Original Research

Developing a brief acceptance and commitment therapy model for industrial psychologists

Xander van Lill, Rinet van Lill
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 48 | a1897 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v48i0.1897 | © 2022 Xander van Lill, Rinet van Lill | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 March 2021 | Published: 25 February 2022

About the author(s)

Xander van Lill, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Rinet van Lill, Gauteng Department of Health, Bertha Gxowa Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: Mental health distress is on the rise, which has significant implications for labour productivity. Industrial psychologists, who are equipped to offer work-based counselling, can play a vital role in alleviating this burden.

Research purpose: This study was an investigation of current literature on industrial psychologists as counsellors, with a focus on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) as a framework to deliver brief work-based counselling. The aim was to offer a practical model of counselling, derived from the literature, for industrial psychologists to perform work-based counselling.

Motivation for the study: There is a paucity of literature pertaining to evidence-based guidelines that industrial psychologists can follow to provide counselling. This study attempts to expand industrial psychologists’ counselling skill set by proposing an ACT intervention that can be applied as a brief counselling process in the workplace.

Research approach/design and method: A systematic literature review of three separate literature streams yielded 1297 publications. After further analysis, 25 publications that met the criteria for relevance and quality were considered to create a model for workplace counselling.

Main findings: Attention to the role of industrial psychologists as counsellors dwindled after the 1960s but has recently been given renewed attention by South African scholars. The literature review of experimental ACT designs revealed evidence-based guidelines that were combined to create the ACT for Work Well-being Model.

Practical/managerial implications: The ACT for Work Well-being Model is a brief counselling protocol to offer systematic steps that industrial psychologists can implement during brief work-based counselling to address anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Contribution/value-add: The proposed model is designed to stimulate further empirical validation and ensure evidence-based practice.


work-based counselling; acceptance and commitment therapy; mental health; industrial psychology; brief therapy


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Crossref Citations

1. The role of the industrial psychologist in managing the psychological impact of COVID-19 in the workplace
Thapelo Sendry Moralo, Lené Ilyna Graupner
Frontiers in Psychology  vol: 13  year: 2022  
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.920894