Barnes, Stewart, Dymond, & Roche, 2000

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APA Citation: 

Barnes, D., Stewart, I., Dymond, S., & Roche, B. (2000). A behavior-analytic approach to some of the problems of self: A relational frame analysis. In M. Dougher (Ed.), Clinical behavior analysis. Reno, NV: Context Press.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
RFT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 

The term "self" seems to be one of the most frequently used in psychology. In the field of clinical psychology, for example, terms such as self-esteem, and self-image are of central theoretical importance. The behavior-analytic literature also employs terms such as "self-control", "self-monitoring", "self-reinforcement," and "self-discrimination." Despite the apparent ubiquity of the term "self", the exact nature of the behavior to which it refers often remains unclear. Given this lack of clarity, it would seem incumbent upon the behavioral research community to develop a precise, functional-analytic language for discussing "self", and related terms, upon which a conceptually coherent program of behavior-analytic research may be built. The purpose of this chapter is to outline the beginnings of a functional-analytic definition of "self", based on some relatively recent conceptual and empirical research conducted under the rubric of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) (e.g., Hayes, 1991, 1994; Hayes & Barnes, 1997). We will then illustrate the relevance of this research to an understanding of the concept of "self", as used in clinical behavior therapy, with a specific focus on three clinical phenomena; namely, negative self-concept, identity crisis, and self-acceptance. We will begin our behavioral approach to the understanding of self with the seminal work of B. F. Skinner.....

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