Blogs

Official start of Dutch research project "Acceptance and Motivation in chronic pain"

I am very pleased to announce that february 2007 the research project on Acceptance and Motivation in Chronic Pain in Groningen, the Netherlands, will commence. There are several sub-projects that will, hopefully,lead to publications in high-standard scientific journals as well as in popular media. Some of these sub-projects are:

- systematic review of acceptance and motivation measures

- reliability and validity of the Contextual Motivation Enhancement Model (CMEM): a theoretical model of motivation enhancement

- pain anxiety and avoidance in a pain-free population

- the practical use and measurement potential of Heart Rate Coherence (HRC)training in relation to attentional processes (mindfulness)

ACCEPTED CHRISTMAS AND COMMITTED NEW YEAR

Con mis mejores deseos para todos.

Best wishes for everybody.

Meilleurs voeux à tous.

Mit den besten Wünschen.

Os meus melhores desjos a tudo mundo.

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ACEPTACIÓN Y COMPROMISO / ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT

Spanish version (see below english version)

ACEPTACIÓN, COMPROMISO: unidos como luz y sombra. Comprometerse con la propia vida es aceptar lo que la vida es. Aceptar las condiciones vitales que nos han tocado “en suerte” es comprometerse con la construcción del propio destino.

Porque me COMPROMETO con el CAMINO de mi vida,
ACEPTO las fatigas que produce el caminar
ya que quiero asegurarme de que mi itinerario vale la pena.

Porque me COMPROMETO a AMAR a quienes amo
ACEPTO las frustraciones que, a veces, enturbian el amor
ya que quiero fraguar un amor a prueba de desencantos.

rereadings, thoughts and self talk

A blog, my blog, I own a blog!

And I had forgotten it; so many weeks without an entry -the hot long summer and the works for the new feature of the site- But I would say something about my summer rereadings.

The first book I would like to refer to is "the Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde, an old novel from the days of my youth that I took in order to refresh my English and, can you believe it? I found some fresh concepts about Acceptance and Commitment, perhaps from the Wilde´s quite hedonistic point of view, but full engaged with taking the life as it comes: with its pleasures and its fears, its worries, hopes and sufferances and as Wilde says by the Dorian Gray´s voice, we well do our best by taking everything as it comes, without avoidance.

Research on acceptance and motivation in the Netherlands

The rehabilitation department of the University Medical Centre in Groningen (UMCG), the Netherlands, are preparing an extensive research on the relation between acceptance of chronic pain and motivation to change behavior. In the next four years this research will, hopefully, lead to better contextually based assessment methods and contexual motivation enhancement interventions.

Information can be obtained by sending an email to:
m.kleen@cvr.umcg.nl

Greetings,

Marco Kleen
Health psychologist / researcher UMCG

Research on acceptance and motivation in the Netherlands

The rehabilitation department of the University Medical Centre in Groningen (UMCG), the Netherlands, are preparing an extensive research on the relation between acceptance of chronic pain and motivation to change behavior. In the next four years this research will, hopefully, lead to better contextually based assessment methods and contexual motivation enhancement interventions.

Information can be obtained by sending an email to:
m.kleen@cvr.umcg.nl

Greetings,

Marco Kleen
Health psychologist / researcher UMCG

Pluto not a planet, dang it! Yes it is! No it isn't! Yes IT IS! NO IT ISN'T!! ....

I thought this story could be used in teaching concepts like the arbitrariness of language (the idea of arbitrarily applicable relational responding-AARR the core of RFT) or language as function. In other words, words work the way they do because we agree, as a social system, to have certain words function in certain ways. This article shows how definitions are just things we make up, and as such, can be made up to mean different things, depending upon what is most useful. As we search for the most useful definitions in ACT (such as what is defusion? what is experiential avoidance?) its important to keep in mind that we get to make this up and that words aren't real things, but ways of speaking that can be more or less useful.

I love how there's this arbitrary argument about whether pluto will be called a "planet" anymore. It's so humorous and so human...

Pluto Demoted: No Longer a Planet in Highly Controversial Definition
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060824_planet_definition.html

Capping years of intense debate, astronomers resolved today to demote Pluto in a wholesale redefinition of planethood that is being billed as a victory of scientific reasoning over historic and cultural influences. But already the decision is being hotly debated.

Officially, Pluto is no longer a planet.

"Pluto is dead," said Caltech researcher Mike Brown, who spoke with reporters via a teleconference while monitoring the vote. The decision also means a Pluto-sized object that Brown discovered will not be called a planet.

"Pluto is not a planet," Brown said. "There are finally, officially, eight planets in the solar system."

The vote involved just 424 astronomers who remained for the last day of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague.

"I'm embarassed for astronomy," said Alan Stern, leader of NASA's New Horizon's mission to Pluto and a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. "Less than 5 percent of the world's astronomers voted."

"This definition stinks, for technical reasons," Stern told SPACE.com. He expects the astronomy community to overturn the decision. Other astronomers criticized the definition as ambiguous.

The resolution

The decision establishes three main categories of objects in our solar system.

* Planets: The eight worlds from Mercury to Neptune.
* Dwarf Planets: Pluto and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite."
* Small Solar System Bodies: All other objects orbiting the Sun.

{{snip}}

Pluto’s Demotion is Well Deserved and Long Overdue

Dwarf planets are not planets under the definition, however.

"There will be hundreds of dwarf planets," Brown predicted. He has already found dozens that fit the category.

{{snip}}

Stern called it "absurd" that only 424 astronomers were allowed to vote, out of some 10,000 professional astronomers around the globe.

"It won't stand," he said. "It's a farce."

Stern said astronomers are already circulating a petition that would try to overturn the IAU decision.

Owen Gingerich, historian and astronomer emeritus at Harvard who led the committee that proposed the initial definition, called the new definition "confusing and unfortunate" and said he was "not at all pleased" with the language about clearing the neighborhood.

Gingerich also did not like the term "dwarf" planet.

"I thought that it made a curious linguistic contradiction," Gingerich said in a telephone interview from Boston (where he could not vote). "A dwarf planet is not a planet. I thought that was very awkward."

Gingerich added: "In the future one would hope the IAU could do electronic balloting."

{{snip}}

Textbooks will of course have to be rewritten.

"For astronomers this doesn't matter one bit. We'll go out and do exactly what we did," Brown said. "For teaching this is a very interesting moment. I think you can describe science much better now" by explaining why Pluto was once thought to be a planet and why it isn't now. "I'm actually very excited."

New research on somatization disorder

Here's an excerpt from a NY Times article on research on somatization disorder that's kinda cool. Some very ACTy sounding stuff. Thanks to Mary Politi for originally posting this article on the ACT listserv.

for the full article see: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/22/health/22symp.html?ex=1156478400&en=ed906844e55c23fe&ei=5070

Doctors Give Hope to Patients With Long Histories of Unexplained Symptoms By DAN HURLEY

Two new studies by researchers who specialize in the baffling
condition called somatization syndrome, estimated to affect up to 3
percent of adults, suggest that the quest for a physical explanation
may take on a destructive life of its own. Instead, those with the
syndrome should focus on practical strategies to regain normal
function and relieve symptoms, the researchers say.

One study, by German scientists, sought to explain why the doctors'
reassurances were generally ineffective with such patients. The
researchers played taped comments by a doctor about a hypothetical
patient for two groups of participants, people who had the syndrome
and people who did not. Those with somatization syndrome were three
times as likely to believe incorrectly that in the course of the
comments the doctor had said the symptom had a worrisome physical
cause.

The findings, in the August issue of the online journal Public
Library of Science Medicine, offer at least a partial explanation
for why patients often go from doctor to doctor and take test after
test in a fruitless search for answers: repeated reassurances are
simply not being understood.

A second study, by New Jersey researchers, provides the first
published evidence of an effective clinical treatment. The study, in
the July 24 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, found that
patients benefited from 10 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy
specifically organized to help relieve their stress and increase
emotional awareness and to get them to become more socially active
and think differently about their symptoms.

"They stop their dance classes and don't go to work and don't spend
as much time throwing the ball with their kids," Dr. Allen
said. "Our treatment emphasizes changing their behaviors, trying to
change the focus of their lives from worrying about their symptoms
to re-engaging in activities they've been avoiding."

