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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

Previous Page


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #148
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Behavioral Activation for Whatever Ails You

Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
4C-2 (Convention Center)
Area: CBM; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Thomas J. Waltz, Ph.D.
Chair: Thomas J. Waltz (Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research)
CHRISTOPHER MARTELL (University of Washington)
Christopher R. Martell, Ph.D. is in private practice in Seattle and is a Clinical Associate Professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and in the department of Psychology at the University of Washington. He is board certified in both clinical psychology and behavioral psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. The co-author of four books, he has published widely on behavioral treatments for depression and other areas of application of CBT.  He is first author of Depression in Context: Strategies for Guided Action with Michael Addis & Neil Jacobson; Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician’s Guide, with Sona Dimidjian and Ruth Herman-Dunn and, with Michael Addis, Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time: The New Behavioral Activation Approach to Getting Your Life Back – which has been translated into four languages - and has co-authored two other books.  He was the recipient of the Washington State Psychological Association's Distinguished Psychologist Award in 2004.  He is a past President of the American Board of Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology, a specialty board of ABPP. Dr. Martell received his Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra University in 1988.

Interest in behavioral activation (BA) in the treatment of depression has gained worldwide acceptance and re-invigorated interest in a behavioral rather than a cognitive conceptualization of depression. According to the basic premise of the behavioral model, depression results from low rates of response-contingent positive reinforcement or increased rates of punishment. For vulnerable individuals such reinforcement contingencies may be correlated with low mood and other “symptoms” of depression. Individuals then respond to the symptoms in understandable ways to avoid bad feelings or responsibilities, but get stuck in a cycle of inertia that is negatively reinforced. As a treatment for depression, behavioral activation (BA) is based on this model, and the goal of BA is to reverse the “downward spiral” and help individuals to engage in activities that may serve an antidepressant function. The principles of BA can apply to problems other than depression, however, and may be used to modify avoidance behaviors in general. This presentation will review the potential use of BA as a transdiagnostic method for helping clients to engage in activities that will increase the likelihood that approach behaviors, rather than avoidance, will be reinforced leading to more productivity and satisfaction.

Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: #none#
Keyword(s): clinical, depression



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh