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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #543
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Treat ‘Em Human: ACT in the Community
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 222 AB
Area: CBM/VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Nikki Christine Hernandez (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Daniel J. Moran (Trinity Services)
CE Instructor: Victoria Stout Kubal, M.S.
Abstract: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a treatment designed to increase flexibility in responding in the service of valued living. Outcome studies comparing ACT to more traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) suggests that ACT is as effective as traditional treatment modalities. However, ACT appears to produce longer term therapeutic gains. Furthermore, this data also indicate a different mechanism of change in ACT than in traditional therapy. Experiential avoidance (EA), defusion, and valuing are examples of mechanisms that ACT theorists have posited and tested. These mechanisms are utilized to acknowledge and address EA, create psychological flexibility, and identify values and obstacles that may be preventing clients from living in accordance with their values. Three studies were conducted to assess ACT processes in individuals who have received treatment in varying populations including community clinic, college undergraduates, and parents of children with problem behavior. Results of these studies will be evaluated and discussed.
ACT for Parents: Pilot Study of a Group Intervention with Parents
JONATHAN SCHMALZ (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas), Cicely Taravella LaBorde (University of North Texas), Andrew Scherbarth (University of North Texas), P. Ryan Mitchell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Ineffective parenting behaviors, including the use of harsh discipline and inconsistent monitoring, rule setting, and/or follow-through, are associated with adolescent engagement in problem behavior. Highly distressed parents are more likely to use these ineffective techniques and often fail to persist in skills learned through parent training. High levels of experiential avoidance are both common in distressed parents and related to increased behavioral inflexibility. Such inflexibility is reflected in rule-governed behavior that persists despite changes in environmental contingencies and may explain why distressed parents continue to utilize ineffective parenting techniques. Acceptance-based therapies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) specifically target experiential avoidance to increase psychological flexibility: the ability to contact current contingencies and change behaviors when doing so is effective. Increased flexibility may assist parents in implementing and persisting in successful parenting behaviors. The efficacy of ACT interventions has been shown across many domains of problem behavior, but not specifically with parents of adolescents with behavior problems. Data from this pilot study, conducted over ten weekly sessions with three parents, including changes in parenting behaviors, parental distress, and experiential avoidance, acceptance, and mindfulness, as well as changes in adolescent problem behavior, will be presented.
Oh Function!: Functional Application of ACT Processes
AMANDA C. ADCOCK (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Though ACT has been posited as a treatment model based on ongoing functional analysis, many ACT researchers have continued clinical trials directed at specific diagnoses with the standard exclusion criteria (Hayes et al., 2006). ACT needs to be further evaluated in conditions that test its functional approach. One large-scale effectiveness study showed promising results for ACT within the anxiety and depression spectrum (Foreman et al., 2007). Though this study addressed comorbidity, the idiographic and functional nature was not specifically studied. Thus, this study utilized session-by-session data analytic strategy in a community clinic setting with clients without exclusion criteria other than that they are English speaking adults. The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-2 (AAQ2), Valued Living Questionnaire (VLQ), and Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) were given to each participant pretreatment, as well as at various time points throughout treatment. The functional analyses within and across sessions will be described along with graphs of self-report scores. This study has been reviewed by the UNT IRB.
Works How?: ACT Processes and Mental Health Care
TIFFANI ALLISON (University of North Texas), Amanda C. Adcock (University of North Texas), Nikki Christine Hernandez (University of North Texas), Cicely Taravella LaBorde (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Data suggests little or no difference in treatment effectiveness based on type of treatment or treatment provider, with the exception of more change occurring when clients chose their own therapist (Seligman, 1995). More recently, studies on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a therapy that targets experiential avoidance (EA) and encourages the process of valuing, has been shown to produce therapeutic outcomes that occur via different mechanisms of change than previously studied therapies (Hayes et al., 2006). Data will be presented from two studies that suggest individuals who have been seen by a mental health professional differed from those who have not on EA and valuing. The Personal Values Questionnaire (PVQ) and Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ) were administered to a large sample of undergraduate students. Results indicated that individuals with treatment experience reported greater EA and less valuing than those without such experience. Data from a larger sample indicated differing results. There was a trend towards more valuing and less EA in participants with treatment histories than those without. The discrepancy between the samples will be discussed. In addition, the second sample suggests that length of treatment is significantly negatively correlated with EA.



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