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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #526
Acceptance and Commitment Training: Values and Mindfulness-Based Interventions Outside of the Therapy Room
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Crystal Ballroom C, Hyatt Regency, Green West
Area: CBM/CSE; Domain: Translational
Chair: Madison Gamble (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) developed as clinical behavior analytic intervention for problems typically classified as psychopathology. Nonclinical applications of ACT, however, have demonstrated significant behavior change outside of the context of psychotherapy. This symposium offers preliminary work with ACT interventions with individuals seeking help with problems in living rather than psychopathology. The first paper explores the potential of ACT as a behaviorally-based model of equine therapy through the processes and outcomes of a 5-week equine therapy intervention. The second paper examines the daily behavior change of students during a class aimed to teach ACT fundamentals for college student adjustment. The last study examines the feasibility and effectiveness of an ACT-based intervention with a group of athletes. Preliminary data suggests that ACT may be a useful model for building behavioral interventions for individuals simply seeking to improve their functioning. Implications of processes and outcomes of each intervention, along with challenges for applications of ACT in nonclinical settings will be discussed.

Effects of Equine-Facilitated Group Therapies on Mindfulness in Women
RACHAEL JUDICE (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) is an emerging approach to fostering positive behavior change for women, men, and children of all ages and of all distress levels. The intervention is based on the idea that people benefit from learning to relate to a horse in ways that facilitate trust, communication, and mutual respect. While the particular forms of EAAT vary widely, there seem to be some indication that they are effective at fostering reductions in psychological struggles and increases in quality of life. It is not clear, however, what skills are learned that may foster improved functioning outside of the intervention. The current study explored daily levels of self-reported psychological flexibility, mindfulness, self-worth, and quality of life during a 5-week EAAT intervention. Preliminary data suggest that participants experience an increase in quality of life throughout the 5 week session, which may be attributable to changes consistent with the psychological flexibility model.
Talk Is Cheap: Student Behavior Change in Response to Experiential Learning Exercises Targeting Psychological Adjustment
HEATHER CHIASSON (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Daryl Rachal (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Being in college is hard. College students are often faced with a number of transitions across important domains of life. For many students, academic demands, living conditions, financial status, primary relationships and social activities undergo repeated changes during the course of their college education. Psychology of Adjustment is a course designed to teach non-majors fundamental concepts of psychological health. The course at University of Louisiana at Lafayette includes experiential exercises in which students learn the concepts of psychological adjustment by practicing psychological flexibility in and out of class. Informal student evaluations suggest that these methods not only ensure intellectual grasp of the concepts but also improve student’s psychological adjustment more broadly. This study examined daily diary data including students’ reports of their values-consistent behavior that defines their own college adjustment. Implications of findings for facilitating college adjustment within this context will be discussed, along with characteristic patterns of behavior change and broad implications for behavior change under aversive and appetitive control.

Reaching High Keeps a Player on His Toes: A Mindfulness Approach to High School Basketball

RYAN ALBARADO (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

In the past, psychology-based sports interventions have focused on teaching athletes to improve athletic performance by controlling their thoughts and feelings. However, not much data support this approach. It may be, instead, that accepting ones private experiences can foster sensitivity to the rapidly changing conditions of an athletic competition and promote perseverance in the face of challenging circumstances. In other words, athletes who demonstrate more psychological flexibility may perform better, even in the face of great self-doubt or anxiety. The current study aimed to evaluate the application of the psychological flexibility model to athletic , which is increasingly applied with athletes all over the world. The Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment (MAC) Seminar, based on empirically-supported techniques for increasing psychological flexibility and effectiveness of behavior, aims to train the psychological skills of openness toward and effectiveness during a range of emotional states. Feasibility, acceptability, and athletic performance, along with psychological processes accompanying behavior change will be discussed.




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