Disrupting verbal processes: Cognitive defusion in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy & other Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapies

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APA Citation: 

Blackledge, J. T. (2007). Disrupting verbal processes: Cognitive defusion in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and other Mindfulness-based Psychotherapies. The Psychological Record, 57(4), 555 - 577.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Behavior Analysis: Conceptual
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Conceptual
RFT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 

Applied behavioral psychology pivots on the formation and alteration of stimulus function: on how stimuli come to differentially affect behavior, and how these effects can be altered when they prove problematic. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) offers an account of how uniquely verbal processes transform stimulus functions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was designed to counteract problematic verbal transformations of function, in part through the use of cognitive defusion techniques. But the construct of cognitive defusion remains incompletely understood. The current paper comprises an attempt to explore parameters around how cognitive defusion is viewed and operationalized within ACT and RFT. A comprehensive RFT-based conceptualization of defusion is offered, and hypotheses about the nature of defusion and its effects are discussed, with the intent of spurring more focused empirical exploration on the characeteristics and effects of defusion inside ACT and in a variety of mindfulness-based psychotherapeutic treatments.

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