Promoting Psychological Flexibility on Tolerance Tasks: Framing Behavior Through Deictic/Hierarchical Relations and Specifying Augmental Functions
Recent research is advancing in the analysis of the defusion and self-based exercises used in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) through relational frame theory (RFT) terms. This study aimed to analyze the effect of two RFT-defined defusion protocols in promoting psychological flexibility by altering the discriminative functions of avoidance of aversive private events. Thirty participants first responded to several questionnaires. Subsequently, participants were exposed to 2 experimental tasks (pretest): a cold pressor and an aversive film. Participants were then randomly assigned to 3 experimental conditions: (a) a control condition, (b) a defusion protocol based on framing one’s own behavior through deictic relations (Defusion I), and (c) a defusion protocol that also included hierarchical relations and giving regulatory functions to that discrimination (Defusion II). Finally, participants were again exposed to the 2 experimental tasks (posttest). Results showed that participants who received the defusion protocols performed better in the posttest than did the control participants, and that Defusion II participants showed higher tolerance than Defusion I participants.