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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #284
CE Offered: BACB
An Overview of Acceptance and Commitment Training: From Learning to Compassionate Service Delivery
Sunday, May 30, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: TBA/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi )
CE Instructor: Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) is expanding within behavior analysis. As such, behavior analysts are discovering how to grow their scope of competence to include ACT as well as how to effectively train others in its use. Moreover, behavior analysts are incorporating ACT into traditional behavior analytic methods to provide compassionate service delivery in areas such as parent training. The first presentation provides a qualitative review on the perspectives and recommendations from ACT experts regarding behavior analysts’ scope of competence within ACT. The second presentation presents data on the use of behavioral skills training (BST), along with self-practice, to teach behavior analysts ACT skills using the ACT Matrix. The third presentation examines the integration of ACT into behavior parent training (BPT) on parental implementation of behavior strategies. The fourth presentation explores how the use of ACT within the field of behavior analysis can bring humanity and compassion to research and service delivery.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT competency, ACT training, compassion
Target Audience:

The target audience is those who have an interest in acceptance and commitment therapy/training (ACT) and ways to incorporate it in behavior analytic work with competency and compassion. Audience members should have a basic understand of private events, rule-governed behavior, and derived relational responding.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Determine how behavior analysts can increase their scope of competence to include acceptance and commitment therapy/training (ACT). 2. Identify strategies to teach ACT to staff members. 3. Define benefits of ACT self-practice for practitioners. 4. Recognize the effects of integrating ACT and behavior parent training (BPT) on parents’ implementation of behavioral strategies. 5. Determine the subsequent effects on children’s challenging behaviors when parents participate in ACT+BPT. 6. Identify a values procedure to support compassion in daily ABA practice. 7. Recognize a perspective taking procedure to support compassion in ABA practice. 8. Determine how to use the ACT to support compassion in daily ABA practice

Scope of Competence for Behavior Analysts Using Acceptance and Commitment Training: Some Recommendations from Experts

(Applied Research)
YUKIE KURUMIYA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Gregory Scott Smith (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Meredith L. Andrews (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

In response to the increasing interest in Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), the scope of practice in ACT for applied behavior analysis (ABA) practitioners has been discussed, and some guidelines have been suggested. The next step is to discuss the scope of competence for board certified behavior analysts® (BCBAs®) to incorporate ACT in their practices as part of their behavior analytic interventions in a careful, appropriate, and scientific manner. The current study compiled and analyzed 13 ACT experts’ opinions and recommendations on this topic through a qualitative data analysis of semi-structured interviews. Three major themes emerged: (1) understanding what ACT is, (2) required knowledge, skills, and training, and (3) establishing standards, guidelines, and measurements of competency. During the presentation, these topics will be discussed to suggest a future framework for developing standards, guidelines, measurements of competency criteria, and required training in ACT for behavior analysts. Some suggestions for behavior analysts to start gaining ACT competency and for the field to develop such future framework as a collaborative effort will be made.


ACT-ing to Support Compassion-Focused Applied Behavior Analysis

JONATHAN J. TARBOX (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids), Kristine Rodriguez (Autism Learning Partners)

The world is changing rapidly, global culture is in flux, and yet centuries-old inequities persist. The field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) is situated squarely within the purpose of serving humanity. This is evident to us, as the vast majority of researchers and practitioners in ABA have dedicated our careers to helping empower families living with autism and other developmental disabilities. While this dedication to serving humanity seems obvious to us in the field of ABA, it seems it has not been entirely obvious to others that we lead with our hearts. What’s more, there is a growing yearning inside the field of ABA to connect with other humans in more complete and fundamental ways. This presentation will make the case for embracing compassion in the field of ABA and discuss ways to use Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) to empower us to live compassion in our daily research and practice.

Effects of Acceptance and Commitment Training Plus Behavior Parent Training on Parental Implementation of Autism Treatment
(Applied Research)
MEREDITH L. ANDREWS (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Evelyn Rachael Gould (New England Center for OCD and Anxiety)
Abstract: The objective of this study was to examine the effects of acceptance and commitment training (ACT) plus behavior parent training (BPT), when delivered via telehealth, on parental implementation of behavioral strategies, experiential avoidance (EA), and stress. The study also examined the subsequent effects on the children’s behaviors. A multiple baseline design across four parent-child dyads participated in the online training. The findings showed that ACT+BPT resulted in parents reaching and maintaining high levels of implementation. The training also decreased EA and stress in three parents. Moreover, the parents’ ratings of their children’s challenging behaviors decreased. However, such a trend was not as clearly depicted by the direct measures of the children’s behaviors. A social validity interview revealed parents found ACT beneficial in assisting them learn and use the BPT strategies. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Teaching Acceptance and Commitment Skills to Behavior Analysts Using the ACT Matrix

(Applied Research)
ANASTASIA KELLER-COLLINS (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; Therapeutic Consulting Services), Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Akihiko Masuda (University of Hawai'i at Manoa)

Applied behavior analysts are often responsible to work with individuals with autism and their caregivers to provide effective and empirically supported interventions and supervise the staff that provide the direct services. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an intervention behavior analysts can access as an effective treatment tool to teach skills aimed at increasing psychological flexibility for clients, caregivers, and staff. Additionally, self-practice has the potential to decrease stress and potential burnout for behavior analysts. Using a delayed multiple baseline design, the current research examined the efficacy of individual behavioral skills training (BST) for teaching behavior analysts ACT skills and intervention using the ACT Matrix through teleconferencing. The use of self-practice was an added component to the learning. Results indicated that all participants (a) acquired new ACT skills, (b) learned to use the ACT Matrix as a form of case conceptualization, and (c) found self-practice positively added to the learning experience.




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