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 #268
Acceptance and Commitment Training Across Applied Clinical Settings
Sunday, May 30, 2021
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: CBM/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Tammy Lee (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis )
CE Instructor: David Legaspi, M.S.

Acceptance and commitment training (ACT) is an approach to language and cognition that is growing in traction across several practitioners inside and outside of the field of behavior analysis. ACT has been seen to be effective in interacting with levels of stress, burnout, and psychological flexibility. Given this, there has been limited research demonstrating ACT in a variety of clinical settings. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and clients alike may experience distress and burnout. The following three talks will discuss three different implementations of ACT-based interventions across three different clinical applications. The first talk will discuss the potential value in an online-based ACT intervention targeted for behavior technicians and their levels of burnout and overt levels of values-based actions. The second talk will discuss an application of a two-day ACT-based workshop designed to interact with three BCBAs and their indirect levels of psychological flexibility and burnout, weekly reported values-based actions, and performance on a values based check in system. The third talk will discuss the application of an ACT-based approach to rigid habit following in an individual with a dual diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT, Burnout, Psychological Flexibility
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to:1. Define psychological flexibility as it pertains to Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) 2describe how psychological flexibility influences levels of burnout and stress 3. Define how to define and collect data on objective measures of values-based committed actions

The Effects of an Online Acceptance and Commitment Training on Employee Burnout and Values-Based Behavior

(Service Delivery)
MIGUEL FLORES (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Within the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA), behavior technicians can be described as a highly valuable employee within their organization due to their direct one to one work with clients. Over time, a behavior technician’s level of burnout may increase due to the prolonged emotional exhaustion that accompanies the work. One possible intervention to incorporate into the workplace is acceptance and commitment training (ACT). ACT is an evidence-based intervention that focuses on enhancing six processes (i.e., self-as-context, values, committed action, contacting the present moment, defusion and acceptance) to increase psychological flexibility. While there is research on ACT in various modalities, one emerging method of delivery is through online-based modules. The present study evaluates an online-based ACT intervention targeted to behavior technicians while simultaneously teaching them to engage in overt behavior directly tied to their values. It is hypothesized that the online acceptance and commitment training will be effective in influencing a behavior technician’s perception of burnout, increasing psychological flexibility, and stabilizing and or increasing values-based behaviors.


Exploring Effects of a Acceptance and Commitment Training Workshop on Weekly Overt Values-Based Behaviors, Psychological Flexibility, and Check-in Checklist Performance

(Applied Research)
DAVID LEGASPI (Center For Applied Behavior Analysis), Heidi Eilers (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Elizabeth Ashton Benedickt (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis ), Tammy Lee (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis )

Acceptance and commitment training (ACT) has been growing in acceptability within the scope of behavior analysis (Enoch, & Nicholson, 2020). Since the start of the current COVID-related pandemic, researchers have moved to include programs related to psychological flexibility to mitigate possible effects the current shelter in place may have on our wellbeing and potential feelings of stress (Fieberg, Gould, Ming, Watson, 2020). Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are often described as those who have stressful jobs that could lead to stress and burnout. ACT has been shown to mitigate workplace stress and increase levels of psychological flexibility (Pingo, Dixon, & Paliliunas, 2019). The following study explored the potential effect a two-day ACT workshop may have on the weekly overt values-based behaviors a BCBA reports to have completed, indirect measures associated with psychological flexibility (AAQ, CAQ-8) and stress, and performance on a check-in system designed to help aid BCBAs to check in with the colleagues they supervise. Using a multiple baseline design across three BCBAs, the results suggest the ACT workshop affected overt weekly reported values-based actions. Results also suggest the workshop was successful in improving performance on the check-in checklist. Further implications and suggestions will be discussed.


Acceptance and Commitment Training and Self-Monitoring Habit Reversal for the Reduction of Compulsive Behaviors

(Applied Research)
ELIZABETH ASHTON BENEDICKT (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis ), David Legaspi (Center For Applied Behavior Analysis), Tyler James Arauza (TCSPP), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles; Center for Applied Behavior Analysis )

The majority of current behavior analysts are working within the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) population (BACB, 2020). ASD is often comorbid with other diagnoses including obsessive and compulsive disorder (OCD) (Lewin, Wood, Gunderson, Murphy, & Storch, 2011). Behavior analysts may not have experience with individuals who have this comorbid presentation(Broadhead, Quigley, Wilczynski, 2018). Research demonstrating the application of behavior analytic treatment of behaviors associated with comorbid diagnoses are necessary in the development of our field’s overall utility. In this paper, we will demonstrate the efficacy of a treatment package utilizing acceptance and commitment training (ACT), and mindfulness-based training for the reduction of compulsive behaviors in an 11-year-old individual diagnosed with OCD and ASD. Sessions were conducted via telehealth for 2 hours each day, 3 days per week, across 4 consecutive months. A reversal design was utilized to test for treatment efficacy. In baseline, the participant was engaged in a variety of compulsive behavior in the bathroom for up to 9 hours per day. Results indicated that the treatment package was effective in the reduction of the duration of engagement in compulsive behaviors. Overall duration of engagement dropped from 9 hours to 45 minutes. Results, implications, and overall social validity will be discussed.




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