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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #193
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysts and Psychotherapy: Examining Common Scientific Roots
Sunday, May 27, 2018
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, America's Cup A-D
Area: CBM/TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Amanda M. Munoz-Martinez (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: William C. Follette (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: Yors A. Garcia, Ph.D.

Clinical behavioral psychology and behavior analysis are tightly related. Though political differences have left a gap between these areas of behavioral science, many empirically supported psychotherapy approaches are based on behavioral principles. This symposium will present behavioral-oriented clinical interventions whose theoretical foundations rely on behavior analysis and contextual behavioral science. We will present the achievements and scope of Behavioral Activation, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), and Parent Training. We will provide evidence connecting behavioral principles and clinical practices, and the future areas of research in which behavior analysts and clinical psychologists could collaborate to improve therapeutic services by conducting translational and applied research. We will discuss scenarios where the implementation of therapeutic tools from these therapies could be utilized by behavior analysts to boost their interventions and some others where referral to clinical psychologists are needed. We seek to build a bridge between clinical psychologists and behavior analysts to reduce the burden of both professional areas and promote collaboration to strengthen behavioral science. Behavior analysts in interdisciplinary settings will learn how their mental health colleagues apply a behavioral perspective to complex human action.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Behavioral-Oriented Psychotherapies, Interpersonal/Mood Dysfunction, Parent Training, Therapeutic Services
Target Audience:

Target audience for this symposium are graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, behavior analysts and clinical psychologist working in private practice and academia.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify conceptual and procedural differences in all four behavioral-oriented therapies ; (2) learn how different components of each behavioral therapy is applied in clinical settings and ; (3) identify behavioral principles that can be utilized for behavior analysts and clinical psychologist alike in their current research and practice.

Back to Basics With Behavioral Activation

CORY STANTON (University of Nevada, Reno)

Behavioral activation (BA) is one of the most widely researched and disseminated treatments for clinical depression. Originally formulated as a component of cognitive-behavioral therapy, BA has emerged as a cost-effective, efficacious, and portable stand-alone intervention. The theoretical roots of BA are planted firmly in the operant work of Skinner and Ferster. Early empirical research by Lewinsohn inspired a wave of behavior therapists, including those who researched similar yet divergent treatment delivery methods. As behavior therapy widened its scope and considered the role of affect and cognition, research has continued examining the core behavioral processes thought to be the heart of BA, including collaboratively identifying reinforcers, structured activity scheduling, and weekly evaluation. While multiple iterations of BA have augmented treatment with modules such as relaxation training, social skills training, and values or long-term goals assessment, basic behavioral principles remain the engine under the hood. Behavior analysts will find the theoretical grounds of BA to be familiar territory, while contemporary empirical findings will provide an updated assessment of where BA can go next.


Taking a Dialectical Behavioral TherapyApproach: Applications and Implications of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Behavioral Analysts and Psychotherapy

ANDREW AHRENDT (University of Nevada, Reno)

Numerous research has shown DBT to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of disorders including but not limited to borderline personality disorders, substance use and dependence disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders. DBT involves teaching and training clients through the use of behaviorally based skills which implemented across a variety of settings and situations. Particularly, DBT has developed guidelines to teach clients to tact their emotions based on the discriminative stimulus in the environment where these are evoked. This therapy also promotes effective interpersonal behaviors with the aim of improving clients global functioning. Due to its widespread applicability knowing, and the utility of its basic skills for a wide variety of clients, DBT can prove to be an invaluable addition to behavior analysts interventions. This presentation will address the achievements and scope of DBT, its application across a variety of settings and situations and the potential implications of its tools for behavioral analysts.


Parent Training: Applications and New Findings

YORS A. GARCIA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) is characterized for using traditional behavioral procedures such as differential reinforcement, extinction, and time-out to modify problem behaviors, and to establish more appropriate behaviors in children. Although these procedures have been very effective in establishing new behavior, the fact is that important areas in parent training have been left behind. For example, addressing the impact of private events in dealing with stressful events, values, and mindfulness methods. Therefore, the objective of this presentation is two-fold. First, provide a state of the art of the behavioral intervention to parents with neuro-typical children and children with intellectual disabilities. Second, describe the evidence of these new methods to parents training. Behavior analyst have been very reluctant to implement values and mindfulness procedure in to their practice. We will provide some guidelines how to do it in their clinical work.


Functional Analytic Psychotherapy: Behavior Analysts and the Therapeutic Relationship

AMANDA M MUNOZ-MARTINEZ (University of Nevada, Reno )

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) is a behavioral principle-driven intervention focused on promoting therapeutic changes within the context of therapeutic relationship. FAP primary goal is enhancing social functioning while reducing socially ineffective behaviors through modifying clients' social contingencies of reinforcement in-session. Functional analysis is the foundation of FAP, and based on that, therapists evoke, redirect, reinforce, and generalize clients' clinically relevant behaviors. Although FAP represents the natural transition from applied behavior analysis to clinical behavior analysis in the therapeutic relationship context, FAP is not widely known by researchers and practitioners in behavior analysis. Based on that, this presentation seeks to expose the potential utility of FAP for applied behavior analysts and prospective areas of collaboration between researchers from both fields. On the applied area, a FAP-approach would particularly benefit for applied behavior analysists who interact with high-functional clients and family members, enhancing their therapeutic relationship and social connection. On the research field, a translational research agenda that explores the link between FAP-applications and its basic roots, the parameters of reinforcement within the clinical setting, the role of motivational operations in the therapeutic relationship, so forth. would help to extend the scope of behavioral science to other human-relevant areas.




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