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 #338
CE Offered: BACB
Verbal Behavior and Depression
Monday, May 30, 2016
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Michigan ABC, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: VRB/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: W. Joseph Wyatt (Marshall University)
Discussant: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Educational Center)
CE Instructor: W. Joseph Wyatt, Ph.D.
Abstract: Depression is a mix of emotion, thoughts and behaviors, and diagnoses of depression are increasing by twenty percent per year. The result is that billions of dollars are spent "treating" depression, often without guarantees of behavior change. Depression is a leading health concern according to the World Health Organization, which established universal guidelines to treat this mental health "illness". Depressive thoughts and feelings are internal phenomenon that can only be experienced by the individual. Thus, in routine clinical practice diagnoses are based mainly on the verbal report of the individual who labels himself as depressed, as well as on his self-description of his at-home depressive behaviors. Ordinarily, only a relatively small degree of the diagnostic input arises from direct observation of depressive behaviors in the clinical arena. This symposium will (a) address how verbal behavior of the individual and within the broader culture are antecedents to a diagnosis of depression by a health care provider and by lay people such as parents and caregivers, and (b) address ways individuals can change their verbal behavior to address effective behavior change that can decrease their self-perception of depression or reduce the need for medical intervention.
Keyword(s): depression, intervention, self management, verbal behavior
Perception of Verbal Behavior
JUDY G. BLUMENTHAL (Association for Behavior Change)
Abstract: Each person experiences thoughts, emotions, and feelings hundreds of times throughout the day. Because the relationship among the three modes is quite complex, it is easy for individuals to forget they have control over each mode. For example, if an individual is having a bad day, he has the opportunity to read affirmations or call a friend to feel better. He can also say, "I am not good at anything," which can trigger feelings of sadness, causing the person to cry and otherwise worsen his mood. This sequence of events can result in a self description of “I am not normal," and health care providers or caregivers might agree. However, the individual has described himself erroneously, in a way that led to a mistaken perception by others. Another example is a routine failure to complete a crossword puzzle that elicited the thought, " Why can't I do anything right?" perhaps even followed by saying it aloud, despite the fact the person typically completes nine out of ten such puzzles (and also does a number of other things quite well). Strategies to become conscious of verbal behavior and its influence will be discussed.

The Verbal Roots of Medication Mania, and Suggestions for Dealing With It

W. JOSEPH WYATT (Marshall University)

When it comes to treatment of depression, the U.S. now sports an unfortunate culture of pills before skills. The roots of this phenomenon largely are verbal and may be traced to the symbiosis of two powerful verbal forces the profit motive of the pharmaceutical industry and organized psychiatrys faux reliance on the biological causation model. This presentation will trace the mutually reinforcing natures of drug makers advertising and of the non-science promotion of the biological model by the psychiatry profession, and the ways that the two have become absorbed into the verbal culture of the populace. Unfortunate results of these twin forces include treatment that often is minimally helpful and that more effective treatment, such as those done from a behavioral perspective, may never be undertaken. Suggestions for ways that behavior analysts may best deal with clients perceptions of the prevailing misinformation will be presented.




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