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 #250
Research and Application in the Context of Valued Living
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Crockett C/D (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Stephanie L. Nassar (University of Mississippi)
Discussant: Chad E. Drake (University of South Carolina Aiken)
Abstract: Values are defined as “freely chosen, verbally constructed consequences of ongoing, dynamic, evolving patterns of activity, which establish predominant reinforcers for that activity that are intrinsic in engagement in the valued behavioral pattern itself” (Wilson & DuFrene, 2009; Wilson, Sandoz, Kitchens, & Roberts, in press). Valued living is signficantly and positively correlated with general mental health, vitality, social functioning, and lack of interference by emotional and physical problems. It is also significantly and negatively correlated with experiential avoidance, mood difficulties, relationship problems, somatic complaints, hostility, maladaptive psychosocial surroundings, general psychopathology, and treatment resistance (Wilson & DuFrene, 2009; Wilson et al., in press). This symposium presents findings from studies exploring the utility of a values-centered clinical interview/case conceptualization, the unique and added benefits of values-centered writing, as well as an examination of a values & present moment exercise.
Exploring the Use of the Hexaflex Functional Dimensional Experiential Interview
MAUREEN KATHLEEN FLYNN (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Stephanie L. Nassar (University of Mississippi), Regan M. Slater (University of Mississippi), Nadia Lucas (University of Mississippi), Michael Bordieri (University of Mississippi), Scott Bethay (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Traditionally, the goal of behavior therapies has been symptom reduction. Assessments and interviews that measure symptoms have been widely used based on this treatment goal. There has been a shift in focus with new behavior therapies, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which prioritizes the development of broader, more flexible patterns of activity instead of symptom reduction. ACT is used as both a model for psychopathology and for personal growth and development in non-disordered populations. With the shift in focus and broader applicability, new interviews and other forms of assessment are needed to measure the different treatment goals of ACT in both psychiatric and non-psychiatric populations. In this particular study, we were interested in the development of an interview looking at the personal growth/development aspect of the ACT model in a non-psychiatric population and used undergraduates at a large public southeastern university. There are six theorized processes in ACT that lead to psychological flexibility/well-being. Wilson and DuFrene (2009) developed a structured interview, the Hexaflex Functional Dimensional Experiential Interview (HFDEI), to assess these processes. The HFDEI is a valued centered interview that has assessment, mindfulness, writing, and conversation components. We examined the HFDEI’s rating scales of the six processes and the interview’s use in case conceptualization.
Update on Values-Centered Adaptation of the Expressive Writing Paradigm
STEPHANIE L. NASSAR (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Writing about deeply emotional experiences has been linked to positive physiological and psychological benefits, such as improved GPA, improved mood/affect, improved immune functioning, fewer visits to the doctor, and fewer days out of work (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Pennebaker, 1997). Researchers recently have adapted the expressive writing protocol to explore the impact of writing about important personal values. Values-centered writing has been linked to decreased defensiveness to self-threatening information (McQueen & Klein, 2006; Sherman et al., 2000), increased positive feelings toward others (Crocker et al., 2008), and improved grades of African American students (Cohen et al., 2006). This study compares the psychological benefits accrued from writing about deeply emotional experiences to the benefits accrued from writing about an important personal value. It also examines whether writing about an important value in conjunction with writing about a deeply emotional event may enhance self-reported psychological well-being. Participants completed questionnaires on psychological well-being, were randomly assigned to writing conditions, and participated in three consecutive 15-minute writing sessions. Participants returned one week and one month after writing to complete questionnaires on well-being.
Exploring Values and Present Moment: An Examination of the Sweet Spot Exercise
REGAN M. SLATER (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Clinicians have long been interested in the components that strengthen the therapeutic relationship. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a behavior analytic third wave therapy that emphasizes psychological flexibility. Studies now are beginning to investigate individual core processes within ACT. In this talk, we will explore the ACT processes as they relate to the relationship between therapist and client. In this study, the researchers investigated core component processes included in the Sweet Spot exercise (Wilson & DuFrene, 2009; Wilson & Sandoz, 2008). Participants were randomly assigned in pairs to one of three conditions: the Sweet Spot (Values and Present Moment exercise), a Breathing Meditation (Present Moment exercise), or a Values Discussion (Values exercise). Data were collected after the pairs completed the exercise. Both members of the pair completed self-report measures. These measures assessed Values and Present Moment processes, as well as therapeutic alliance, connectedness, compassion and positive and negative mood.



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