The 84-patient study, compared the behavior therapy with the
standard treatment.

Moving to Dubai- Thriving Private practice in a village near Banbury available

I have a private practice in Cropredy which is a village near Banbury. I am moving to Dubai at the end of October and am concerned for this area because of the scarcity of therapists. I am accredited with the BABCP which helps a lot with referrals and accredited CBT therapists are very scarce in the surroundin 4 counties. I of course am now practising ACT as best as I can, and would prefer if this approach were made available in this area after I leave.

Please contact me if you have an interest in moving here - accommodation can also probably be arranged.

Please also contact me if you have any contacts in Dubai - especially ACT -related, with whom I may get in touch.

Thank you

Sensory Preconditioning

Hello all. I am interested in reading an RFT account of sensory preconditioning and how it relates to the concept of transformation of function. It seems that this is a close description of transformation of function as the US-NS1 pairing results in a function alterning effect for the NS1 stimulus (becoming CS1). However,this is also true for all other stimuli (NS2, NS3, etc) in the functional frame of coordination with NS1. So, as NS1 gains discriminative control over the CR, other arbitrary stimuli(equivalent to NS1) should gain the discriminative function as well. It seems although this is respondent, that RFT can account for this effect (and process too). Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry for the problemed posting

I messed up (repeatedly) when attempting to add information about ACT with youth. I did not know how to delete the wrong posts, so please refer to the post that actually has a message and attachment :)

Sorry for the problemed posting

I messed up (repeatedly) when attempting to add information about ACT with youth. I did not know how to delete the wrong posts, so please refer to the post that actually has a message and attachment :)

Welcome

Welcome to my blog. In the near future I will be posting stuff on ACT for chronic pain, RFT in relation to motivation and contextual motivation enhancement models (CMEM).
For now, see ya later!

Marco

Chestnut Hill Counseling Associates

Introduction to ACT

Chestnut Hill Counseling Associates
Dover, NH
June 13, 2006

Additional resources mentioned during the presentation:

1. Starting page for ACT information

2. Six Core ACT Processes

3. State of the ACT Evidence

4. Treatment Protocols

5. Audio Files (interviews)

6. Popular Media on ACT

7. Books & Tapes

8. Starting page for RFT information

9. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) Tutorial

See what we're up to!
10. World Conference in London, July 2006

...

help save WMU's psychology programs

As some of you may have heard, the President and Provost of Western Michigan University recently announced the elimination of 8 doctoral programs and 13 master's programs following a university-wide review. Among the programs being cut were the doctoral program in clinical psychology and the master's program for industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology. While the faculty union recently earned two concessions from the administration in the form of an appeals process (decisions were previously announced as final) and the resignation of the Provost (who headed up the graduate program review process and proposed the cuts), we're not out of the woods yet.

Both of these programs are very successful, productive, cost-effective, and firmly grounded in behavior analysis. At least two faculty members in the Clinical program are trained in ACT (Scott Gaynor and Amy Naugle) and two faculty members in the I/O program are interested in the application of ACT/RFT to organizational problems (John Austin and myself).

We believe these proposed cuts are unwarranted and would have a very negative impact on both our department and the field of behavior analysis in general.

To learn more about how you can help and the details of the situation, visit http://wmupsy.com and then sign our petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/psychology.

Thanks much for your support.

Best,
Eric J. Fox, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Western Michigan University

Voting

I got two emails with links for voting but neither worked at all. What should I do? Thanks!

New Results from CATIE project

NIMH just released the results from Phase II of their CATIE project. This is one of NIMH's mega intervention studies, this one with over 1400 people with psychosis. Here's a quote from the summary on their website:

"In phase 2 of this study, 543 people were studied in 57 different treatment sites to provide guidance to help doctors determine what to do next when patients need to change medications, a common occurrence in treating schizophrenia. Research has shown that patients who consistently receive treatment do much better than those who stop taking their medications, so finding the right treatment is crucial."

