Luciano, Rodríguez, & Gutiérrez, 2004

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APA Citation: 

Luciano, M. C., Rodrí­guez Valverde, M., & Gutiérrez Martí­­nez, O. (2004). A proposal for synthesizing verbal contexts in Experiential Avoidance Disorder and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 4, 377-394.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
ACT: Empirical
RFT: Conceptual
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Experiential avoidance disorder, Acceptance and commitment therapy, relational frame theory, verbal contexts, verbal regulations

The present paper offers a proposal of how the natural bidirectionality and function-altering properties of language or verbal behavior may give rise to the pathogenic verbal contexts proposed within the framework of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as responsible for Experiential Avoidance Disorder (EAD). Specifically, it is argued that these four contexts (literality, evaluation, reason-giving and the verbal regulation of the control of private events) are all of them part of a process where the last of them (verbal regulation of the control of private events) is the main one that encloses and gives rise to the other three, by virtue of the fact that it is the only context that involves effective actions and, subsequently, that has contingencies. Accordingly, for the other three contexts become a limitation, it is necessary that the person initiates avoidance attempts that, although reinforcing in the short run, necessarily involve a loss in long-term contingencies (going against personal values). An explanation in RFT terms is offered of how aversive private events increase or decrease their aversiveness (by transformation of functions) depending on how they are experienced in regard to personal values: either when the person behaves as if negatively evaluated private events were in opposition to valuable actions, or when the person behaves as if private events were in coordination to valuable actions. The paper also focuses in the RFT analysis of the verbal processes under which some ACT clinical methods might be operating, either in altering both the context of value in which experiential avoidance becomes a problem and in altering cognitive defusion. Clinical and preliminary experimental preparations are presented to make these points, emphasizing the need of basic research parallel to clinical one.


This article is in both Spanish and English.
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