Research & Lecturing

Research is meant to inform practice and guide our clinical interventions. It is what helps us know if what we are doing is likely to work for people with various problems. I also lecture as it is training the up and coming practitioners to the field. Showing them the way and improving our field overall.

The YOLO (You Only Live Once) Program

The YOLO Program was what I designed for my Doctor of Philosophy degree. It is a mental health promotion program based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT - said as one word not initials).

The aim of the Program was to teach university students a set of life skills that translate into positive outcomes, such as psychological flexibility, increased wellbeing and life satisfaction, and decreased distress.

In life, it is not just the absence of distress that leads to feeling better, but it is the increase in flourishing and wellbeing acquired through the creation of a meaningful life that makes the biggest difference.

Through a large scale Randomised Controlled Trial (N = 1,162) that compared a treatment group to a waitlist control, we found that Program use was associated with a variety of outcomes, such as:

  • Reduced depression, anxiety, and stress.

  • Increased life satisfaction, wellbeing, self-compassion, and academic performance behaviours.

  • Increase in ACT skills of acceptance, defusion, valued living, and present moment awareness.

  • The improvement in ACT skills were found to mediate the improvements noted, which means these skills were responsible for the changes.

Other YOLO Projects

Other projects exploring the use of YOLO with various populations are underway. These include:

  • YOLO for students in year 11-12 (University of Adelaide PhD student).

  • YOLO for individuals with sub-clinical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Monash University PhD student).

  • YOLO translated into Italian for Italian young carers (post-doc researcher).

  • YOLO for LGBTQIA+ individuals (University of Queensland PhD student).

Peer Reviewed Publications

Viskovich, S., Pakenham, K. I., & Fowler, J. A. (2021). A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of Experiential Intervention Exercises for Values and Committed Action from an Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) Therapy Mental Health Promotion Program for University Students. Manuscript accepted for publication.

Viskovich, S., & Pakenham, K. I. (2020). Randomised Controlled Trial of a Web-Based Acceptance 

and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Program to Promote Mental Health in University Students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Early view, 1-23. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22848 (23 citations)

Viskovich, S., & De George-Walker, L. (2019). An investigation of self-care related constructs in undergraduate psychology students: Self-compassion, mindfulness, self-awareness, and integrated self-knowledge. International Journal of Educational Research. doi: 10.1016/j.ijer.2019.02.005 (10 citations)

 

Viskovich, S., & Pakenham, K. I. (2018). Pilot evaluation of a web-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy program to promote mental health skills in university students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 74(12), 2047-2069. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22656 (38 citations)

 

Pakenham, K. I., & Viskovich, S. (2019). Pilot evaluation of the impacts of a personal practice informed undergraduate psychotherapy curriculum on student learning and wellbeing. Australian Psychologist, 54(1), 55-67. doi: 10.1111/ap.12366 (2 citations)

Paid Magazine Publications

These articles can be found in the Resources menu.

How to Write Your Personal Development Plan - Wellbeing Magazine (2021, 2012).

The Fear Factor - Wellbeing Magazine (2017).

The Language of Plenty - Wellbeing Magazine (2017).

Glad to be Sad - Wellbeing Magazine (2012).

Lecturer - University of Queensland

After initially being out of the spotlight tutoring, I was recently given the opportunity to lecture at University of Queensland. Not only is it an honour to lecture at such a high calibre institution, but I am also teaching the largest psychology elective with over 400 students enrolled.

Teaching is something I have always been passionate about as I believe education is so powerful. Not only can we help shape our own inner and outer world through education but we can also help guide those who are learning and coming into the field. In this way we can pass on knowledge and wisdom, allowing the field to continually grow and improve.

I also began supervising a PhD student in 2021 (YOLO for LGBTQIA+), which is something I hope to continue both academically and clinically.