ACT and Applied Behavior Analysis
A Practical Guide to Ensuring Better Behavior Outcomes Using Acceptance and Commitment Training
Published by: New Harbinger Publications
Imprint: Context Press
304 Pages, x 0.67 in
- Published: October 2023
Quickly master a proven-effective behavior therapy that will allow you to expand the effectiveness of your practice.
As a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), you work with a wide range of clients, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some of these clients may not be verbal at all on one end of the spectrum, while some may have very advanced language skills on the other. For these clients and their families, you need a flexible and adaptable therapeutic framework to ensure the best behavior outcomes. Drawn from relational frame theory (RFT)—the psychological theory of human language—acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can help.
With this definitive professional manual, you’ll learn to conceptualize your cases using ACT, create your own exercises, generate metaphors, be present with the unique individual learner in front of you, and practice the core ACT skills flexibly to ensure better behavior outcomes for clients and their families. You’ll find an overview of the theoretical connections between behavior analysis, RFT, and ACT, as well as the core act skills, including present-moment awareness, flexible perspective taking, committed action, and values work. Finally, you’ll find information on cultural competency and diversity to help you service a wide range of clients.
If you’re like many BCBAs, you need specialized resources when working with linguistically sophisticated clients, as well as their parents and caregivers. Let this book be your comprehensive guide to incorporating ACT into your work.
“Applied behavior analysis (ABA) has waited a long time for this book. Behavior analysts will be delighted at the clear, pragmatic approach this book takes in guiding them toward the incorporation of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) into behavior analytic practice. The many examples and vignettes are relevant and representative. The book underscores how ACT synthesizes with the behavior analyst’s competencies, including implementing interventions based on functional analysis. The writing style is engaging, and will keep the reader smiling.”
—Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, dean at Waubonsee College; past president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International; and fellow of the Associations for Behavior Analysis and Contextual Behavior Science ~Ruth Anne Rehfeldt
“ACT emerged from behavior analysis, but ironically it is only now being used by mainstream ABAs. This book provides an in-depth overview of ACT in an ABA context, along with practical exercises to help practitioners develop their skills in functional assessment, analysis, and intervention. The chapters on the six repertoires of psychological flexibility are particularly valuable, as they provide competencies and exercises that can help ABA practitioners evaluate their current repertoire and further their training. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to integrate ACT into their practice as a BCBA, and, as the author’s personal story illustrates, to practice what they preach in their own lives.”
—Steven C. Hayes, PhD, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno; and originator of ACT ~Steven C. Hayes, PhD
“In the era of compassionate and trauma-informed care, the brief ACT functional analysis and other tools presented in this book are instrumental to the meaningful practice of ABA. I would even go as far as saying, the tools provided in this book may be the way for behavior analysts to find their heart (Wolf, 1978), in that its utilization will undoubtedly lead to socially significant behavior change.”~Michele D. Wallace, PhD, BCBA-D
—Michele D. Wallace, PhD, BCBA-D, professor at Cal State LA; and coauthor of Behavior Analysis for Lasting Change, Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis for Behavior Technicians and Other Practitioners, and Behavioral Consulting
“Mera dil khush hogaya—my heart is happy. If you are a BCBA searching for a practical guide to ACT, this is your book—your go-to, dog-eared, nightstand stuff. Tom’s writing is like brewing the perfect chai: two tablespoons of theory, two cups of practice, and plenty of kindness.”
—Sehar Moughal, Doctoral Candidate, BCBA, registered psychologist, and professional teaching fellow at the University of Auckland ~Sehar Moughal, Doctoral Candidate, BCBA
“With its transformative approach, practical exercises, and insightful examples, this invaluable guide rewards practitioners with enhanced skills, personal growth, and the ability to make a meaningful impact with compassion and respect. Embrace the power of ACT in ABA to foster psychological flexibility in clients, caregivers, colleagues, stakeholders, and yourself. Join a community of practitioners dedicated to making a difference, and be rewarded with profound professional and personal fulfillment.”
—Yukie Kurumiya, PhD, BCBA-D, IBA, contextual behavior analyst at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and founder of ACT Prosocial Design ~Yukie Kurumiya, PhD, BCBA-D, IBA
“ACT and Applied Behavior Analysis clarifies the connection between ACT and the science of behavior by sharing information and exercises that equip readers with the necessary component skills for practicing acceptance and commitment training in the field of ABA. This is a must-have book for ABA practitioners who seek to develop a practice repertoire that includes increased awareness and insight into self, compassion, and humility.”
—Nasiah Cirincione Ulezi, EdD, BCBA, CEO and founder of ULEZI, LLC ~Nasiah Cirincione Ulezi, EdD, BCBA
“Tom Szabo takes readers through history, concepts, and principles by providing evidence from laboratory and applied research, sharing valuable examples from his experience, and outlining practical case conceptualizations that are relatable and memorable. Throughout this book, Tom calls on all behavior analysts to self-reflect and take action.”
—Ellie Kazemi, PhD, international speaker, organizational management consultant, and professor of behavior analysis in the department of psychology at CSUN ~Ellie Kazemi, PhD
“Tom Szabo’s book, ACT and Applied Behavior Analysis, takes you on a journey of human experience. You will be grounded in the philosophical underpinnings of the science, and then explore the complexities of verbal behavior. The expertise shared enriches the practice of behavior analysis beyond the operant chamber and demonstrates that ACT and the science of behavior are robust, responsive, and may be leveraged to positively impact for all.”
—Margaret Uwayo, PhD, BCBA, LBA, executive director of Kalamazoo Academy for Behavioral and Academic Success, and senior director of behavioral and academic success at YWCA Kalamazoo ~Margaret Uwayo, PhD, BCBA, LBA