Rule-Following and Rule-Breaking (when it works!): Using the RFT Account of Rule-Governance to Shape Context-Sensitive Behavior with Dr. Alison Stapleton

Dr. Alison Stapleton

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Dr. Alison Stapleton for a webinar on rule-governed behavior through an RFT-lens.


Do any of the following apply to you:

  • I want to integrate relational frame theory (RFT) into my existing practice/ways of working and I am not sure where to start.
  • I am interested in the RFT account of rule-following, but I find the jargon off-putting.
  • I like experiential workshops and want new exercises/interventions to add to my toolkit.

Join us for this jargon-busting workshop on the RFT account of rule-governance.

Rules have a substantial influence on human behavior, with many instances of psychological rigidity seeming to stem from context-insensitive rule-following. Rule-following is a double-edged sword. While it can allow us to bypass trial and error, meaning we respond accurately quickly, it can also reduce our sensitivity to our immediate environment. Reduced sensitivity and awareness of shifting environmental contingencies is highly problematic and can cause us to maintain behaviors that are no longer useful for us, or even cause us to engage in harmful behaviors. And yet, at times we need to promote rule-following. For example, we want people to adhere to guidelines that reduce the spread of COVID-19, we don’t want children to test rules around looking both ways before crossing the street, and in a clinical context, we want clients to test and follow rules that clinicians provide (e.g., rules around valued action). This workshop will introduce attendees to the RFT account of rule-governed behavior and how this account can empower us to facilitate flexible, appropriately contextualized rule-following, while emphasizing the importance of the individual.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe key developments within RFT and acceptance and commitment therapy in the domain of rule-following.
  2. Describe RFT-consistent ways to reduce problematic rule-following among the individuals/groups you work with.
  3. Describe RFT tools that are designed to promote appropriately contextualized responding.
About the Presenter
Dr. Alison Stapleton is a Researcher at Smithsfield Clinic and Lecturer in Psychology at Maynooth University and Dublin Business School, Ireland. She collaborates on a multitude of psychological research projects and regularly delivers trainings both nationally and internationally. Alison is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, serves on the Steering Committee for the ACBS relational frame theory special interest group, and currently works at ACT Now Purposeful Living, a leading provider of ACT training in Ireland. Alison’s doctoral dissertation focused on selfing and rule-governed behavior in accordance with relational frame theory; part of which involved developing and testing procedures designed to reduce problematic rule-following. Alison has published 15 peer-reviewed articles and co-authored two book chapters on these topics, having recently contributed to The Oxford Handbook of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Alison is known for her ability to cut through jargon and make RFT accessible, a practice she believes is imperative if RFT is to continue to make meaningful impact.

Number of CEU’s available: 2.0 BACB Learning CEU’s

Cost to Attend: $40 (includes registration and CEU’s)

Refund Policy: We will provide a full refund to anyone who requests it up to one day before the event. No refunds will be provided for cancellations later than 1 day before the event.

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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