ISSN 2586-0151 (Print)
ISSN 2586-0046 (Online)
Volume 15, Number 1 (1/2019)
Review Article <page. 1-12 >

Conceptual Understanding of Thought-Action Fusion and Cognitive Fusion : Focus on Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms

Sang Won Lee, MD1,2;Kyung-Uk Lee, MD, PhD3;Mina Choi, MA4; and Seung Jae Lee, MD, PhD2;

1;Neuropsychiatry Center, Kyungpook National University Chilgok Hospital, Daegu, 2;Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 3;Department of Psychiatry, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Uijeongbu, 3;Institute of Biomedical Engineering Research, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea

Thought-action fusion (TAF) is a tendency to blindly assume causal relations between their thoughts and external reality. On the other hand, cognitive fusion (CF) is a tendency to take internal experiences, such as thoughts and feeling, literally rather than view them as random events. However, these two terms are often confusedly used and, in fact, have conceptual overlaps. Therefore, this study aimed to identify their distinctive features through a comprehensive review of the definition, origin, measurements and clinical implications especially on the understanding of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The cognitive-behavioral concept of TAF is confined to erroneous and maladaptive beliefs about the connection between thoughts and behaviors. The CF is a broader construct that entails taking thoughts and feelings as facts and engaging or struggling with them such that the quality of life is lowered. They also have different theoretical backgrounds, developing processes and therapeutic approaches. From the perspective of the obsessive-compulsive disorder, both concepts have been studied as mid-structures for this illness. Recently, the effectiveness of psychological therapies related to these concepts such as defusion therapy has been tested. However, it is yet still in its infancy. In the future, complementary advances between the two concepts with studies on biological substrates is needed.


Key words : Thought-action fusion;Cognitive fusion;Cognitive-behavioral therapy;Acceptance-commitment therapy;Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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