A Crash Course in Complex Verbal Behavior: Closing the gap between research and practice with Amanda Chastain, BCBA

Amanda Chastain, BCBAJune 6, 2022 - August 22, 2022 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Amanda Chastain, BCBA, for a webinar series on Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Training for Behavior Analysts!

This page describes the whole series of webinars. To register for individual sessions/segments, please follow the links in the session descriptions and register from those pages. Some events will be recorded for later viewing in case you register but are unable to join in live.

Need more information? Click Here for the full list of dates and session-specific abstracts and learning objectives.



There is a significant gap between RESEARCH and PRACTICE when it comes to programming for complex verbal behavior. This workshop series explores 1.) some behavior analytic models of complex verbal behavior, including Stimulus Equivalence and Relational Frame Theory, to guide attendees in acquiring a working knowledge of Relational Frame Theory as it is APPLIED to Behavior Analytic intervention; and 2.) an experiential, assessment-to-intervention journey to prepare attendees to hit the ground running with ACT in an effective and responsible way.

During the first four sessions of the program, learners will come to better understand what complex verbal behavior is from a Relational Frame Theory perspective, as well as the importance of establishing a robust repertoire of derived relational responding. Participants will also learn how to program for the establishment of these complex repertoires for common relational frames (coordination, distinction, opposition, comparison, hierarchical, and deictic).

The final four sessions consider language as a double-edged sword that may result in new challenges once established, and introduces ACT as one way to address these new challenges. We will cover ACT in ABA, an ACT functional analysis, and implementation of ACT interventions, with frequent opportunities for practice. The goal of each session is to give participants something that they can apply to their work right away.

About the Presenter:

Amanda Chastain, BCBA, completed her master’s degree in Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis) at California State University, Sacramento where she specialized in Skinner’s verbal behavior, stimulus equivalence, and bidirectional naming. After graduation, she received training and supervision in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy while working as a Senior Research Associate in an Applied Behavior Analysis lab at the University of Southern California, as a Program Director at an ABA agency in Los Angeles, and as a Lab Manager for the ACT/Prosocial lab based out of Florida Institute of Technology. Ms. Chastain values the dissemination of information to close the gap between research and practice around complex verbal behavior, often doing her part in the form of presentations, publications, and training workshops. Currently, she is working towards obtaining her Doctorate in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago under the supervision of Dr. Mark Dixon and Dr. Tamar Heller. Her current research focuses on complex verbal behavior, Relational Frame Theory, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Series Outline and Details:

A Crash Course in Complex Verbal Behavior Closing the Gap Between Research and Practice with Amanda Chastain, BCBA (click to download and view flier)

Part I: Verbal Behavior & Relational Frame Theory

Click here to register for the RFT Sessions only

Session 1: Some Behavior Analytic Models of Verbal Behavior
  • In session 1, we will start ‘at the beginning’ by exploring B. F. Skinner’s initial take on Verbal Behavior and Murray Sidman’s contributions with Stimulus Equivalence. These discussions set the context for consideration of Relational Frame Theory as an extension of these concepts. We’ll wrap up with why this is worth understanding for Behavior Analysts, with direct connection to Early Behavior Intervention goals and programs.
Session 2: A Deeper Dive into Relational Frame Theory – PART I
  • In session 2, we will get into more detail about the different forms of relational framing and discuss relating as a generalized relational operant, including some leading research from Dr. Jordan Belisle’s RFT research lab. To finish, attendees will take a look at their own programs through an RFT lens.
Session 3: A Deeper Dive into Relational Frame Theory – PART II
  • In session 3, we will dive into identifying and programming for each of the main types of relational frames. Participants will actively practice setting up programs to target growth, see examples from the PEAK Relational Training curriculum, and close out with a primer for more complex stimuli (to be discussed in detail at the next session).
Session 4: A Deeper Dive into Relational Frame Theory – PART III
  • In session 4, we will quickly review what we learned in Session 3 (Non-Arbitrarily Applicable Derived Relational Responding) before exploring more complex ways of relational framing/responding. An activity will allow participants to practice programming again, this time incorporating arbitrarily applicable derived relational responding.

Part II: Acceptance & Commitment Training 

Click here to register for the ACT Sessions only

Session 5: The Double-Edged Sword of Language – an introduction to ACT
  • In session 5, we will kick off our discussion of ACT with the solid foundational knowledge of RFT gained in the first four sessions. Discussion will include the ‘double- edged’ nature of language, an introduction to ACT concepts and language in behavior-analytic terms, and practicing responsibly in the role of a Behavior Analyst.
Session 6: An ACT Functional Analysis – Part I
  • In session 6, we will connect the 6 ACT Processes to related behavioral repertoires, and then explore the ACT Matrix as a descriptive assessment tool. We’ll end with an approach to identifying problematic relations, with active practice for attendees to get experience with this skill.
Session 7: An ACT Functional Analysis – Part II
  • In session 7, we will begin with a quick review of the 6 ACT Processes and identifying problematic relations. The rest of the session will be spent discussing and practicing setup of ACT Functional Analysis conditions and interpretation of results to guide intervention.
Session 8: ACT Interventions
  • In session 8, we will begin with a discussion of the purpose of ACT interventions. The rest of this final session will introduce some ready-made resources to make your use of ACT-based interventions more efficient, and finally, social- validity measures.

CEU’s included, and Cost to Attend:

  • 1.5 CEU’s per session – 12.0 CEU’s for full series
  • $90 for Part I (4 RFT Sessions)
  • $90 for Part II (4 ACT Sessions)
  • $170 for Full Series

For questions, challenges with registration, or any other needed information, please contact Dusty, Director of Continuing Education and ACE Coordinator for CBPI, LLC, at continuingeducation@connections-behavior.com.

Connections Behavior Planning & Intervention, LLC, is a BACB-Approved ACE Provider (Provider # OP-17-2781). The BACB does not directly sponsor or endorse this event, its speakers, or its content.

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