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 #476
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
ACT and RFT: New Directions in Clinical and Educational Work
Monday, May 25, 2009
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
North 222 C
Area: CBM/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Chad Drake (Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Train)
Discussant: Chad Drake (Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Train)
CE Instructor: Janet Ellis, Ph.D.
Abstract: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Relational Frame Theory have made significant strides in applied science endeavors of significant social concern and interest. The technology involved in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Relational Frame Theory assists in understanding complex issues such as the influences on high risk behaviors and fantasizing responses. In addition, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Relational Frame Theory concepts and applications can demonstrate how value directed behavior can improve academic achievement. Each of the presenters will show how experiential avoidance can influence individuals to engage in various clinically relevant behaviors. The presenters from each team will also describe the relational conditioning processes that set the occasion for complex human repertories. The discussion among all of the presenting teams will have focus on how normal verbal processes lead to psychological struggle and seemingly unconventional and high risk behavior. Where relevant, treatment implications will be discussed as well as avenues for further research.
A Relational Frame Theory Account of the Emergence and Maintenance of Rape Fantasies
FAWNA STOCKWELL (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Daniel J. Moran (Trinity Services)
Abstract: A sexual fantasy is a series of private events which either evoke or increase sexual arousal. Current research indicates that as many as 33% of women report experiencing at least one sexually arousing rape fantasy in their lifetime, and 10% engage in this fantasy as often as once a month (Shulman & Horne, 2006). This paper will provide a primer on Relational Frame Theory and how the normal processes involved in classical, operant, and relational conditioning can build more complex repertoires that eventually influence the emergence of private stimuli, which may appear taboo or unconventional, to take on reinforcing properties. The influence of metaphorical relating will be discussed. This presentation will develop an account of how sexual fantasy is a type of covert verbal responding which can lead to more complex repertoires, and how rape fantasies can be a selected feature of a person’s repertoire as a result of normal verbal processes.
Experiential avoidance and at-risk behavior patterns
SUSAN E. CLARKE (Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust), Jessica Kingston (University of Southampton), Bob Remington (University of Southampton)
Abstract: Many maladaptive behavior patterns (e.g., deliberate self-harm, drug use, risky sexual practices, excessive exercise, binge eating) are of social concern. Well documented risk factors for such problem behaviors include childhood trauma (an environmental risk factor) and negative affect intensity (a temperamental risk factor). According to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), however, the relationship between such risk factors and maladaptive behavior is mediated by Experiential Avoidance (EA), the tendency to avoid unwanted private events (e.g., thoughts, feelings, memories). This study used a cross-sectional design to test these hypothesized relations using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). An opportunity sample of 690 volunteers completed the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ), the Maladaptive Behavior Questionnaire (MBQ), a reliable and validated composite measure of problem behaviors developed by the authors, and two self-report measures of key risk factors (the Affect Intensity Measure-Negative Intensity Scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire). SEM analysis revealed that EA fully mediated the relationship between negative affect intensity and the MBQ scores, and partially mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and the MBQ measure. These findings implicate EA as a key process through which childhood adversity and negative affect intensity impacts on maladaptive behavior.
Psychological Flexibility, Academic Success, and Valued Living
A. NICKI JEANE (University of Mississippi), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (The University of Mississippi)
Abstract: College is a difficult venture. Increased academic, social, and practical demands associated with the adjustment to college make academic success a challenge for most. The significant implications of successfully navigating those demands likely make it worse. Behavior analysis has had a hand in improving educational environments for all ages and academic levels. Through operant and relational conditioning processes, school can come to exert aversive control, which can make avoidance increasingly likely, and success increasingly elusive. The authors will discuss how experiential and emotional avoidance can have a significant impact, not only on vaule directed behavior, but also on important academic achievement scores. Emerging behavior therapies (e.g., Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) suggest that interventions on school success might be improved by focusing on increasing flexibility with school-related stimuli, and contact with chosen values. The current study examines the relationship between psychological flexibility, academic success, and valued living. Further directions will be discussed.



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