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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #103
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Navigating Work and Life in Behavior Analysis With Compassion and Flexibility: A Collection of Four Odysseys
Saturday, September 3, 2022
10:30 AM–12:20 PM
Meeting level 2; Wicklow Hall 1
Area: CBM/PCH; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Thomas Wade Brown (Ball State University )
Discussant: Sarah N. Cassidy (Smithsfield Clinic, Fosterfields, Athboy, Co. Meath)
CE Instructor: Evelyn Rachael Gould, Ph.D.

Navigating graduate school and academic life, and meeting the diverse needs of the families and individuals we serve requires more than the technical skills emphasized in most training programs. This symposium presents four papers exploring novel and efficient ways to support students and practitioners in navigating common challenges, such as public speaking, addressing burnout, communicating with caregivers, and ethically expanding their scope of competence and practice to new areas. The first paper explores the effects of values clarification, acceptance, and awareness training on speech disfluencies in college students. The second explores the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) on values-directed and supervisory behaviors in BCBAs, with a specific focus on reducing burnout and stress. The third paper presents a novel procedure for establishing relationship-building skills in ABA practitioners. The final paper presents key challenges and considerations for applied behavior analysts attempting to ethically and effectively integrate ACT into their practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT-training, supervision
Target Audience:

The topics extend beyond the foundations of ABA. Recommended for advanced graduate students and BCBA's. Topics include teaching and supervising non-clinical adult population; and advanced functional assessment.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Identify issues related to public speaking in college students and potential methods for addressing these issues. 2. Discuss the potential benefits of ACT-informed interventions in supporting the effectiveness and wellbeing of practitioners in ABA settings. 3. Identify at least 2 conceptual, ethical or practical concerns for practitioners attempting to integrate ACT into their practice.

Decreasing Speech Disfluencies Using Values Clarification and Acceptance Sequenced With Awareness Training

RANDI MELVIN-BROWN (On Point Behavior LLC), Yors A. Garcia (Universidad Javeriana), Jack Spear (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Shawnee D. Collins (Chrysalis)

Avoidance of public speaking opportunities impedes success across work, education, and social contexts (e.g., Bördlein & Sander, 2019). Addressing speech disfluencies and public speaking anxiety is thus an important area of intervention. A randomized crossover design was used to assess the effects of awareness training (AT), values clarification (VC), and acceptance-based (AB) procedures (delivered via a digital meeting platform) on speech disfluencies in college students. Participants' performance during three short speeches (e.g., 3-5 min) was assessed at baseline and post-intervention by confederate audience members. Participants also rated their own anxiety and speaking behaviors. Results suggested decreased speech disfluencies for all participants, regardless of treatment sequence. However, the AT-VC-AB group demonstrated more rapid decreases across speech disfluencies, while the VC-AB-AT group demonstrated greater psychological flexibility and reduced distress post-intervention. Future implications and recommendations for future research are also discussed.


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

DAVID LEGASPI (Center For Applied Behavior Analysis), Heidi Eilers (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA)), Elizabeth Ashton Benedickt (The Center for Applied Behavior Analysis), Tammy Lee (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA); California State University, Los Angeles), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles; Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA)), Anthony Hernandez (California State University)

The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to an interest in the potential mitigating effects of psychological flexibility on stress and burnout in practitioners (Fiebig, Gould, Ming, & Watson, 2020). Acceptance and commitment training (ACT) is one approach that has used to promote psychological flexibility in the workplace, including within ABA settings (Pingo, Dixon, & Paliliunas, 2019).This study utilized a multiple baseline design across participants to examine the effects of a two-day ACT workshop on values-directed behaviors in BCBAs, specifically engagement in self-care and self-compassion. Measures included self-monitoring data with respect to values-directed actions, pre-and post- measures of psychological flexibility (AAQ, CAQ-8) and stress (Burnout Questionnaire; Perceived Stress Scale), and performance on a 10-item checklist designed to assess supervisory behaviors. Results indicate that, in addition to reduced stress, burnout, and psychological inflexibility, ACT may have a positive impact on valuing and supervisory performance in BCBAs. Future implications and recommendations are also discussed.

A Preliminary Analysis of the Effects of Clicker Training and Verbal Instructions on the Acquisition of Relationship-Building Skills in Two Applied Behavior Analysis Practitioners
EVELYN GOULD (New England Center for OCD and Anxiety; Keck School of Medicine at USC), Luisa Canon (Institute for Effective Behavioral Interventions (IEBI)/ ACT to Thrive)
Abstract: ​Recent research has emphasized the need for training and competency in relationship-building and compassionate care skills for BCBAs (Taylor et al., 2019). The effectiveness of clicker training has not yet been evaluated as a technique for shaping complex clinical repertoires. This study evaluated the effects of verbal instructions, clicker training, and role-play on the acquisition of therapeutic relationship skills in ABA practitioners. Data were obtained as part of a training program conducted within an ABA agency, and the acquisition of target skills was evaluated using a multiple-baseline design across behaviors for two participants. During baseline, participants rarely demonstrated target skills. During training, the procedure resulted in increased engagement in all three target skills for both participants. Skill generalization with respect to untrained and novel scenarios was observed but at levels below mastery. Findings have potential implications for trainers and supervisors seeking efficient, nonintrusive, socially acceptable methods of improving practitioner performance.

Ongoing, Explicit, and Direct Functional Assessment is a Necessary Component of ACT as Behavior Analysis

EVELYN RACHAEL GOULD (New England Center for OCD and Anxiety; Keck School of Medicine at USC), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana Lafayette), Luisa F Canon (Institute for Effective Behavioral Interventions (IEBI)/ ACT to Thrive), Troy DuFrene (San Francisco Center for Compassion-Focused Therapies)

Skillfully and ethically delivered ACT-based interventions have the potential to produce powerful, socially significant outcomes within ABA settings (e.g., Castro et al., 2016; Gould et al., 2017). This paper examines the use of ACT and language as intervention within ABA contexts and raises important conceptual, ethical and practical concerns for practitioners. In particular, we emphasize that the explicit use of functional assessment (FA) is necessary for any intervention said to be behavior analytic, and to ensure the design and implementation of effective, context-sensitive interventions (Sandoz et al., 2021). We argue that the apparent omission of explicit FA within the ACT literature is concerning and that while BCBAs may be well-positioned to integrate ACT into their practice, they must ensure this is done in a way that is consistent with their specific scope of competence and practice as behavior analysts.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh