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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #382
Int'l Symposium - Analysis of Verbal Processes Relevant to Psychological Disorders and to Defusion Strategies Employed in Treatment
Monday, May 30, 2005
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Boulevard B (2nd floor)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: José Ortega-Pardo (University of Almeria, Spain)
Discussant: Eric J. Fox (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This session presents three works that attempt to experimentally address the analysis of both the basic verbal processes involved in several psychological problems and the ones involved in the so-called defusion strategies that are employed as a therapeutic tool in recent behavioral therapies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Altogether, these papers explore the basic processes involved in defusion methods and discuss their implications for specific disorders. The first paper presents experimental research on the function-altering properties of language, with an experimental preparation for the study of establishing stimulus functions. It also presents some clinical implications relevant to an analysis of defusion processes. The second paper presents an experimental analogue of defusion clinical methods with a special focus in the transformation/alteration of behavioral functions of aversive private events. The last paper presents an experimental procedure to analyze the role of personal history of distress tolerance and clarification of personal values in regard to a brief defusion-based intervention for smoking-cessation.
Establishing Stimuli and Verbal Establishing Stimuli: Empirical Support and Clinical Implications
MARIA SONSOLES VALDIVIA SALAS (University of New Mexico), Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University of Almeria, Spain), Francisco Cabello Luque (Universidad de la Rioja)
Abstract: The generalized and long lasting alteration of the reinforcing/aversive properties of the stimuli seems to be a key issue when dealing with the explanation and treatment of several anxiety related disorders. Although this alteration has been extensively explored within a direct conditioning approach, however the verbal implication on this phenomenon is just starting to be empirically demonstrated. With this research we aim to give empirical support to both the Establishing Stimuli function (Michael, 1993) and the verbal Establishing Stimuli function (Hayes et al, 1998). University students volunteered to participate. A matching to sample procedure was implemented for the formation of two three-member classes (A1-B1-C1/A2-B2-C2). Then, B1 was paired with aversive stimulation and B2 was paired with reinforcing stimulation. Finally, the pattern of choice of several stimuli was measured right before and after pairing them with the B stimuli and with the C stimuli. The altered pattern of choice after the pairing with the C stimuli is interpreted in terms of verbal Establishing Stimuli function. The involvement of this phenomenon in the extension of limiting repertoires, as well as the adequacy of defusion-based strategies to undermine these verbally maintained patterns of behavior, are discussed.
Transformation of Functions in Some Defusion/Perspective-Taking Clinical Methods in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
OLGA GUTIERREZ MARTINEZ (University of Almeria, Spain), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University of Almeria, Spain), Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico), Brandi C. Fink (University of New Mexico), Miguel Rodriguez-Valverde (University of Almeria, Spain), Francisco J. Molina-Cobos (University of Almeria, Spain), Derek A. Hamilton (University of New Mexico), Maria Sonsoles Valdivia Salas (University of New Mexico)
Abstract: Interest in the processes that might be responsible for altering the functions of private events is increasing due to the strong impact of ACT methods that are intended to break down behaving with fusion with aversive functions (Hayes et al., 1999; Wilson & Luciano, 2002). This paper presents an experimental preparation that is thought to be an analogue of some defusion/perspective-taking clinical methods where the content and context of the self is enhanced to provide the conditions under which the person might take valued actions. The experimental procedure involves a basic preparation where the interest is focused in analyzing the derived effect of changing the context of aversive content across frames of coordination and opposition as analogues of either context-content as a unique/coordinated element or context and cognitive content as hierarchical and opposite contexts located in the same person. 20 subjects participated in two experimental conditions and 10 subjects participated in a control condition. Results are discussed in terms of the verbal relations involved in defusion/perspective-taking clinical methods.
The Role of Values Clarification and Defusion Strategies in Smoking Cessation
MONICA HERNÁNDEZ-LOPEZ (University of Almeria, Spain), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University of Almeria, Spain), Jesus Gil Roales Neto (University of Almeria, Spain)
Abstract: Many smokers report that despite their desires to quit smoking, they are not able to do it due to the feelings of anxiety and distress they experience when they are not smoking. Additionally, other smokers cannot identify any reasons why they would quit smoking. The present study attempts to analyze the influence of personal history of exposure to aversive private events in regard to quitting smoking, as well as that of personal values related to quitting.Twenty subjects took part in the study. All of them underwent an initial assessment in which they were asked about their history in regard to exposing themselves to aversive private events in several situations, as well as about the valuable things related to quitting smoking. In the first phase, participants in one group went through training in exposure to several unpleasant bodily sensations, remarking the value that exposure had in relation to their lives. The other group did not undergo this training. In a second phase both groups underwent treatment in which a values-clarification protocol was employed, and several defusion exercises were practiced. Results are discussed in terms of the importance that the assessment of the clients history has in order to introduce the therapeutic elements necessary for a higher efficacy in ACT-based smoking cessation.



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