Cognitive and psychological flexibility after a traumatic brain injury and the implications for treatment in acceptance-based therapies: A conceptual review
2015 Taylor & Francis This paper provides a selective review of cognitive and psychological flexibility in the context of treatment for psychological distress after traumatic brain injury, with a focus on acceptance-based therapies. Cognitive flexibility is a component of executive function that is referred to mostly in the context of neuropsychological research and practice. Psychological flexibility, from a clinical psychology perspective, is linked to health and well-being and is an identified treatment outcome for therapies such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). There are a number of overlaps between the constructs. They both manifest in the ability to change behaviour (either a thought or an action) in response to environmental change, with similarities in neural substrate and mental processes. Impairments in both show a strong association with psychopathology. People with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) often suffer impairments in their cognitive flexibility as a result of damage to areas controlling executive processes but have a positive response to therapies that promote psychological flexibility. Overall, psychological flexibility appears a more overarching construct and cognitive flexibility may be a subcomponent of it but not necessarily a pre-requisite. Further research into therapies which claim to improve psychological flexibility, such as ACT, needs to be undertaken in TBI populations in order to clarify its utility in this group.
Whiting, D. L., Deane, F. P., Simpson, G. K., McLeod, H. J. & Ciarrochi, J. (2017). Cognitive and psychological flexibility after a traumatic brain injury and the implications for treatment in acceptance-based therapies: A conceptual review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 27 (2), 263-299.