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.

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46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #54
CE Offered: PSY/BACB/QABA/NASP
TRAUMA: Behavioral and Neurological Perspectives on Trauma
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty I-L
Chair: Carla H. Lagorio (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
CE Instructor: Carla H. Lagorio, Ph.D.
Presenting Authors: PATRICK C. FRIMAN (Boys Town), K. MATTHEW LATTAL (Oregon Health)
Abstract: Non-scientifically oriented clinicians and counselors have coopted the concept of trauma, established a related dogma, and attempted with some success to keep behaviorally oriented professionals at bay. This is tricky territory. The concept has been used to label and/or describe so many different types of human experience that it has become almost meaningless. It has no operational definition, at least not one widely accepted. Yet on closer inspection, regardless of its definition, the concept would seem perfectly suited for a behavioral analysis. In the simplest of terms, trauma appears to refer to aversive events that dramatically increase the negative reinforcement associated with avoidance of events that are topographically and/or functionally related to those events. The amount of avoidance exhibited by afflicted individuals impairs their diurnal and nocturnal functioning. The most effective approach would almost certainly involve escape extinction. However, because of the highly politicized nature of the concept, language describing that approach would almost certainly have to have more colloquial features in order to recruit any acceptance outside the field of behavioral analysis. This presentation will discuss trauma from that perspective.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss approaches to PTSD and addiction; (2) discuss the persistent effects of trauma; (3) discuss ways to suppress fearful behaviors and drug-seeking behaviors; (4) discuss the neurobiological changes associated with trauma.
 
Trauma Drama: A Behavior Analytic Perspective on Trauma
PATRICK C. FRIMAN (Boys Town)
Abstract: A common finding from rodent studies of drug abuse is that acute or chronic stress can reinstate drug-seeking behavior after extinction. In most of these studies, the stressor occurs during the reinstatement test; very little is known about the effects on drug-seeking behaviors long after the stressor has occurred. We have developed a behavioral approach in which an acute stressor in one context causes persistent effects on drug-seeking behaviors in a different context. This approach models some of the persistent effects of trauma on relapse that often occur in patients with a diagnosis of comorbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) and substance use disorder. I will describe some of the basic characteristics of this approach, including applications to different drugs of abuse and natural rewards, some of the underlying neurobiology, and how we have used this approach to evaluate potential treatments. These treatments focus on promoting extinction by pairing nonreinforced presentations of a stimulus or response during extinction with delivery of a drug that promotes epigenetic mechanisms that are involved in long-term memory. This leads to a persistent suppression of behavior that appears to resist environmental manipulations that cause relapse (such as exposure to cues or contexts previously associated with drugs of abuse). Implications of this approach for animal models of PTSD and addiction will be discussed.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss approaches to PTSD and addiction; (2) discuss the persistent effects of trauma; (3) discuss ways to suppress fearful behaviors and drug-seeking behaviors; (4) discuss the neurobiological changes associated with trauma.
 
Trauma, Extinction, and the Problem of Relapse
K. MATTHEW LATTAL (Oregon Health)
 

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