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

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Paper Session #208
Behavioral Issues Related to Marriage and Sexuality
Sunday, May 28, 2017
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 4
Area: CBM
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Anai Borges Borges Ribeiro Cesar (Capella University)
Applied Behavior Analysis Applied to Marital Behavior Change: Behaviorally Sound Approaches to "Marriage Counseling" and "Marital Therapy"
Domain: Service Delivery
RICHARD COOK (Penn State University; Applied Behavioral Medicine Associates)
Abstract: The habitual behaviors of spouses toward each other are arguably the most fundamental units of behavior within a marriage, and present the most readily observed and potentially most readily addressed foci for making improvements, including sometimes the so called "private behaviors" of attitudes, opinions, feelings, and the like. Most marriage counseling and therapy however currently uses a cognitive behavioral model, which is invariably far too heavily weighted on the "cognitive" often difficult to understand aspects, and far too light on specifically addressing the behaviors. Changing behavior can often be the most efficient, and effective, way to change attitudes and opinions (it is much easier to feel warmly toward a spouse who hasnt tracked mud over a freshly cleaned floor, over spent the checking account, or made lewd comments to one's boss or in-laws). This paper highlights components of a behaviorally based approach to effecting desired marital behavior change, including identification of desired behaviors, and use of behaviorally sound techniques to develop them into maintained and appropriately generalized habits. The topic and teaching can be helpful for conference attendees applying such behavior change professionally in their practices, as well as within the confines of their own marriages.

CANCELED: Transsexuality: Instruction and Monitoring of People Opting for Sex Reassignment Surgery

Domain: Service Delivery
ANAI BORGES RIBEIRO CESAR (Capella University), Vania Sant ana (Universidade Estadual de Maringa)

The behavior is produced by the joint action of three processes: (a) the phylogeny, which is the evolutionary history of the species and the individual's heredity; (b) the ontogeny, a process that refers to the sum of all the experiences of the individual, from conception to the present; and (c) culturing relating to cultural process controllers of human behavior (Skinner, 1953). The behavior is maintained by the reinforcing consequences that it produces, and is classified as appropriate the one established within a range of contingencies that is appropriate to the environment in which the individual is inserted; and inappropriate the one that is not in harmony with the established environmental contingencies, generating negative consequences (Staats & Staats, 1963). The rules are defined as verbal discriminative stimuli, which describe the relationship of a particular behavior with the events that maintain it (Skinner, 1974). Self-rules are described as verbal stimuli specifiers of contingencies; those verbal stimuli are produced by the verbal behavior of the individual to who these contingencies apply (Albuquerque and Silva, 2006). Based on the concepts presented, this paper describes the results obtained with male and female transsexuals seeking in a clinical psychology school for a technical report certifying transsexuality as a first step to perform sex change surgery, and alteration of the legal name. Although the initial goal of the transsexual individuals was just getting the report, it was established as a criterion, a minimum of six months of weekly visits to the clinic. This criterion was established in order to minimize the possibility of errors and to check the need of alteration of rules and self-rules that might generate unrealistic expectations related to both, surgery and after surgery life. During this period it was possible to notice some behavioral characteristics common to this population such as: a) social isolation, depression, self-mutilation, suicide attempts, aggression, prostitution; rigid set of rules related to rights and absence of discrimination; (b) Disbelief in relation to procedures and psychology professionals. In summary, a set of rules and self-rules leading to many difficulties in social interactions, professional, and family, before and after surgery. The goals to be achieved with the population served was the acquisition of a more accurate discrimination of their behavior and its consequences that would serve to change rules and self-rules that prevented a behavior that produces positively reinforcing consequences, and the elimination of risk behavior and aggression.




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