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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #478
CE Offered: BACB
Conceptualizing, Developing, and Using Treatments to Prevent and Address Trauma in Veteran and Related Populations
Monday, May 27, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Vevey 1/2
Area: CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Nicole C Groskreutz (PEAK Behavioral Services, LLC)
CE Instructor: Mark P. Groskreutz, Ph.D.
Abstract: The effects of extreme stressors (e.g., combat-related) and trauma can be severe and persistent in active duty military personnel, veteran, and other populations: the trauma can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and effects can include relationship difficulties, substance abuse, increased rates of suicide, among others (see Cornum, Matthews, & Seligman, 2011). Researchers and practitioners have been challenged to identify consistently effective antecedent and consequence interventions to address these concerns. Using a behavior analytic approach to resilience and treatment may help prevent the effects of and reduce the impacts from trauma. These talks will explore how behavior analysis can support effective treatment for trauma, training of professionals delivering treatment, and prevention of trauma. Because much of the previous work on resilience and trauma treatment has come from non-behavior analytic sources, these talks will also address links between behavioral analyses and other areas of psychology. Discussions will focus on how a behavior analytic approach to resilience and treatment for trauma may enhance research and practice.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): PTSD, Resilience, Trauma, Veterans
Target Audience: Professional behavior analysts

Prolonged Imaginal Exposure in Behavior Analytic Terms

KOMLANTSE GOSSOU (Université de Montréal)

Prolonged Imaginal Exposure (PE) is one of the few efficacious treatments for treating combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD; Foa, Hembree, & Rothbaum, 2007; Gros, Tuerk, Yoder, & Acierno, 2011; Resick, Monson, & Gutner, 2007; US Veteran Affair / Department of Defense, 2017). PE has been shown to be an effective manualized treatment in both the civilian and the military populations, and it has been endorsed as a best practice for the treatment of PTSD by the United States Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense (VA/DoD, 2017), the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2007), and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (Boa, Keene, Friedman, and Cohen, 2010). Since it works, it must somehow operate via behavioral principles. However, our review of the literature indicates that it is difficult to find a behavior analytic conceptualization of PE, or a behavior analytic explanation of its effectiveness. This paper offers a behavior analytic explanation of why PE is effective and makes recommendations for improving this treatment using ABA strategies.


Training a Student to Conduct Acceptance and Commitment Therapy With Active Duty Military and Veterans Using Behavior Skills Training

(Applied Research)
JOHN BORGEN (Oregon Institute of Technology)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is being utilized by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to increase the effectiveness of caregiver training, decrease behaviors associated with diagnosed psychological disorders, and augment graduate programs and other organizations. Increasingly, more attention is being given to BCBAs implementing ACT to work with adults, targeting behavioral excesses or deficits associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain (American Psychological Association, 2018). This talk will focus on the use of behavioral skills training (BST) to assist a student in gradually increasing proficiency with ACT and in a talk-based therapeutic context in general. We present an evaluation of BST to teach the student to participation and utilization of ACT behaviors by the student in ACT sessions. Specifically, we evaluated client verbal behavior relevant to the six core processes of ACT (e.g., cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, etc.). We will also discuss the logistics of starting a pro bono practice.

Behavioral Resilience in Military Personnel: Implications for Assessment and Intervention
NICOLE C GROSKREUTZ (PEAK Behavioral Services, LLC), Mark P. Groskreutz (Southern Connecticut State University)
Abstract: There is an extensive, multi-disciplinary body of literature exploring resilience within varied populations and across contexts. Yet there is no consensus amongst researchers on how resilience should be operationalized. The American Psychological Association (2018) defines resilience as “the process of adapting well” when faced with “adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress” (para. 4). Defining resilience behaviorally, we might replace ‘adapting well’ with ‘particular patterns of positive behaviors that will persist’ in the presence of behavioral disruptors. Within the context of combat-related trauma, researchers and clinicians have looked to promote resilience as a means of decreasing the risk of soldiers developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We may be able to enhance these efforts by applying a behavior analytic conceptualization of resilience, as it could result in identification of the particular adaptive behaviors (both overt and covert) that must persist in the face of various behavioral disruptors. Presumably, soldiers could then be trained, targeting increases in behavioral resilience through the application of behavior analytic interventions similar to those used to address other behaviors. We will review research targeting increasing resilience, and discuss the potential benefits of a behavior analytic interpretation of resilience within a military context.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh