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.

  • OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    OTH: Other

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Seminar; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Invited Panel #7
Panel Discussion on ACT Scope of Practice Within Mainstream Applied Behavior Analysis
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom ABC
Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Evelyn R. Gould (FirstSteps for Kids, Inc.)
CE Instructor: Evelyn R. Gould, Ph.D.
Panelists: ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute), MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University), STEVEN C. HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno), RUTH ANNE REHFELDT (Southern Illinois University), MICHAEL P. TWOHIG (Utah State University)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) was originally developed as a behavior analytic approach to psychotherapy, and is now supported by over 200 randomized controlled trials. However, over the last decade, interest in ACT has been spreading within mainstream applied behavior analysis (ABA). In addition, research on applications of ACT within ABA has been expanding dramatically in recent years, providing examples of how ACT can be practiced while also staying fully within the scope of practice of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). This panel discussion directly addresses the issue of scope of practice, with the aim of clarifying the boundaries of how ACT can be used within applied behavior analysis, as opposed to clinical psychology and other disciplines that require separate licensures to practice. The panel will be chaired by Dr. Evelyn Gould and the panelists include Drs. Tony Biglan, Mark Dixon, Steven Hayes, Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, and Michael Twohig. The panelists represent a wide range of past and current behavioral journal editors in chief, book authors, and leading researchers on ACT applications within ABA.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) provide examples of how ACT can be practiced while staying fully within the scope of practice of BCBAs; (2) discuss the boundaries of how ACT can be applied within ABA.
ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)
Anthony Biglan, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute. He is the author of The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve our Lives and Our World. Dr. Biglan has been conducting research on the development and prevention of child and adolescent problem behavior for the past 30 years. His work has included studies of the risk and protective factors associated with tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; high-risk sexual behavior; and antisocial behavior. He has conducted numerous experimental evaluations of interventions to prevent tobacco use both through school-based programs and community-wide interventions. And, he has evaluated interventions to prevent high-risk sexual behavior, antisocial behavior, and reading failure. In recent years, his work has shifted to more comprehensive interventions that have the potential to prevent the entire range of child and adolescent problems. He and colleagues at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences published a book summarizing the epidemiology, cost, etiology, prevention, and treatment of youth with multiple problems (Biglan et al., 2004). He is a former president of the Society for Prevention Research. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention, which released its report in 2009 documenting numerous evidence-based preventive interventions that can prevent multiple problems. As a member of Oregon�s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, he is helping to develop a strategic plan for implementing comprehensive evidence-based interventions throughout Oregon. Information about Dr. Biglan�s publications can be found at
MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University)
Dr. Mark R. Dixon, BCBA-D, is professor and coordinator of the Behavior Analysis and Therapy Program at Southern Illinois University. His interests include the study of complex operant behavior, gambling behavior, and organizational behavior. Mark has published 3 books and over 100 peer reviewed journal articles. He has served as associate editor for Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, the editor for the Analysis of Gambling Behavior, and a reviewer for over 20 nonbehavioral journals. Dr. Dixon has generated over 1.5 million dollars in funding to infuse behavior analysis within local schools and treatment facilities, and create a behavioral therapy clinic for persons suffering from problem gambling or obesity. Mark's research and/or expert opinions have been featured in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, National Public Radio, This American Life, a New York Times best seller, and regional affiliates of ABC, CBS, and PBS.
STEVEN C. HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno)
Dr. Steven C. Hayes received his Ph.D. from West Virginia University and currently serves as professor in the behavior analysis program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Hayes has a record of voluminous research and substantial impact, within behavior analysis and beyond, with 43 books and more than 600 publications. He is one of only three behavior analysts in the world with an h-index above 100 in Google Scholar ( He is the principal developer of relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment therapy, highly influential behavior analytic approaches to language and cognition, and evidence-based intervention, respectively, that have generated considerable research and achieved widespread adoption. Dr. Hayes�s contributions to teaching and service have also been exemplary. He served as department chair at UNR, and with Linda Hayes launched the behavior analysis program there. Dr. Hayes has held many influential service (e.g., president of Division 25, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science [ACBS], and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies [ABCT]) and editorial (e.g., AE of JABA) positions, and has received numerous awards for his work (e.g., the SABA Awards for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis and the Impact of Science on Application, the APA Don Hake Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from ABCT). His contributions span philosophical, methodological, basic, and applied domains with remarkable breadth and depth.
RUTH ANNE REHFELDT (Southern Illinois University)
Dr. Ruth Anne Rehfeldt holds a BA in psychology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA (1993), and masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nevada (1998 graduation), where she was a student of Dr. Linda J. Hayes. Dr. Rehfeldt has published approximately 100 articles and book chapters in behavior analysis. Her expertise focuses specifically upon basic and applied investigations of verbal behavior, Relational Frame Theory, and Acceptance and Commitment Training. She co-edited a book with Yvonne Barnes-Holmes entitled “Derived Stimulus Relations Applications for Learners with Autism and other Developmental Disorders: A Progressive Guide for Change, and is currently co-editing a text on applied behavior analysis of language and cognition with Johnathan Tarbox, Mitch Fryling, and Linda Hayes. Dr. Rehfeldt served as the editor and business manager for The Psychological Record for 12 years. She is or has been an editorial board member for a number of behavior analytic journals, and has been awarded several awards at Southern Illinois University for her research and teaching. She is currently the director of SIU’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, where her and her students’ research focuses on Acceptance and Commitment Training and social skills instruction for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. She is a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission and the coordinator of university accreditation at SIU.
MICHAEL P. TWOHIG (Utah State University)
Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in the state of Utah and a Professor of Psychology at Utah State University. He received his B.A. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, his Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno, and completed his clinical internship at the University of British Columbia Hospital. He is past-President of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, the organization most associated with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). His research focuses on the use of ACT across a variety of clinical presentations with an emphasis on obsessive compulsive and related disorders. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and two books: An ACT-Enhanced Behavior Therapy approach to the Treatment of Trichotillomania (with Woods) and ACT Verbatim for Depression and Anxiety (with Hayes). His research has been funded through multiple sources including the National Institute of Mental Health.



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