Stop over thinking RFT and feel it.
I would say that sometimes it takes a different perspective to look at the tools we are given and see them quite differently. We, the second and third generation ACTers, FAPers, and rising CFTers… we are reveling, rejecting, remixing, and refining the elegance of technical masterpieces.
So, here is one of my remixes. I don’t like connecting with RFT in examples of coin size, driving, or equations about how cats = “cats” and … =
Okay, he’s cute. I’ll give you that… but he’s still a cat.
RFT is the rhythm of human thought and feeling. Just because the Internet is officially full of cats. doesn’t mean that our conceptualizations of human thought and language should be. (No offense to the cat lovers or Schrode’ [inside joke]}
So what is more human? Art.
Here’s a different way of connecting with frames. Take a moment to look at the picture below. Notice.
Feel your eyes pulled to the highest point? The background falling away into fuzziness. There’s a feeling of being pulled upward higher. This is a visual metaphor for how a hierarchical functions. This is what connecting with values, belonging, purpose… does to your sense of the world. You tune into the higher point and the rest falls away into the distance.
Now, look at this picture.
Notice how the pieces fall away and the whole pops forth? You notice the togetherness, the uniformity of what is actually separate pieces. When we feel in coordination with something we move towards it, we identify with it, we become in some way a reflection of the other. (This is also a bit hierarchical, but “frames” are always functional concepts so let’s stick with what ‘works’.)
Now look at this picture.
Maybe you could technically ‘see’ that this is tree bark but that’s not likely to be what you were paying attention to. Context sensitivity is like zooming in. You see the details. You experience, and you might be hyper- sensitive to a change in the context. For example, a giant ladybug landing in the middle of this might jolt your attention more so if you’re more contextually sensitive in-the-moment.
Now look at this picture.
This is a visual metaphor for coherence. See how your mind likes the fitting together of randomness into a pattern? It’s naturally reinforcing. People don’t like messes.
Now look at this:
This is a bit like the concept of adaptive peaks. Sometimes we can miss the forest, sunrise, and distance when we’re focusing on making wishes on the dandelions we can see in the immediate path.
If you like learning about Relational Frame Theory, behavior analysis, principles, or the philosophy of science in different forms – let us know in the comments. If you’d like to learn more feel free to check our selection of online, on-demand, and live training events.
Angela Coreil, PhD
Consultant and Educator
Angela J. Coreil, PhD works with individuals and organizations to promote better connected, purposeful, and effective living through behavior analytic principles. She has over a decade of clinical experience treating human suffering and promoting human excellence using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and other behavioral therapies. She now focuses on the promotion and translation of Clinical Behavior Analysis as a way to improve our science.