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 #447

Why are the Behavioral Sciences Not More Effective: Reprise

Monday, May 27, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: SCI; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, Ph.D.
Chair: Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)
RUTH ANNE REHFELDT (Southern Illinois University)
Dr. Ruth Anne Rehfeldt is a Professor in the Rehabilitation Services undergraduate program and an affiliated faculty in the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program. She holds a Ph.D. (1998) and MA (1995) from the Behavior Analysis Program (in Psychology) at the University of Nevada, and a BA (1993) in psychology from the University of Puget Sound. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the doctoral level. Dr. Rehfeldt has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in research methods, behavioral assessment, principles of behavior, introduction to behavior analysis, verbal behavior, and radical behaviorism. Dr. Rehfeldt has authored nearly 100 articles and book chapters, primarily in the areas of derived stimulus relations and verbal behavior. Dr. Rehfeldt has served as the editor of The Psychological Record for 12 years and has been an editorial board member for a number of behavior analytic journals over the years.   She has co-edited one textbook with Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, entitled Derived Relational Responding: Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Progressive Guide to Change, and is currently co-editing a textbook tentatively entitled, Applied Behavior Analysis of Language and Cognition, with Mitch Fryling, Jonathan Tarbox, and Linda Hayes.

The controversy over whether behavior analysts should not only examine, but intervene on, private events has not ended. Reluctance to incorporate analyses of covert language processes into applied behavior analyses has limited our field’s scope. Moreover, applied behavior analysis continues to focus its energies predominantly on small-scale studies in highly controlled environments while larger societal problems flourish. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss how the concepts encompassed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can be applied to several very diverse areas of social concern, including: 1) human service agency staff training; 2) health prevention behaviors; and 3) marine conservation. I will articulate the often underappreciated relationship between relational learning and psychological inflexibility and experiential avoidance, and will describe how concepts such as acceptance, values, and committed actions can have an impact in building the adaptive repertoires needed to resolve a number of small and large-scale issues of social significance.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) explain the relationship between ACT and Relational Frame Theory; (2) discuss an overview of procedures and results from staff training studies on components of ACT; (3) conceptualize possible areas of application of behavioral principles to health-related and conservation behaviors.



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