"Phase 2 of CATIE compared the medications, called "atypical antipsychotics," with each other in two different groups of participants. In one group, patients who had stopped taking a phase 1 medication because symptoms were not adequately relieved were randomly assigned to get one of four medications: clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, or risperidone. In that group, clozapine was the most effective. Forty-four percent of the patients who changed to clozapine stayed on it for the rest of the 18-month study, compared with 18 percent of patients who had changed to the other medications. On average, patients stayed on clozapine for 10 months, while patients on any of the other medications stayed on them for only 3 months.

However, not all patients can or want to take clozapine, because it may cause serious side effects in some people, including inflammation of the heart muscle, and agranulocytosis, which is a dangerous drop in levels of white blood cells that are part of the immune system. As a result, patients taking clozapine require close monitoring. Although the patients who took clozapine in this study tolerated it fairly well overall, one person developed agranulocytosis."

From: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/press/catie_phase2.cfm

Phase I results were really interesting with this surprising finding:

"Contrary to expectations, movement side effects (rigidity, stiff movements, tremor, and muscle restlessness) primarily associated with the older medications, were not seen more frequently with perphenazine (the drug used to represent the class of older medications) than with the newer drugs. The older medication was as well tolerated as the newer drugs and was equally effective as three of the newer medications. The advantages of olanzapine — in symptom reduction and duration of treatment — over the older medication were modest and must be weighed against the increased side effects of olanzapine.

Thus, taken as a whole, the newer medications have no substantial advantage over the older medication used in this study. An important issue still to be considered is individual differences in patient response to these drugs."

From: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/press/catie_release.cfm

Seems like many of the newer antipsychotics may be similar to the newer antidepressants, not much different than the older drugs, but with lots of hype and much bigger profits for the drug companies (Clozapine seems to be an exception for those who are treatment resistant). These newer drugs have been greatly hyped for their lower rates of movement side effects. However, most of those studies were drug company funded. This is a great example of why we need to have more studies that are not tied to drug company funding.

This is not to say that drug treatment can't be effective for many people, they can, rather the newer drugs, while very expensive, don't seem to add much benefit for most people.

Anyone care to comment?

The seven warning signs of bogus science

Interesting article:

[[http://chronicle.com/free/v49/i21/21b02001.htm|The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science]] By ROBERT L. PARK

1. The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
2. The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work
3. The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
4. Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal
5. The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries
6. The discoverer has worked in isolation
7. The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation

my way / mi camino

March, 13, 2006

ENGLISH VERSION (sorry for my awful English)

When I started my studies in Psychology, I was a "freudian": the unconsciousness, the superego... all that seemed a fascinating world to me. But I ended my studies as a behaviorist and I didn´t want to know anything more about psychoanalisis.

Then, I started my consultation and I felt dissapointed with the cold behaviorist tools, so, I began moving towards Humanism. I "discovered" Carl Rogers and Carkhuff and I became a "fan" of their works.

Then, I met Albert Ellis in his books and in a course he did in Madrid; so, I turned up an rational-emotif therapist and, of course, an explorer of the mental world: its contents and processes.
And that curiosity about mental contents took me to learn about General Semantics and from that theory by Alfred Korzybski I understood better some subjets on constructivism as "personal constructs" theory, by G. Kelly and the basis of narrative therapy.

And so, I arrived to Palo Alto, where I met Paul Watzlawick and Richard Fish and so on, and the reason for their motto: "let´s be brief" and the fundamentals on the strategic therapy. I was glad with a so fascinating perspective.

Finally, I declared myself as an "eclectic-integrationist"

But something inside me was out of order. I had the impression that Psychology had moved towards a medical point of view instead of a psychological one and I was very unconfortable with that feeling.

Finally, through a quite easy book ("La mente o la vida" by J. Barraca; ed. DDB, Bilbao, Spain) I met ACT theory and I got very pleased with the "discovery". So, I devoured the whole bibliography avoidable in Spanish: Carmen Luciano Soriano and, then, the books by Hayes (I am learning English in order to read all of them).

Now, I don´t mind what kind of psychologist I am: I am a humanist-behaviorist one, interested on the plot of life and in being in the way along with anybody who comes to me...

VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA
Cuando me asomé a los estudios de psicología, yo era un freudiano convencido: el subconsciente, el superyó, el dinamismo de los impulsos; todo eso me parecía un mundo fascinante. Pero terminé los estudios convertido en un conductista acérrimo; no quería ni oir hablar de psicoanálisis o cosa semejante.

Cuando comencé mi práctica profesional, desencantado con el "mecanicismo" de las técnicas conductista, fui derivando hacia planteamientos humanistas. Descubrí a Rogers y a Carkhuff y me apasioné con sus planteamientos.

Albert Ellis entró en mi vida a través de sus libros y de un curso que impartió en Madrid; me volví un cognitivista converso. La curiosidad por los procesos mentales me llevó a explorar los planteamientos de la Semántica General y, a partir de la teoría de Korzybski, entendí mejor las propuestas constructivistas de Kelly y los fundamentos de la terapia narrativa.

Después, por diversas circunstancias, llegó mi época de Palo Alto; allí conocí a Watzlawick, Richard Fish, y los fundamentos de su lema: "let´s be brief".

Finalmente, me declaré "ecléctico integracionista".

Pero algo, dentro de mí, me impulsaba a replantearme una y otra vez los fundamentos de mi trabajo psicoterapéutico: algo no encajaba. Tenía la impresión de que la Psicología había derivado peligrosamente hacia un "medicalismo" que me costaba aceptar.

Finalmente, a través de un libro de divulgación bien sencillo ("la mente o la vida" de J. Barraca, DDB Bilbao) me asomé a la teoría de la terapia de aceptación y compromiso y, entonces, comprendí que ese era el camino que yo andaba buscando. Devoré toda la bibliografía de Carmen Luciano Soriano y, a continuación, con mi poco inglés, fui desmenuzando los planteamientos de Hayes.

Ahora, ya no me preocupa averiguar en qué nicho psicológico debo incluirme: soy un humanista-conductual, interesado en la el examen del guión vital que cada cual aplica a su vida, implicado en la clarificación de los valores que deben sustentar ese guión y comprometido en examinar su propio guión y en acompañar en su camino a quienes a mí acuden...

damn ampersands

You may notice that various links throughout the site are not working correctly. Specifically, any links that are pointing to a page with an ampersand (&) in the title are messed up. In fact, the ampersand in the link itself will appear incorreclty as a few characters (together called an html entity), and the link will not take you to the page (it will typically take you to a "create a new publication" page).

This is a bug/problem with the linking module the site uses, and it plagued me in the early days of the site and has cropped up again for some reason. The bad news: I don't know if/when I'll be able to fix it. The good news: if I can't fix it, I may be able to install a rich text editor for the site that would allow contributors to edit their text with some standard formatting features (like the bold, italics, etc. buttons you use in word processing software like Microsoft Word). The last time I tried to use the text editors, they conflicted with the linking module...but if I can't get the stupid linking module to work correctly, I'll just upload the text editing module and we'll have to do links differently (we would need to enter the whole URL or web address for the page, instead of just the page title).

Wow, if you actually read all of that then you must be either a) seriously bored or b) a closet techie geek. :)

iniciando el blog

3 Marzo 2006.

Albert is eleven and he loves soccer but he is afraid of going alone to school due to a bully agression some weeks ago.
We talk about his fears. He is very clever. He doesn´t need many explanations to understand the consequences of stay home in order to avoid his fear. He understand the difference between short and long term consequences.
At the end of our first meeting he has tears in his eyes but he is committed to go alone to school.
I wait for his first phone call: It´s Ok, he has gone to school alone an he feels free.
In his second call hi goes further: he has met some bullies in his way... but he loves soccer; so he decided to go to school anyway.

Alberto, 11 años; todo ojos y todo angustia. Le gusta el fútbol y está bien integrado en su colegio. Hace algún tiempo, unos gitanos le pegaron. Desde entonces, Alberto tiene miedo de ir él solo al colegio y se hace acompañar por su madre.

