Suggested Readings & Helpful Presentations

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There are numerous resources for further reading. These are simply a few suggestions and you may find many others helpful. We highly recommend using this list as a starting point from which to begin your journey, and using the searchable Publications list as an instrument for guiding your own path of learning.

General Theory Books on RFT and Contextual Behavior Science

  • Törneke, N. (2010). Learning RFT: An introduction to relational frame theory and its clinical applications. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. 

This book is designed to make RFT accessible to clinicians. This book is extremely readable and helps the reader understand behavioral principles, technical terms within RFT, and how to apply RFT across many different areas.

This book may be one of the most difficult to read, but it is also the most thorough account of RFT principles and we highly recommend reading it (at some point) to gain a thorough and working understanding of RFT. Suggestion: do the RFT tutorial first. Read chapters 1 to 8, not stopping when you do not understand. Then pause and re-read Chapter 8. Then re-read the whole book and now you can stop and try to figure out what you do not understand. Don't worry. You will survive it.

The ABCs of Human Behavior offers the practicing clinician a solid and practical introduction to the basics of modern behavioral psychology. The book focuses both on the classical principles of learning as well as more recent developments that explain language and cognition in behavioral and contextual terms. These principles are not just discussed in the abstract—rather the book shows how the principles of learning apply in a clinical context. Practical and easy to read, the book walks you through both common sense and clinical examples that will help you use behavioral principles to observe, explain, and influence behavior in a therapeutic setting.

  • Hayes, S. C. (Ed.). (1989/2004). Rule governed behavior: Cognition, contingencies, and instructional control. New York: Plenum / reprinted in 2004 by Context Press.

One of the first full-length presentations of the ACT / RFT model is in three chapters in this book on the topic. This book is now available in paperback from Context Press.


Understanding RFT: A few simple articles and presentations

  • Blackledge, J. T. (2003). An introduction to Relational Frame Theory: Basics and applications. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3(4), 421-433.
  • Törneke, N. & Luoma, J. (2009, July). RFT: Basic concepts and clinical implications. Paper presented at the 3rd World Conference for Contextual Behavioral Science, Enschede, Netherlands.
  • Blackledge, J. T. (2009). How is RFT Relevant to Clinical Psychology? Audio and handouts from a teleconference given to the Psychotherapy Research Network in March, 2009.


The role of RFT in Contextual Behavioral Science

  • Levin, M. E., & Hayes, S. C. (2009). ACT, RFT, and contextual behavioral science. In J. T. Blackledge, J. Ciarrochi, & F. P. Deane (Eds.), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Contemporary research and practice (pp. 1 – 40). Sydney: Australian Academic Press.

Reviews & Situating RFT in the Larger Literature

  • Gross, A. C., & Fox, E. J. (2009). Relational frame theory: An overview of the controversy. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 25, 87-98.
  • Vilardaga, R. (2009, May). A systematic review of the RFT literature on deictic framing. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Behavior Analysis International conference, Phoenix, AZ.


ACT/RFT Reader Update

  • ACT/RFT Reader Update is a review by CBS reseachers of recent research in both ACT and RFT that was published from 2018 - 2011. Each of the articles reviewed is available on this site.

Books on Applying RFT

Derived Relational Responding offers a series of revolutionary intervention programs for applied work in human language and cognition targeted at students with autism and other developmental disabilities. It presents a program drawn from derived stimulus relations that you can use to help students of all ages acquire foundational and advanced verbal, social, and cognitive skills.

This volume presents a contemporary behavioral model of behavior disorders that incorporates the findings of current RFT and ACT research. Rich in possibilities for clinical work, this view of disordered behavior is an important milestone in clinical psychotherapy - an opportunity for behavioral clinicians to reintegrate their clinical practice with an experimental analysis of behavior.

This book is an applied volume in purpose, but includes an RFT account of each of the ACT processes, and in particular an in depth RFT perspective on personal values and the clinical interventions employed to enhance them and promote committed action.

While not explicitly a volume on RFT, this book is an excellent resource on clinical behavioral approaches to common problems and includes several chapters with an RFT perspective on clinical problems.

Special Issues

Conceptual Developments in Relational Frame Theory: Research and Practice. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

News & Other Media

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