Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #328
Int'l Symposium - Recent Applications of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Empirical Findings
Monday, May 30, 2005
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Private Dining Room 1 (3rd floor)
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Mike P. Twohig (University of Nevada)
Abstract: This symposium will present recent evaluations of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a treatment for a variety of psychological/social problems. Specifically, this symposium will present data on the effectiveness of ACT in the treatment of worry, adolescent self-destructive behavior, felt stigma in individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse, and chronic marijuana abuse. Special attention will be placed on specific process through which ACT is effective with these topographically different social problems. This symposium should assist in bringing the attendees up to date on recent empirical findings with ACT while illustrating how such topographically different behaviors can have similar behavioral functions.
ACT and Self-Stigma in Substance Abuse: A Pilot Study
JASON BRIAN LUOMA (University of Nevada, Reno), Barbara S. Kohlenberg (University of Nevada, Reno), Kara Bunting (University of Nevada, Reno), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Stigma has a number of negative effects on individuals with substance abuse problems. Both internalized self-stigma and societal discrimination can contribute to reductions in help-seeking, limited social support networks, early dropout from treatment, unstable housing, and unemployment. As part of a NIDA-funded project, we have developed a group psychotherapy approach to reducing the self-stigma of individuals with substance abuse disorders. This intervention is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a psychotherapy approach emerging from the behavioral tradition that uses metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises to help clients make contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided. In contrast to traditional stigma-reduction approaches that focus on correcting shameful and self-limiting thoughts, ACT does not attempt to change the frequency or intensity of these thoughts. Rather, clients learn to recontextualize and accept these private events, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behavior change. This paper will discuss our research program and our developing treatment manual. We will also present pilot data on the efficacy of this treatment approach with individuals in treatment for substance use disorders.
ACT Treatment in Intense Camp Settings for Female Adolescents with Self-Destructive Behavior
TOBIAS LUNDGREN (University of Uppsala, Sweden), JoAnne Dahl (University of Uppsala, Sweden), Mikael Vagner (In Vivo AB)
Abstract: The primary cause of death in youth in the western world is suicide. There is a great need for preventive work with self destructive behavior in adolescents. The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate an ACT model in an intensive camp setting for female adolescents with self destructive behavior. The study was an ABC group design N=6. Follow up is done at 3 months and after 1 year. The treatment was provided by three graduate students trained in ACT. The key components in treatment were exposure, valued directions, defusion, commitment and acceptance. The goal of treatment was to build a broader behavioral repertoire towards valued life activities. Exposure took place naturally in valued direction as participants engaged in camp activities. Treatment effects was measured by Kasam, structured interviews, believability of obstacles. The result showed a higher degree of responsibility of their own life, a higher engagement in activities in valued direction and a decrease in criminal behavior.
ACT for Chronic Ruminators
JENNIFER A. HARRINGTON (University of New Mexico), Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico)
Abstract: Rumination, generally described as unwanted, negative, distressing thoughts, is a salient cognitive feature of several affective disorders. This presentation will offer a preliminary behavior analytic account of ruminative thinking and possible treatment implications derived from ACT. ACT teaches patients to accept unwanted private events, to defuse from negative cognition, and to identify and focus on actions directed toward valued goals. The present study examined the effects of a brief, group-format, ACT-based treatment compared to thought control techniques. Rather than targeting thought form or frequency, the ACT-based treatment targeted individual reactions to thoughts across a range of ruminative dimensions including: frequency, duration, distress, experiential avoidance, believability, and movement toward valued action. Non-clinical undergraduate participants who reported significant distress from efforts to control highly believable, unwanted, negative thoughts, were recruited for this study. The study utilized a single-case, repeated measures, A-B-C, multiple baseline across groups experimental design (where A = baseline, B = placebo treatment, C = actual treatment variable). Both the thought control placebo and ACT-based treatment consisted of two day, 2-hour intervention sessions. Results will be presented in terms of the effects of the ACT-based treatment on participant reactions to ruminative thoughts across a range of dimensions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Treatment for Chronic Marijuana Abuse.
MIKE P. TWOHIG (University of Nevada), Deacon Shoenberger (University of Nevada), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada)
Abstract: There is a dearth of information on how to successfully treat chronic marijuana abuse (CMA). This presentation will provide a behaviorally based analysis of the problem and provide preliminary data on its treatment. In this study, an eight session ACT protocol was used to help individuals with CMA to state their values in life, contact of the function of their marijuana use, evaluate the effectiveness of its use, step back from evaluative language regarding its use, and make commitments to follow value-based behaviors. The study utilizes a multiple baseline across participants design with ancillary oral-swab tests to confirm self-reports of marijuana use. This study is approximately half way complete but the data is promising. We intend to recruit approximately three adults with CMA. Thus far one individual has completed posttreatment and was able to cease her marijuana use. A second participant is part way through the intervention and showing promising results. Additional participants are being recruited.



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