such as the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale. Others sought scales to measure clinical features such as alexithymia or hope in children. There were interesting responses to questions about predictors of response to CT.

Of course there were a number of miscellaneous questions and issues. Does CBT have side effects? How do I deal with a psychoanalyst who does not want to relinquish treatment with a terminated patient? What can be done with a patient with pseudo-seizures? Can CT be used for personal growth issues? How do I supervise therapists who are religiously fundamental? Forensic questions were also raised, e.g., are psychological autopsies valid?

More and more ACT members started teaching workshops, seminars, and courses and received suggestions for textbooks, videotapes, and curricula. Others requested suggestions for teaching various types of clinicians in CT: B.A. level mental health workers, community mental health counselors, internists, and nurses. We also held a discussion of supervising and assessing cognitive therapists.

Finally, the ACT listserv was invaluable in uncovering resources, e.g., finding cognitive therapists in various corners of the world. Through the listserv we were able to compile a list of clinics in the U.S. where patients can receive low-cost CT. This list is posted on the ACT website. The listserv also enabled us to gather information for the website about CT oriented training programs for graduate students, post-doctoral students, and psychiatric residents. The listserv also helped us answer questions for journalists, such as whether clinicians had found an increase in the incidence of phobias since 9-11.

One of the most rewarding by-products of the ACT listserv has been our ability to link people to one another. Both ACT and the Beck Institute get phone calls, letters, and especially email messages daily, from all over the world. If we do not know an answer, we invariably ask the listserv. In this way, we have linked up patients with therapists, students with mentors, researchers with patient subjects, academicians with other academicians, and journalists with experts. One of my favorite examples involves a researcher from Alabama who asked a question that I thought fairly esoteric. He wanted to know if there was a manualized approach to cognitive therapy for depression “that incorporated the real world barriers to participation in society that people with spinal cord injuries face,” so he could design an outcome study for this population. If not for the ACT listserv, it is extremely unlikely that he would have discovered a cognitive psychotherapeutic/psychoeducational program for people who have spinal cord injuries in Sweden. An ACT member created this program in 1996 but has not yet published his results. The two researchers have decided to investigate the possibility of collaborating in their work.