Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Training for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Brooke Smith & Gregory Smith
4.71 out of 5
(21 customer reviews)



Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is gaining traction in ABA for its potential application to appropriate clients. Originally a psychotherapy, ACT can be adapted into skills training to enhance psychological flexibility and quality of life. This presentation from the 2020 Michigan Autism Conference introduces ACT components, links them to behavioral principles, and offers exercises to train these skills, with a focus on considerations for individuals with developmental disabilities.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been the subject of rapidly growing interest among applied behavior analysts interested in applying the technology to clients for whom it may be appropriate. Although ACT was initially developed as an acceptance- and mindfulness-based psychotherapy for neurotypical individuals, it can be repurposed into a skills-based training (sometimes referred to as ACTraining) to be delivered outside the formal psychotherapeutic setting. Goals of ACT-based skills trainings include increasing psychological flexibility and improving quality of life through targeting processes such as mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive diffusion, values, and values-aligned goals. In this talk, we will introduce these components of the ACT model and, importantly, tie them to basic behavioral principles pertaining to human language and cognition. We will provide examples of exercises to train these ACT-based skills and discuss important considerations when implementing ACT with individuals with developmental disabilities.

About the Speakers

Brooke Smith, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Program, at Western Michigan University. She received her Ph.D. from Utah State University in 2019 and completed her clinical internship at the VA Puget Sound, American Lake Division. Dr. Smith’s research and clinical interests include therapeutic processes of change and their translation from basic behavioral principles to applications in mindfulness, exposure, and acceptance-based psychotherapies, particularly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Gregory (Greg) S. Smith, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the doctoral level. He has more than 16 years of experience in behavior analysis, ranging from basic, translational, and applied research to implementation of Organizational Behavior Management and clinical work with children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. His current research interests include assessment of implicit bias across a variety of domains, as well as complex human behavior (Relational Frame Theory, Acceptance and Commitment Training), OBM, and theory/philosophy issues.

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Below is the entire open-access version of this video. It does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU version of the module.

21 reviews for Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Training for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Based on 21 reviews
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    Very helpful information about how to incorporate ACT into practice. I find this is an area where there has been limited resources for practitioners. Glad I found this video.

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    I liked the presentation

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    This course was extremely helpful in exploring and explaining how ACT can be used with diverse populations.

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    Interesting presentation with relevant and practical examples

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    Interesting tie between ACT and ABA.

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Dr. Brooke Smith & Dr. Greg Smith
Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Training for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
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