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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Saturday, May 23, 2020


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #52
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Post-Traumatic Problems in Living
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon C
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Amy Murrell, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SONJA BATTEN (Flexible Edge Solutions)

Traumatic experiences can have significant, and long-lasting, effects on the individuals who survive them. Frequently, clients who live through trauma experience a host of behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and physical health problems. When these individuals come to therapy, most of them are hoping that they will be able to eliminate the nightmares, memories, anger, anxiety, and other posttraumatic symptoms that they experience. In fact, most of them have tried many things (such as isolation, substance abuse, even suicide attempts) to manage these symptoms. However, what many of these individuals fail to realize is that their heroic efforts to avoid the pain of their posttraumatic experiences may actually be making things worse - and may even be the heart of the problem. In many ways, despite their best efforts, trauma survivors frequently find themselves trapped in a life that is largely devoted to the avoidance of pain. Effective empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic symptoms have been developed to aid trauma survivors in improving traditional PTSD symptoms. However, they are not universally effective, and not all clients are willing to engage in exposure-based treatment. In addition, given the high levels of psychiatric comorbidity with PTSD, treatments are needed that can cut across diagnostic categories and begin to treat presenting problems based on functional dimensions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a contemporary behavior therapy, provides an alternative to the feel-good agenda and instead focuses on helping clients to reconnect with those ideals and principles for living that are deeply important to them and that dignify the difficult events that they have survived. This presentation will introduce clinicians to contextual behavioral tools to work with trauma survivors on identifying each person’s valued life directions and then help motivate experiential acceptance and behavior change in the service of those values.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Clinicians, supervisors, students

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe an understanding of posttraumatic problems in living based on a framework of experiential avoidance; (2) adapt traditional exposure-based interventions for an acceptance-based model; (3) promote life changes by helping clients move toward their values, rather than away from their pain.
SONJA BATTEN (Flexible Edge Solutions)
Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a specialization in traumatic stress, who has worked in policy, clinical, and research leadership positions in the public and private sectors. Dr. Batten is a peer-reviewed ACT trainer, a Past-President and Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the author of Essentials of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and the co-author of Committed Action in Practice. Dr. Batten is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting and health care industries. She is also a certified Change Management Practitioner and an experienced Executive Coach and Mentor.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #133
Using Implementation Science to Open the Black Box of Trauma-Informed Schools
Saturday, May 23, 2020
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 3, Ballroom AB
Area: EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Robin Codding (Northeastern University)
CE Instructor: Robin Codding, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: STACY OVERSTREET (Tulane University)

The term “trauma-informed schools” has achieved buzzword status in our current educational landscape, fueled by the urgency schools feel to address the devastating effects of trauma on the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of our students. However, there is no clear consensus regarding the inputs, or the core components, of trauma-informed schools and there have been no rigorous evaluations of their outputs, or the effects on students, teachers, or schools. If trauma-informed schools are to become more than a passing trend, we must work harder to describe the inputs, document the outputs, and explain the complex processes that link the two. In this presentation, I will summarize the core components of trauma-informed schools, identify key implementation factors thought to facilitate the adoption and maximize the impact of trauma-informed approaches, and review strategies to evaluate the impact of trauma-informed schools.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Educational practitioners and researchers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the core components of trauma-informed schools; (2) discuss implementation factors important for the successful adoption of trauma-informed approaches; (3) compare different evaluation strategies to evaluate the impact of trauma-informed schools.
STACY OVERSTREET (Tulane University)

Stacy Overstreet, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Tulane University.  Over the course of her career her research has focused on how sociological, cultural, familial, psychological, developmental, and biological processes influence and interact with one another over time to shape child adaptation to trauma.  Over the past ten years, she has translated that research to inform the implementation and evaluation of trauma-informed schools.  She has published several empirical and conceptual papers related to these areas and she was co-editor of a 2016 special issue on trauma-informed schools in the journal, School Mental Health.  Dr. Overstreet is a founding member of the New Orleans Trauma-Informed Schools Learning Collaborative.  Her work through the Collaborative includes a grant from the National Institute of Justice to determine whether a multi-component implementation strategy for trauma-informed schools improves school safety as well as a grant from the Department of Justice to develop and evaluate a Train the Trainer model for the implementation of trauma-informed schools.  

B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #151
About Reward
Saturday, May 23, 2020
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 3, Ballroom AB
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Carla H. Lagorio (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
CE Instructor: Carla H. Lagorio, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: WOLFRAM SCHULTZ (University of Cambridge)

The talk will describe the properties of neurons in the brain’s reward systems and how their action contributes to economic decision-making. Each of several reward systems, including the dopamine neurons, striatum, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex, play a unique role in these processes. The details of this function are currently being investigated using designs based on behavioral theories, such as animal learning theory, machine learning and economic utility theory.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Anyone interested in brain processes.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) define reward; (2) explain the function of rewards; (3) explain how we make economic decisions; (4) discuss how the brain processes rewards; (5) explain how reward processes go wrong.
WOLFRAM SCHULTZ (University of Cambridge)

Wolfram Schultz is a graduate in medicine from the University of Heidelberg. After postdoctoral stays in Germany, USA and Sweden, and a faculty position in Switzerland, he works currently at the University of Cambridge. He combines behavioural, neurophysiological and neuroimaging techniques to investigate the neural mechanisms of rlearning, goal-directed behaviour and economic decision making. He uses behavioural concepts from animal learning theory and economic decision theories to study the neurophysiology and neuroimaging of reward and risk in individual neurons and in specific brain regions, including the dopamine system, striatum, orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala.




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