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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #458

Evolving Organizationally: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as Organizational Behavior Management in a School-Based Partial Hospital Program

Monday, May 27, 2019
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Stuart Libman, Ph.D.
Chair: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Stuart Libman, M.D. is a Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatrist, with further sub-specialization in Sports Psychiatry. After graduating from Ohio University and the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, he completed training in Pediatrics, General Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to serving as the Medical Director of the PLEA School Based Partial Hospital Program (SBPHP), he has experience providing executive coaching and organizational consultation in school districts, law firms, hospitals, business corporations, universities and sports teams. He has presented at such conferences as the Annual Meeting(s) of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the International Precision Teaching Conference, on topics ranging from a Developmental Framework for Adult Participation in Youth Sports, to a Psychiatric Perspective on ABA as Precision Teaching and ACT, to ACT Workshops for audiences in these as well as various other professional settings.

Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) is evolving from clinical intervention into Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) at PLEA, a public sector, non-profit agency in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PLEA’s School-Based Partial Hospital Program (SBPHP) serves a population of children and adolescents with diagnoses on the Autistic Spectrum. The SBPHP has grown over the past fifty years from a preschool started by parents desperately seeking services for their Autistic children to a program using principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in three main forms: Precision Teaching, Relational Frame Theory, and Acceptance and Commitment Training. ACT’s model of Psychological Flexibility as reflected in the ACT Matrix diagram has undergone progressive transformation from clinical to administrative functions. The “Prosocial” method, an approach integrating the ACT Matrix with the Core Design Principles of Successful Groups for which Elinor Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics, also has been introduced at various levels within the organization ( “Prosocial” is being broadly conceived as providing a platform for studying the evolutionary theory of multilevel selection. The impact of selection by consequences was discerned by B.F. Skinner not only for natural selection but also for operant conditioning of individual behavior as well as cultural evolution. In their recent book, Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science: An Integrated Framework for Understanding, Predicting and Influencing Human Behavior, David Sloan Wilson and Steven C. Hayes elaborate Evolutionary Science as a multilevel process of variation, selection, and retention. The ACT Matrix will be used throughout this presentation to explicate this multilevel process of ACT evolving into OBM at PLEA.

Target Audience:

Behavior analysts and other mental health professionals working in community-based organizations, particularly if interested in CBM, AUT, OBM, and/or CBS in the forms of RFT, ACT, and/or “Prosocial.”

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, attendees will be able to: (1) define “Psychological Flexibility” as used within Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT); (2) explain the ACT Matrix in terms of the two key discriminations represented by its horizontal and vertical axes and in term of the questions that accompany each of its four quadrants; (3) explain how ACT can be viewed as an evolutionary model; and (4) describe how ACT can be applied organizationally.



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