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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #69
Recent Advances in Relational Frame Theory: Implications for Education and Clinical Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 3, Ballroom AB
Area: CBM; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: YVONNE BARNES-HOLMES (Ghent University)

The first book-length treatment of RFT was published almost 20 years ago in 2001. In recent years, a number of conceptual advances have been made in the theory that have implications for its application in both educational and clinical domains. The first of these is the emergence of a type of periodic table for conceptualizing derived relational responding, known as the multi-dimensional, multi-level framework (the MDML). The presentation will explain how this framework provides opportunities for conceptualizing and remediating the core skills required for basic and advanced language and cognition in educational contexts. The second of these is a recent extension to the MDML framework, called the hyper-dimensional, multi-level framework (the HDML), that incorporates the orienting and evoking functions of stimuli that participate in derived relations. The presentation will explore how this recent extension connects basic research in RFT to clinical behavior analysis. Overall, the case will be made that although RFT should be seen as a work in progress, the theory continues to offer insights that will potentially improve functional-analytic methods for assessing and treating behavioral problems.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts with an interest in development and clinical behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss recent developments in relational frame theory (RFT), including the MDML and the HDML frameworks; (2) discuss RFT’s implications for education and remediation; (3) discuss RFT’s implications for clinical behavior analysis.
Yvonne Barnes-Holmes is Associate Professor in Behavior Analysis and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Clinical, Experimental, and Health Psychology at Ghent University, Belgium, although she is a native of Northern Ireland. She completed her Ph.D. at the National University of Ireland Maynooth in 2001 on developmental studies in Relational Frame Theory (RFT). She took up her first academic post at the same university in 2003 and worked there until 2015, when the research team she shares with her husband Dermot Barnes-Holmes moved to Belgium as part of a multi-million Euro research award to study the implications of RFT for psychotherapy. Professor Barnes-Holmes has published several books and over 150 scientific articles and book chapters. She has authored or given over 400 presentations and workshops. She is a World Trainer in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has had a private clinical ACT practice for 22 years, providing global individual therapy and clinical supervision.



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