by Lisa Truong
Parents of children with autism or other developmental delays often face difficult challenges and negative private thoughts, which in turn inhibits parents’ abilities to implement effective interventions for their children. The parents’ behaviors are influenced by rule-governed behavior as opposed to contingency shaped behavior. Contingency-shaped behavior is controlled by being exposed to environmental contingencies, while rule-governed behavior (RGB) is an effect of our ability to derive rules from other experiences. Our ability to learn from other experiences and the verbal behavior of others and then apply it to other situations is thought to be an essential human ability that explains many of our higher thinking capabilities. However, RGB can result in over-extension of rules to situations in which they do not apply. One particular category of RBGs, called
Parents may also act in rule-governed ways when it comes to responding to their child’s behavior. An example would be how a parent would respond to their child crying in public. Rather than ignoring the child’s inappropriate behavior, parents tend to act according to societal expectations. Further, parents may experience accompanying aversive emotional states (e.g., anxiety and embarrassment) and seek to avoid these emotions by parenting in such a way that ends their child’s problematic behavior more quickly in the short-run but extends the life of the behavior through reinforcement. This can lead parents struggling to deal with their own private events to effectively follow behavior plans.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a contemporary behavior analytic approach to addressing these private events. The goal of
The main goal of
Gould, E. R., Tarbox, J., & Coyne, L. (2018). Evaluating the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on
Lisa Truong graduated from the University of Texas of Austin with degrees in Psychology and Human Development and Family Sciences, with a concentration in personal relationships. She has over a year of experience in the applied behavioral analysis field and currently works as a behavior therapist at The Behavior Exchange. She has experience working with children from 2 to 16 years of age in both clinical and in-home settings. She also has an interest in tech, visual design, and art since she was young. Since graduating, she has been trying to find opportunities to bridge behavioral sciences, technology, and visual aesthetics to create beautiful and easy-to-follow experiences.