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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #19
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment and Applications in Clinical Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 29, 2016
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Crystal Ballroom B, Hyatt Regency, Green West
Area: CBM/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Grayson Butcher (University of Louisiana, Lafayette)
Discussant: Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
CE Instructor: Timothy M. Weil, Ph.D.
Abstract: The development of behavior analytic approaches in clinical areas other than intellectual and developmental disabilities began flourishing in the early 1970's and then dissipated in favor of alternative approaches that focused moreso on explanatory fictions and entity postulation to account for the behavior of individuals. Thankfully, the last decade has seen a resurgence in clinical behavior analysis with research and practice that focus' on these more mainstream areas typically dominated by clinical psychology but with efforts to remain behavior analytic at its roots. A primary approach to those suffering from behavioral and mental health issues is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which brings behavior analytic principles and procedures into the mainstream and challenges the status quo. Generally, this approach posits that much suffering occurs due to relational responding and subsequent transformation of stimulus function which may bring aversive stimulation present wherever we may roam. In response to this, we are likely to engage in avoidant responding that restricts our contact with- and range of-reinforcers. This symposium will present on difficulties inherent in both building a coherent theoretical/scientific system to approach mainstream issues as well as practical difficulties in implementation of protocols while remaining within ethical and professional boundaries of applied behavior analysis. Data will be presented on applications within each talk.
Keyword(s): ACT, Clinical BA, Values, Verbal Behavior
Applying Behavior Analysis to Clinical Populations: A Case Study in Phobia
TIMOTHY M. WEIL (Tandem Behavioral Health & Wellness)
Abstract: Applications of behavior analysis in the area of phobias has a long history of success. Today, research is still conducted in the area of phobias that rely on therapies developed 40 years ago in behavior analysis. Added to these is an understanding of derived avoidance via relational framing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a clinical approach to experiential avoidance of the verbal sort. This case study sought to remediate cynophobia, or rather, fear of dogs, in a 9-year-old boy. Avoidant behavior was reported to have emerged and persisted 7 years, with no known aversive experience prior to onset. Previous exposure interventions were unsuccessful in reducing the child’s fearful behaviors. This study sought to decrease the avoidant behavior of the child through graduated exposure, distraction, and a rule-based verbal behavior component. Results of the intervention utilizing a multiple-baseline across dogs design show decreasing proximity to both sized dogs and increasing duration of exposure through increasing task demands. Implications of the verbal intervention are discussed in the context of expanding interest, understanding, and application by behavior analysts.
Effectiveness of a Brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Intervention to Increase Physical Therapy Adherence
ANN ROST (Missouri State University), Jennifer Ashley Battles (Missouri State)
Abstract: Compliance with physical therapy is one of the most salient difficulties physical therapists face with patients (Pisters, et. al., 2010). Methods to improve physical therapy adherence have only been mildly successful, and many modalities fail to address psychological components that effect compliance (Freidrich, et. al., 1998). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave behavior analytic therapy that emphasizes mindfulness, values, and psychological flexibility and has recently been utilized to influence health behavior change (Hayes, 2014; Butryn, et. al., 2011). The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief ACT intervention on physical therapy adherence including compliance with prescribed home exercises and attendance at sessions. Participants were recruited from a campus physical therapy clinic and had a variety of physical injuries. Utilizing a single-subjects design, participants complete four individual ACT therapy sessions after measuring physical therapy adherence for a baseline period. Data was collected for the entire duration each participant was in physical therapy, ranging from six to eight weeks. Additional questionnaires were administered prior to and following the ACT intervention that assessed values connectedness, mindfulness, psychological flexibility, distress tolerance, and pain acceptance. Implications for future research will be discussed.



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