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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #45
CE Offered: BACB
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Across Settings and Populations
Saturday, May 29, 2010
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
Crockett C/D (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Daniel J. Moran (Trinity Services, Inc.)
CE Instructor: David Corcoran, M.S.
Abstract: Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP), has a behavioral focus on in-vivo interactions and in-session equivalents of clients’ daily life problems, offers a convincing practical framework for psychotherapy. The premise of FAP suggests clients’ clinical problems appear in session, and the reactions of the therapist will naturally reinforce more clinical improvements that can be generalized to clients’ daily lives.
The Application of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy to Persons With Serious Mental Illness
THANE A. DYKSTRA (Trinity Services, Inc.), Kimberly A. Shontz (Trinity Services, Inc.), Carl Indovina (Trinity Services, Inc.), Daniel J. Moran (Trinity Services, Inc.)
Abstract: This presentation will discuss the use of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) with individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness with an emphasis upon psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of psychotherapy for individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders has historically and erroneously been viewed as dubious. This presentation will briefly highlight empirical support for the influence of environmental factors on the manifestation of psychotic behavior (e.g. token economies, expressed emotion literature). These lines of research justify exploring the usefulness of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) in treating serious mental illness. FAP interventions are performed in the context of a genuine and caring therapeutic relationship and are guided by radical behavioral principles. FAP provides a framework for contingent therapist responding in their moment-to-moment interactions with clients that facilitates new or more adaptive interpersonal repertoires including socially interfering responses to intrusive private experiences such as hallucinations and delusions. The presentation will review each of the five rules of FAP in their application to persons with serious mental illness. Specific clinical examples will be provided to illustrate how utilizing FAP and the client-therapist relationship has produced positive therapy outcomes.
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Strategies and Ideas for Working With Adolescents
REO NEWRING (Children's Hospital and Medical Center), Kirk A.B. Newring (Kirk A. B. Newring, PhD, LLC), Chauncey R. Parker (University of Washington)
Abstract: As the average clinician says, “I’ll work with anyone… except teenagers.” Clinical work with adolescents is very difficult, due to special needs and circumstances inherent to the population. Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) is a 3rd wave behavior therapy that focuses clinical attention on identified problems and improvements as they manifest in the therapy room, toward therapy, and with the therapist. FAP provides a unique framework for conceptualizing client behavior; adolescents provide lots of rich samples of behavior in the therapy room, and toward therapy and the therapist. While therapy with adolescents is not a new phenomenon, using FAP with them is—and it has proven very helpful in the clinical work of the authors. We will discuss characteristics of the population that require special attention and how FAP improves treatment outcomes with them, using case examples from our own practices. We hypothesize that using FAP with this population can help any therapist to improve therapeutic rapport, understanding of client behavior patterns, and treatment outcomes.
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy for Interpersonal Process Groups
MAVIS TSAI (Independent Practice), Renee J. Hoekstra (Pacific University School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), with its behavioral focus on in-vivo interactions and in-session equivalents of clients’ daily life problems, offers a compelling conceptual framework from which to conduct interpersonal group psychotherapy. The premise of FAP is that instances of clients’ daily life problems will appear in session, and the contingent reactions of the therapist and other group members will naturally reinforce more adaptive behavior that can be generalized to clients’ daily lives. The FAP approach to group psychotherapy enables therapists to: elicit client statements about potential in-session problems, elicit client agreement to work on presenting concerns in group, encourage client disclosure of in-session problems to other members, and remind clients of their commitment when their presenting problems show up in-vivo. As therapists allow the group to develop, they can enhance and augment the private experiences and reactions of group members, offer statements of functional relationships, and teach the group as a whole to watch for the clinically relevant behaviors of its members. Thus, the FAP application to group provides therapists not only a foundational structure for the group, but a clear focus on both the group agenda and the goals of the clients throughout the life of the group.
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy-Enhanced Couple Therapy: Perspectives and Possibilities
WILLIAM C. FOLLETTE (University of Nevada, Reno), Thomas J. Waltz (University of Nevada, Reno), Alan S. Gurman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Abstract: In Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), dyadic behavior is observed almost in its natural environment with the therapist and both members of the couples present. During the course of therapy couples often create many of the stimulus conditions under which interpersonal problem behaviors occur, and these problem behaviors are emitted in the presence of the therapist. Until recently, even behavioral marital therapists have not maximally applied behavior analytic principles to the change and generalization processes required to maximize the beneficial effects of couple therapy. The paper addresses how the stance of the FAP therapist conducting couple therapy is unique. The therapist has the familiar role of having each member of the dyad become observers of the contingencies that affect each other’s behavior, but also has the unique role of sharing the burden of producing change in each person by naturally reinforcing clinically important behavior change when the partner cannot yet support necessary change. Applying FAP therapy change principles directs the therapist to actively respond to client behavior change in ways novel to most other couple therapists.



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