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 #403
CE Offered: BACB
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the Real World by Behavior Analysts: Assessment, Treatment, and Data Collection
Monday, May 31, 2021
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Area: VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Breanna Lee (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Alyssa N. Wilson (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology--SoCal)
CE Instructor: Dana Paliliunas, Ph.D.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) as an approach to intervention of psychological inflexibility has existed in some form for nearly forty years, generating considerable research including correlational studies, single case experimental designs, and hundreds of randomized control trial evaluations. Despite this work, behavior analysts may be hesitant to employ ACT in practice with their clients and the families that they serve. This series of two presentations will explore how ACT is used in the real world by real behavior analysts to solve multiple behavior challenges that involve intricate verbal relations, private events, and experiential avoidance. The first talk will discuss an assessment process that analysts may employ while implementing ACT with parents, as well as multiple case examples of ACT being applied with this population. The second talk will discuss data collection when behavior is private, focusing specifically on the potential of ecological momentary assessment across multiple settings and clients. This symposium is geared towards behavior analysts looking to integrate ACT based approaches within their existing practice with practical ideas for where to start this work. And by so doing, progressing the depth and scope of our applied field.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ACT, Assessment, Data Collection, Intervention
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: (1) Describe the assessment to intervention process in ACT with parents; (2) Discuss case conceptualization and intervention targets in ACT; (3) Describe ecological momentary assessment as a data collection strategy

Applications of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Parent Training

TIMOTHY M. WEIL (Tandem Behavioral Health & Wellness)

Experiencing challenges in modifying parent behaviors is common. Many of these challenges are historical and interfere with the parents' ability to engage in effective teaching practices. Parent training that includes an ACT component is often found to further parental effort, interest, and involvement. To date, ACT is the only behavior analytic approach that permits a functional assessment of aversive control due to private events. While there are several studies published on brief intervention strategies, none speak to the long term training and practice needed when engaged in long term consultation with families. This paper will present an overview of a Behavioral Parent Training Program that combines both basics of behavior and a Values Based ACT approach to long term child behavioral intervention. Included in the overview of the parent training package will be a process based account of the ongoing difficulties that may be experienced when working with a family across time where both parent and child are engaged in values based intervention.

Evaluating ACT Intervention Efficacy Using Ecological Momentary Assessment
DANA PALILIUNAS (Missouri State University)
Abstract: As research and practice related to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has increased in prevalence within the field, so too has the discussion of methodologies for research and intervention that are consistent with the behavior analytic tradition. While it is common to encounter the use of self-report measures as a dependent variable in ACT-related research, concerns related to validity, reliability, and bias of self-report data are often cited by behavior analysts. While direct observation of behavioral targets is preferred for the evaluation of intervention effectiveness, it may not be possible to obtain this data with certain populations or in certain settings. Additionally, both public and private verbal behavior may be of interest to those utilizing an ACT approach. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) may be one approach to assessment and data collection useful to researchers and practitioners embedding ACT within their work; EMA involves repeated sampling of individuals’ current behaviors and experiences in real time and in the natural environment, and may include the use of technology to enhance this process. An introduction to EMA will be provided and examples of this approach within ACT-focused self-management interventions for young adults will be reviewed.



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