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

Previous Page


Symposium #227
CE Offered: BACB — 
Increasing Scope of Competence in Acceptance and Commitment Training Among Behavior Analysts
Sunday, May 30, 2021
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ehren J Werntz (Arizona Autism United)
Discussant: Morgan Brown-Chipley (Arizona Autism United)
CE Instructor: Ehren J Werntz, Ph.D.

The application of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) within conventional applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a topic that is receiving increased interest, attention and research. As ABA proliferates and the practice is applied to more diverse populations outside of young children and intellectual/developmental disabilities there is a commensurate need for a behavior analytic approach to address complex human behavior and the private contingencies of which they are a function. ACT appears to be the most popular among Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) likely because it is derived from behavioral principles, comports with seven dimensions of ABA and can be aligned with several sections of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s 5th edition task list. Despite these technical compatibilities, there remains well-founded hesitation among BCBAs regarding individual scope of practice and more importantly, scope of competence. This symposium includes two presentations that will review the state of ACT within applied behavior analysis, propose a framework for clinical training and competence, and will conclude with discussion.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT, competence scope, practice scope
Target Audience:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts with a basic familiarity with Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT)

Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will be able to give examples of ACT currently being used in applied behavior analytic contexts 2. Participants will be able to describe a path for BCBAs to increase competence in ACT 3. Participants will be able to describe methods for training skills consistent with the application ACT
Is Scope of Competence Equally or More Important Than Scope of Practice When Implementing ACT in Behavior Analysis?
ERIN ELIZABETH BERTOLI (Brett DiNovi & Associates)
Abstract: With the expansion of behavior analysis across more diverse populations, it has become increasingly important to address private events when direct contingency management alone is ineffective. Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) provides behavior analysts with the tools to do just that, and has been demonstrated across various populations including parents of children with autism, within organizations, as part of staff training and wellness, and with children and adolescents with behavioral and mental health disorders. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that ACT is within the scope of practice of behavior analysis. However, in practice behavior analysts are challenged with evaluating whether this application of the science is within their scope of competence. Without clear training requirements, credentialing or certifications, many behavior analysts face ethical barriers regarding the integration of ACT into their clinical practice. This presentation will briefly review the applications of ACT in applied behavior analysis, specify the importance of developing competence, and review the research that has evaluated competency-based training on ACT.
A Proposed Framework for Competency-Based ACT Training for Behavior Analysts
EHREN J WERNTZ (Arizona Autism United)
Abstract: With the increasing support for Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) being included in the scope of practice for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), the question of training and individual scope of competence is naturally raised. Currently, there are innumerable ACT workshops, webinars and bootcamps available to behavior analysts as well as a few published articles focused on clinical training but little to nothing that emphasizes behavioral skills training and assesses skill acquisition via publicly observable and measurable, clinician behavior. This presentation offers guidance within a broader framework for establishing competency consistent with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (2020) Recommendations for Respecializing in a New Practice Area and LeBlanc, Heineke and Baker’s (2012) recommendations for expanding the consumer base as well as methods for behavioral skills training and measurement. This presentation is intended to advance the conversation with respect to ACT training and competence among behavior analysts such that it keeps pace with the support for ACT in the scope of applied behavior analytic practice.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh