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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #471
CE Offered: BACB
The Clinical Utility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Diverse Settings
Monday, May 29, 2017
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 4
Area: CBM/CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Tyler S Glassford (Saint Louis University)
CE Instructor: Ashley Shayter, M.S.
Abstract: Challenging covert and overt behaviors found in schools, treatment centers, and residential facilities are often dealt with by teachers, social workers, and direct care staff. Behavior analysis has developed technologies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to deal with these higher order problems. The research in ACT extends beyond traditional behavior analytic interventions in order to address issues such as psychological inflexibility, addiction, and other problem behaviors. ACT can help individuals become aware of how their verbal relations interact, and the effect those relations have on their covert and overt behaviors. Additionally, the use of ACT may present an alternate solution to the use of pharmaceutical interventions. In the present symposium, diverse settings in which ACT can be applied will be discussed. Specifically, the three presentations will discuss the clinical utility of ACT within early childhood and pre-school settings, its application by social workers in addiction treatment centers, and improve direct care staff performance during crises.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ACT, Addiction Treatment, Crises Intervention, Preschool
Clinical Utility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Early Childhood Settings
(Applied Research)
HEATHER LYNN LEWIS (Saint Louis University), Tracy Crystal Lemler (Southern Illinois University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Despite increasing rates of mental illness in children, simple contingency models are often prescribed with little to no consideration of the private events that may influence challenging behaviors. Without addressing a significant influential component to such concerns, even effective procedures prove temporary. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been shown to be an effective treatment option for a range of clinically significant behaviors across the lifespan, and research is beginning to emerge on applying ACT in schools, particularly for children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Despite a growing interest, limited focus has been placed on the implementation and outcomes of very young learners. Given minimal literature on the topic, a need emerges for clearly identifying empirically-based strategies for successful implementation of ACT in pre-school settings. Therefore, the current presentation will showcase empirically-based strategies for infusing ACT into an early childhood setting. The presentation will outline therapeutic sessions with pre-school-aged children and how to measure success when implementing an ACT intervention.

Using Clinical Behavior Analytic Social Work Practice in Addiction Treatment Centers: Infusing Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Strategies During Group Sessions

(Service Delivery)
SHELBY BATES (Saint Louis University ), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University)

Minimal information currently exists about best practices and implementation strategies for behavioral therapy for gambling disorders, particularly in community addiction treatment centers. Furthermore, therapeutic treatment models applying clinical behavior analytic social work practice to gambling addictions suggest the importance of identifying environmental factors maintaining gambling, to promote sustained absence. The current presentation extends previous work on clinical behavior analytic social work practice into addiction treatment centers. Group sessions conducted across mindfulness and acceptance based topics, derived from previous research on substance use disorders and gambling disorders, were provided to adult males attending a substance in-patient/out-patient community center in the Midwest, United States. Traditional behavior analytic strategies were modified and adapted to fit the community center culture, where attendance or participation in meetings was not required. Further, psychometrics related to mindfulness and acceptance (i.e., MAAS) were provided to attendees before and after weekly sessions, to determine any within-session effects. Identified barriers and solutions for overcoming data collection challenges in community mental health group settings will also be discussed. Finally, with graduate programs training social workers in the use of ABA, the current presentation will discuss the clinical utility of infusing clinical social work with clinical behavior analysis.

Evaluating a Brief ACT intervention to Improve Direct Care Staff Performance During Crisis Intervention Encounters
(Applied Research)
ASHLEY SHAYTER (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Direct care staffs are often tasked with responding to difficult and oftentimes dangerous problem behaviors. While efforts to identify safe and effective procedures for addressing problematic behaviors has produced a number of proactive and function based strategies, default technologies such as restraint may often be required to ensure that a client cannot harm themselves or others. However, staff members who use these types of technologies tend to suffer from greater levels of anxiety, desensitization, and negatively interact with clients. Additionally, staff are less likely to engage in proactive and recommended protocols, or accurately respond to incidents. Although clear correlations between burnout, poor interactions, and job stressors exist, there are currently few empirically based programs designed to train appropriate coping mechanisms in these situations. The present study examined the efficacy of a brief Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) intervention in combination with realistic role-play scenarios in improving direct care staff performance during crisis intervention encounters. Results indicated that four of the six participants improved their performance following training. Implications of this study suggest that ACT may be a beneficial intervention to increase staff performance during crises.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh