International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 4 Num. 2 - July 2004


Why Relational Frame Theory Alters the Relationship between Basic and Applied Behavioral Psychology [Por qu? la Relational Frame Theory Altera la Relaci?n Entre la Psicolog?a Conductual B?sica y Aplicada]

Volume 4 Num. 2 - July 2004 - Pages 341-353


Steven C. Hayes and Nicholas M. Berens


The promise of a synthesized basic and applied psychology has been most strongly realized and appreciated in behavior analysis. The traditional model for this relationship has been largely unidirectional in that the experimental analysis of behavior has fed applied behavior analysis with its principles. Despite the relative strength of this relationship, which should lead to a more coherent and broadly effective discipline, behavior analysis seems to be narrowing its domain of influence both on the basic and applied fronts. We argue that this paradox can be explained by the inability to develop a broadly useful behavior analytic theory of language and cognition. Relational Frame Theory corrects that deficit, but it leads to a fundamental shift in the organization of the discipline, and the relationship between basic and applied behavior analysis. The current paper details what we view are the components of this new relationship and the reasons why this shift must occur.

Key words:

Basic and applied psychology, experimental and applied behavior analysis, language and cognition, RFT

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