Hablamos de "hombre a hombre". Alberto es muy despierto y capta enseguida el mensaje. No necesito insitir mucho en el ejemplo del odontólogo para que capta la distinción entre "efectos a corto y a largo plazo". Pronto admite que su estrategia de quedarse en casa y salir sólo acompañado por su madre, no va a resolver nada en absoluto y, con ojos llenos de lágrimas, decide que tendrá que hacer en solitario el camino del colegio.

Anticipamos futuras consecuencias posibles del asumir el riesgo de ir solo al colegio: podrá quedarse a entrenar a fútbol con sus compañeros, se sentirá más libre, "crecerá"...

Nos despedimos con un apretón de manos... tal vez yo con más angustia que él. Espero ansioso su llamada telefónica para la siguiente semana.

En la primera llamada me comunica que ha ido solo al colegio y se ha sentido liberado.

En la segunda llamada me confirma que está yendo al colegio sin necesidad de compañía; ya se ha cruzado con algún gitano... le encanta quedarse con sus compañeros, después de las clases, para entrenar a fútbol.

Is ACT merely rehashed Buddhism?

I posted this on 2/25/06 to Salon.com in response to responses to an artilce interviewing Steve Hayes:

Of course, one can say that these are Buddhist sensibilities and be correct. But are they merely Buddhist sensibilities? All of the authors of the original ACT book grew up in the ‘60’s—Steve, Kirk Strosahl, and I. So, sure, we all read a Zen book or two. Speaking for myself though (maybe others can relate), we were pretty busy running in the opposite direction of our parents—religion, politics, property, the war, fashion (rejecting fashion was so fashionable), and on. Reading Zen stuff made my parents nervous. I loved making my parents nervous. Ah….the wild excesses of youth. Lots of it was rejection of authority, but it was not mere rejection of authority. Some of those sensibilities we rumbled around in had more to them—cultivating a sense of wonder at the world, heartfelt questioning of the status quo, the crazy notion that we needed to look after the planet and one another.

So is this ripped off Buddhism? Well, it’s a free country. People can believe what they want (and post it). But if anyone reads out beyond a magazine article they would find books, articles, and chapters where this and many other connections are made explicitly. But even at that, does anyone suppose that the Buddha was the first person who said “life is suffering.” If one digs a bit into any of the great religious traditions, they will find precisely these notions. The western tradition is often maligned in this regard. But in fact, if one digs back into the Judeo Christian tradition, they will find a mystical contemplative wing—never large, but ever present.

It is my hope that we have something more to offer by aiming science at these concerns. Mindfulness is all the rage in empirical clinical psychology right now. However, I have said in my out loud voice at many conferences that if all we have to offer clients is mindfulness training, we are ripping them off. They can get mindfulness training from folks in a number of traditions that have thousands of years of experience teaching it. What we need to offer is a science of those sensibilities. Although western science is likewise often maligned (and often with good reason) it has given us a lot. My kids would be orphans right now if it were not for medical science. I am eternally grateful to the kind oncology folks who cared for me in Reno back in ’98. My kids have had 7 more Christmases with their dad because of medical science. What if we could produce a psychological science that could deliver the psychological equivalent of that outcome?

It is my hope that we can produce a science that helps folks to live more mindful and meaningful lives. It is my hope that we can build a progressive basic and applied science that addresses these sensibilities. It is my hope that I can be part of an influence on psychology and on healthcare more generally that gets us off the feel good agenda, and onto the living well agenda. That is what the ACT work is about—seems to me a worthy way to invest my time and life.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I am not the only one. (P.S. not original ;-))

Peace,
Kelly

[[http://www.olemiss.edu/working/kwilson/kwilson/kwilson.htm|Visit Kelly's Homepage]]
[img_assist|fid=168|thumb=1|alt=OleMiss]

Workshops in Uppsala

Hi there everyone, I am running one introduction workshop in Uppsala this may with JoAnne Dahl, the may 15-16 to be precise. we are also doing one in october. For more information go to www.act-forum.se

Tobias

Call me Blog Illiterate

Inspired by J. Lumo I will give this blog thing a shot. The primary purpose of it will be admittedly selfish. I am currently working through some twisty language issues in an educational setting and will be using this blog as a means to post these issues to the community. The hope is that some people brighter than myself will be able to get on top of them.

