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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #469
CE Offered: BACB
Words, Bodies, Drinks, and Drugs: New Applications of Third Wave Behavior Therapies
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM/VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Nolan Williams (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Discussant: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Amy Murrell, Ph.D.

Third wave behavior therapies have been described as focusing on elaborating behavioral repertoires instead of decreasing psychological symptoms. This often includes, to some degree, both training mindfulness skills and constructing valued patterns of behavior. Third wave approaches have been applied to a variety of areas of human suffering. This symposium will review four applications of various components of third wave behavior therapies across formats, settings, populations, and target behaviors. The first paper in this symposium explores the impact of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as an adjunctive treatment to improve the quality of life of an individual struggling with stuttering. The second paper will present data on the effectiveness of a self-help book focused on improving body-image flexibility. The third paper in the symposium will explore the impact of a specific eastern meditation practice on substance use. The fourth paper will examine the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for marijuana abuse. Implications for future treatment development efforts will be discussed.

Keyword(s): Interventions, Mindfulness, Psychological Flexibility
ACT-ing Fluently: The Impacts of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on the Subjective Quality of Life of a Person Who Stutters
ALAINA KIEFNER (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emmy LeBleu (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Allen (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), John Tetnowski (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Thales De Nardo (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Michael Azios (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Effective communication is a fundamental part of human life. Persons who stutter (PWS) can experience mild to severe levels of impairment in communication fluency. This inability to communicate fluently with others, in addition to being associated with negative social interactions such as bullying, can often lead to negative experiences of otherwise innocuous or pleasant social situations. Thus persons who stutter often experience reduced quality of life in various domains including: vitality, social functioning, mental health, and emotional functioning. Psychological flexibility, the ability to be in contact with one’s values and pursue or not pursue action when doing so aligns with those values, has been associated with increased quality of life in many different populations. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave behavioral therapy that has as its main focus the pursuit of increased psychological flexibility. That being so, we hypothesized that ACT might be a beneficial addition to traditional speech therapy for the treatment of PWS. This presentation will address the preliminary results of one case study of ACT plus traditional speech therapy for an individual who stutters. Preliminary results suggest that the ACT/speech therapy intervention was successful in improving the individual’s reported quality of life.
Living with Your Body: An Examination of Flexibility-Based Bibiotherapy for Body Image
BENJAMIN RAMOS (University of Louisiana at Lafayetta), Grayson Butcher (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Lauren Burns (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Lauren Griffin (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: “Body image” is a term used to describe behaviors evoked by the body, including private behaviors like body-related thoughts and feelings, and public behaviors, such as body checking or grooming. For some individuals, body image has little impact on their lives as a whole. For others, however, the experience of the body is aversive – associated with a range of painful experience and resulting in a range of avoidance behaviors. Body image disturbance of this sort can come to interfere with daily functioning and overall quality of life. Emerging research suggests that building body image flexibility, or the capacity to experience the full range of body-related experiences without engaging in avoidance, can help to improve well-being amongst those with body image struggles. This population, however, tends not to present for treatment, requiring alternative means of intervention. This study examined the impact of an flexibility-based self-help book, Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate on a body image disturbance and overall well being. Preliminary data are promising. Implications for further research and for intervention will be discussed.
Eastern Meditation in Drug Treatment Facilities
DEBESH MALLIK (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), David R. Perkins (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Despite the availability of various substance abuse treatments, substance misuse and the negative consequences associated with it remain a serious problem in our society. Various types of meditation have been evaluated for treatment of substance use disorders, but the research has not drawn any specific conclusions. This may be due to a small sample size, lack of a control group, and lack of spiritual emphasis. Therefore, the current study included a larger than normal sample size (N=90), a spiritual emphasis (12-steps) and inner eye concentration, a sham relaxation control group (progressive relaxation), and a treatment-as-usual control (TAU) group. The meditation technique was a simple meditation technique where the attention of focus remains on the point between the eyebrows. The current study examines changes in substance use, depression, anxiety, stress, emotional regulation, and health-related quality of life among three groups (meditation, progressive relaxation, and TAU) over a 6 month period. Implications for integration of meditation with behavioral treatments will be discussed.
Using Protocolized Acceptance and Commitment Training to Decrease Drug Use
ALEXANDER MCLEAN (University of South Florida), Timothy M. Weil (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Behavior analysts have had much success in the world of intellectual disabilities and children. However, the realm of language-based psychopathology has just begun to be addressed within the field. Inclusion of an understanding of derived stimulus relations may provide an understanding of the effects of transformation of function on our behavior. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on derived stimulus relations and allows for a behavior analytic treatment of language-based psychopathology. The current study intended to test the efficacy of a brief protocol-delivered ACT intervention with individuals who smoke marijuana. Oral swab drug screens was the primary dependent variable, along with self-reported drug use and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II(AAQ-II). All six ACT components were taught briefly to each subject using a set list of metaphors and exercises and was assessed using a concurrent multiple baseline across participants design. Results show that large reductions in marijuana intake was observed by all participants (n=3) by the second session and these reductions maintained at one month follow up.



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