A comprehensive treatise on how to understand complex language, and use language effectively as a behavior analyst.
Language changes everything. From infancy through adulthood, language shapes how we live our lives and interact with other people, in increasingly complex ways. Language also shapes how we exist in the world as professionals--and how we operate as a profession. As behavior analysts working with others to effect change, words matter.
A comprehensive understanding of complex language is therefore critical to practicing effectively as a behavior analyst. Understanding the functions of complex language, allows us to skillfully use language as an intervention tool.
Relational frame theory (RFT) is a behavior analytic theory of human language. RFT suggests that the building block of human language and higher cognition is relating--in other words, the human ability to create links between one thing and another using words. Understanding and Applying Relational Frame Theory outlines the essential principles of RFT, and offers practical applications and tools to help clients live better lives and to establish the conditions necessary for all of us to thrive. With a central focus on establishing psychological flexibility, prosociality, and cooperative contexts for change, at all levels of analysis--from the self to overarching systems and cultures--in this book, you will:
- Learn the theoretical basis of RFT, including how relational operants are learned, from their roots in early social interactions to the complex relating of relations and relational networks seen in analogical and metaphorical reasoning.
- Explore how complex verbal repertoires affect individual behavior, introducing the development of the self and the influence of rule-governed behavior and private events.
- Examine relational framing in the context of groups--including the speaking and listening skills needed for supervision, mentorship, effective messaging, and prosociality within and between organizational systems.
- Discover the implications of applying a behavior analytic understanding of complex language to a variety of settings, including education, mental health, and business.
- Learn how RFT can be applied to issues of diversity and inclusion, and global sustainability.
Finally, you'll find a thorough discussion of how behavior analysts can use the principles outlined in this book to extend the reach of the field into a range of socially significant and critical areas for behavior change.
Siri Ming, PhD, BCBA-D, (she/her) is a scientist-practitioner with over twenty-five years of experience in the field. She is committed to the compassionate practice of behavior analysis to help people live meaningful, values-directed lives. Her research and clinical focus are on applications of relational frame theory (RFT) to early intervention programs for children with autism, integrating Skinnerian verbal behavior with RFT. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed research and theoretical articles on applications of RFT, as well as a practical handbook series on using RFT in early intervention programs. Coauthor of Finding Your Why and Finding Your Way, Siri also supports both clinicians and creatives to help them find and stay on their chosen path. She teaches and acts as subject-matter expert for graduate-level classes in verbal behavior at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and has been an associate editor for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior journal. Her work is grounded in the values of rigor, generosity, and kindness. Evelyn Gould, PhD, BCBA-D, (she/they) is a clinical behavior analyst and licensed psychologist from Belfast, Northern Ireland--currently residing in Los Angeles, CA; where she lives with her partner and three cats. Evelyn is a scientist-practitioner working to empower others to build rich and meaningful lives through evidence-based, values-driven, affirmative, and culturally responsive practices. Evelyn specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, autism, LGBTQIA+ mental health, and working with caregivers. Evelyn is also committed to lifelong learning and values-driven research, training, and mentorship. They have published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on autism, working with caregivers, student mental health, compassionate care, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and behavior analysis. Evelyn has served on a variety of task forces, committees, chapters, SIGs, and editorial boards within their professional communities, and was an associate editor for the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. Their work reflects personal and professional values of compassion, authenticity, social justice, and cultural humility. When not working, Evelyn finds joy in community, feeding the birds in their garden, dancing, art and music, nature, and spending time at home in Ireland. Julia H. Fiebig, PhD, BCBA-D, (she/her) is assistant teaching professor at Ball State University in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) program. She is from Germany, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her primary focus is on applications of behavior science to organizational leadership, sustainability, and regenerative systems design--collaborating with leaders and organizations to cultivate values-informed, consensus-building, prosocial practices. As a practicing behavior analyst for over twenty years, Julia has a range of experience consulting and working internationally with clinical, educational, and other nonprofit and private organizations. As an educator, Julia is passionate about teaching young people values of inclusive and responsible community building across diverse cultural backgrounds. She has served on the climate change task force for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, and currently serves on the board of special interest groups (SIGs) and ABAI's Practice Board. Julia is dedicated to working on issues of environmental justice and contributing to wider application and dissemination of a compassionate behavior science, and she also finds joy in her craft as a musician and writer/composer.