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Acceptance & Commitment Therapy



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Behavior Therapy

- Emerges as an approach committed to the development of well specified and rigorously tested applied technologies based on scientifically well-established basic principles

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Context Supporting a Generation of BT

1. A number of empirical anomalies have emerged.

  • 2. The underlying treatment development model is showing signs of wear.

  • 3. The rise of constructivism and similar post modernist theories weakened the mechanistic assumptions that were once dominating.

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Third Wave

The new behavior therapies carry forward the BT traditions, but they:

1. Abandon a sole commitment to the first- order change

  • 2. Adopt more contextualistic aasumptions

  • 3. Adopt more experiential and indirect strategies

  • 4. Considerably broaden the focus of change

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Underlying Philosophy

1. Several of the new behavior therapies have contextualistic roots.

2. This philosophical difference seems to make more sense of the difference between second generation BT and the new forms.

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The truth is always itself contextually situated function.

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Basic Theory: Relational Frame Theory

Relational Frame Theory research has shown that human beings are extraordinarily able to learn to derive and combine stimulus relationships and to bring them under arbitrary contextual control.

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Nonabitrary stimulus relations are those defined by formal properties of related events. However, humans can readily learn to relate events that are not formally related.

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Properties of relational learning:

1. Bidirectionality

  • 2. Combinatorial

  • 3. Transformation of stimulus functions among related stimuli

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“C-A-T” animal, and C-A-T cat (4) Derived additional relations Animal C-A-T

“cat” C-A-T “cat” animal

Animal cat

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Theory of Psychopathology:

Psychological Inflexibility

1. Ubiquity of pain

  • 2. Cognitive fusion

  • 3. Experiential avoidance

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Thoery of Change:

Psychological Flexibility

  • 1. Establishing psychological acceptance

  • 2. Establishing cognitive defusion skills

  • 3. Distinguishing self-as-context from conceptualized self

  • 4. Contacting the present moment and establishing self-as-process skills

  • 5. Distinguishing choice from reasoned action

  • 6. Teaching committed behavioral persistence and behavioral change strategies linked to those values

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