Issue 1 (of many)

We have a very talented graduate student (Kendra Brooks-Rickard)who has taken the reigns on an expressive writing series for kids in grades 5-12. As a side note, we have a proficiency criteria for participation that includes oral and silent reading fluency, handwriting fluency, and relatively strong reading comprehension (weakest measure of the bunch).

The Problem:
There are a handful of students who have participated in the program who all seem to be stuck on one set of core skills. Given my proclivities, I am going call these language based deficits. Here's what's going on. The kids in question have learned a wide variety of skills that have generalized to their writing. Namely sentence structure. They can independently produce great sentences using a variety of gramatical devices. For example, they know how to separate 2 independent but related clauses with a semi-colon and a conjunctive adverb. And they can tell you what they did and why!!! Major accomplishment when one considers that the kids couldn't identify the subject, verb, or object in a sentence a year ago. The problem arises when one looks at the flow of combinations of sentences. Their stories sound like the free-association of thought that is conversation to my Freudian psycho-analyst father-in-law (sorry Hunny but it is true).

How we have conceptualized the problem:

It seems that what is missing or at least is not strong in a overt or productive behavioral repertiore with these kids is an interrelation of particular frames. Specifically, Temporal/Spatial and Cause/Effect frames (these are clearly related). We have tinkered with a handful instructional sequences (they really ended up being assessments) that looked at these frames. We had them read a passage and asked them cause/effect questions: could do. We had them put pictures and then sentences into a logical sequential order: Could do. We had them identify causal relationships in text: Could do. Now we are at a standstill and so to is their writing.

Why post this?

Well, I want someone to solve this problem for me!!!! It is true we need help here; however, I think that this is a really interesting problem for the community as a whole. One that is in-line with the mutual-interest model (see Hayes, 1998; & Hayes & Berens, 2004 shameless). In our clinical setting we have bumped up against a problem that is clearly language based. If we find a solution, the solution will be crude and the sucessful variables will be hard to understand. At which point basic science can go to town (funky town that is). Or, some lurking basic scientist will be able to elegantly parse this stuff out and we can put it back together into a workable technology (hint hint nudge nudge wink wink:-).

Another reason I post or blog it here, is that I think our general conceptualization of the problem is spot on. Furthermore, I do not believe that we would have been able to conceptualize the problem as being language based, let alone recognize it as such, without the basic structure of RFT as a starting point.

Back to the dry erase board.

Mistah Nick

PS If this is not blog worthy material spank me and I will move further commentaries to another location.

NYTimes: "At a Scientific Gathering, U.S. Policies Are Lamented"

For the full article see: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/national/19science.html?th&emc=th

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 18 — David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist and president of the California Institute of Technology, is used to the Bush administration misrepresenting scientific findings to support its policy aims, he told an audience of fellow researchers Saturday. Each time it happens, he said, "I shrug and say, 'What do you expect?' "

But then, Dr. Baltimore went on, he began to read about the administration's embrace of the theory of the unitary executive, the idea that the executive branch has the power or even the obligation to act without restraint from Congress. And he began to see in a new light widely reported episodes of government scientists being restricted in what they could say in public.

"It's no accident that we are seeing such an extensive suppression of scientific freedom," he said. "It's part of the theory of government now, and it's a theory we need to vociferously oppose." Far from twisting science to suit its own goals, he said, the government should be "the guardian of intellectual freedom."

Dr. Baltimore spoke at a session here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Though it was organized too late for inclusion in the overall meeting catalogue, the session drew hundreds of scientists who crowded a large meeting room and applauded enthusiastically as speakers denounced administration policies they said threatened not just sound science but also the nation's research pre-eminence.

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Another speaker, Susan F. Wood, former director of the office of women's health at the Food and Drug Administration, said administration interference with the agency's scientific and regulatory processes had left morale there at a "nadir."

Dr. Wood, who received a standing ovation from many in the audience, resigned in August to protest agency officials' unusual decision to overrule an expert panel and withhold marketing approval for Plan B, the so-called morning after pill, a form of emergency contraception. She said she feared that competent scientists would leave rather than remain at an agency where their work was ignored because "social conservatives have extreme undue influence."

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"Administrative legitimacy has been violated as much as scientific legitimacy," said Sheila Jasanoff, an expert on science policy who teaches at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. "You can't get the most solid possible basis for making a decision unless you have not just the most credible and legitimate form of science but also the most credible and legitimate administrative process."

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Start of Blog

I'm gonna try out this blog thing. This blog will contain information on interesting news stories which relate to science and mental health. Feel free to look here for stories with scientific and political implications. Or suggest stories if you are aware of one's that aren't here.

I can't post the entirety of stories because of copyright limitations, but I'll post a segment and link to the rest. Enjoy!

Looking for the Keys Metaphor

For many years I’ve used a metaphor that I’ll call “Looking for the Keys” and I thought I’d share it here. I probably borrowed it from somebody else, but I don’t recall doing so. Pre-ACT I used it primarily with clients who were prone to worry and rumination and clients who were (in my judgment) overly attached to the notion that relief from their pain would come through figuring out the historical causes of their problems.

I’ve found that it fits nicely at times while working on creative hopelessness in ACT. I basically act out the metaphor using the keys to my office. It goes like this with lots of small variations:

I will take my keys and place them under or behind something in the vicinity of my seat. I then say something like: “Let’s say it’s the end of my day and I’m ready to lock up my files and leave the office. I quickly notice that I don’t have my keys -- so what do I do? I begin to look for them.” At this point I will check 5-6 places in my immediately vicinity, but not find them. I then go on: “So I’ve checked the obvious places, but no keys. I may even feel a little bit frustrated. So what do I do? I look again – I look in some new places and recheck some of the places I’ve already searched.” (Again I act this out in my immediate vicinity – usually sweeping my search in a semicircle around seat.) “Hmm, no keys. My stress might be building a bit at this point. What do I do? Perhaps start thinking about what I was doing, mentally retracing my steps. Then I continue to search.” (At this point I find the keys.) “Great, I've got the keys – The problem is solved and my frustration vanishes. – Sounds familiar, right?” (Client usually nods)

I then continue, “I had a problem and used a problem solving strategy to deal with it – the kind of thing we do every day with great success. It turns out that people also tend to use problem solving approaches like this when they feel emotion pain. Perhaps you're in bed, but unable to sleep. In your mind you might start to look through the various nooks and crannies of your past, thinking about different events and situations that you've experienced. You look for information -- for answers – in ways that are similar to the way I looked for the keys. And after looking in a dozen places, do you find the answer you’re looking for? (client is often reacting and smiling by this point) No, so what do you do? You look again, you keep searching. Perhaps you find yourself looking at many the same memories, over and over, as you also add new ones. (client typically affirms this.) But there’s a fundamental problem – there aren’t any keys – there’s no solution – no key piece of information that will solve your problem and make you feel better."

I find that many clients easily relate to this metaphor. I recently used it with a small group of adolescents and they found it easy to understand – both the process and the futility of it.

John :cool:

ACT/RFT in Education - Powerpoints on Anxiety and Forgiveness

If you have an interest in the role of ACT and RFT in education, you might like to have a look at the Powerpoint presentations I put together for students and staff at my school on the themes of Anxiety and Forgiveness.

Wow!

Hello everyone. I came here today thinking I would find the RFT online tutorial, where it always is, and a whole community of RFT/ACT people has sprung up! This is a great site, it really feels like a community, although I'm still trying to find my way around.

A little about me... I am currently a Master's student in Experimental Psychology at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX (between Houston and Dallas in the middle of nowhere). I should finish up here this May (2006) and, hopefully, by then I will have been accepted into one of many possible Behavior Analysis doctoral programs around the country.

I entered the world of RFT through Chris Ninness here at SFA. I recently participated in a study with him using RFT to teach college students trigonomic functions and their graphs in a way much more rapid and efficient than traditional methods.

Career influences

Forgive me if this seems too self-focused, but I regularly get asked about career influences. In this attachment (revised in January 2008) I try to describe them. I also present a brief intellectual autobiography and some personal details. If someone tagged you with the job of learning about this fell named Steve Hayes, well this could be useful.

- S

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