The importance of linking applied psychotherapeutic techniques and strategies to basic experimental science is discussed, both as an independent ideal and in light of non-specific factors research suggesting that atheoretical global factors are responsible for the vast majority of clinical change. As an example of how such basic-applied linkage can occur, principles from Relational Frame Theory and other relevant experimental data are used to analyze and explain the potential utility of two specific strategies often employed in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy to remediate “awfulizing” and low frustration tolerance, respectively. The preliminary nature of this analysis is highlighted to allow a realistic view of the tremendous task at hand for clinical psychologists seeking a stronger basic science foundation for applied technologies.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ahn, H., & Wampold, B. E. (2001). Where oh where are the specific ingredients? A meta-analysis of component studies in counseling and psychotherapy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 48, 251–257.
Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.
Blackledge, J. T. (2003). An introduction to relational frame theory: Basics and applications. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3(4), 421–433.
Chambless, D. L., & Ollendick, T. H. (2001). Empirically supported psychological interventions: Controversies and evidence. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 685–716.
DeRubeis, R. J., Brotman, M. A., & Gibbons, C. J. (2005). A conceptual and methodological analysis of the nonspecifics argument. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12, 174–183.
Dryden, W. (1999). Rational emotive behavior therapy: A training manual. New York: Springer.
Emmelkamp, P. M., & Beens, H. (1991). Cognitive therapy with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A comparative evaluation. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 29(3), 293–300.
Espin, M. J. G., Martin, S. F., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2005). Relational Frame Theory and coherence: An experimental approach. Presented at the 31st Annual Association for Behavior Analysis Conference, Chicago, Illinois.
Espin, M. J. G., Martin, S. F., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Fontan, M. L. (2003). Coherent and incoherent training of equivalence classes and its effects on the relational context. Presented at the 29th Annual Association for Behavior Analysis Conference, San Francisco, California.
Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. London: Tavistock.
Gonzalez, J. E., Nelson, J. R., Gutkin, T. B., Saunders, A., Galloway, A., & Shwery, C. S. (2004). Rational emotive therapy with children and adolescents. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12, 222–235.
Hayes, S. C. (1987). The relation between “applied” and “basic” psychology. Behavior Analysis, 22(3), 91–100.
Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (2001). Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Hayes, S. C., Fox, E., Gifford, E. V., Wilson, K. G., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Healy, O. (2001). Derived relational responding as learned behavior. In S. Hayes, D. Barnes-Holmes, & B. Roche (Eds.), Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition (pp. 21–50). NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Horvath, A. O., & Luborsky, L. (1993). The role of therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 4, 561–573.
Ilardi, S. S., & Craighead, W. E. (1994). The role of nonspecific factors in cognitive-behavior therapy for depression. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 1, 139–156.
Kazdin, A. E. (2005a). Parent management training: Treatment for oppositional, aggressive, and antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. Oxford: University Press.
Kazdin, A. E. (2005b). Treatment outcomes, common factors, and continued neglect of mechanisms of change. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12, 184–188.
Kazdin, A. E. (2006). Mechanisms of change in psychotherapy: Advances, breakthroughs, cutting-edge research (in preparation). In R. Bootzin & P. McKnight (Eds.), Strengthening research methodology: Psychological measurement and evaluation. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Lazarus, A. (1995). Different types of eclecticism and integration: Let’s be aware of the differences. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 5(1), 27–39.
Lazarus, A. (1996). The utility and futility of combining treatments in psychotherapy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 3(1), 59–68.
Lipkens, R., Hayes, S. C., & Hayes, L. J. (1993). Longitudinal study of the development of derived relations in an infant. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 56, 201–239.
Lovaas, O. I., & Smith, T. (1994). Intensive and long-term treatments for clients with destructive behaviors. In T. Thompson & D. Gray (Eds.), Destructive behavior in developmental disabilities: Diagnosis and treatment (pp. 243–260). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Luborsky, L., Singer, B., & Luborsky, L. (1975). Comparative studies of psychotherapies: Is it true that “everyone has won and all must have prizes”? Archives of General Psychiatry, 32, 995–1008.
Martin, D. J., Garske, J. P., & Davis, M. K. (2000). Relations of the therapeutic alliance with outcome and other variables: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 582–587.
O’Donohue, W., & Krasner, L. (1995). Handbook of psychological skills training: Clinical techniques and applications. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Pilgrim, C., & Galizio, M. (1990). Relations between baseline contingencies and equivalence probe performances. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 54, 213–224.
Pilgrim, C., & Galizio, M. (1995). Reversal of baseline relations and stimulus equivalence: I. Adults. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 63, 225–238.
Roche, B., Barnes-Holmes, D., Barnes-Holmes, Y., & Hayes, S. C. (2001). Social processes. In S. Hayes, D. Barnes-Holmes, & B. Roche (Eds.), Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition (pp. 197–210). NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Sanders, M. R., Turner, K. M., & Markie-Dadds, C. (2002). The development and dissemination of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program: A multi-level, evidence-based system of parenting and family support. Prevention Science, 3(3), 173–189.
Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms. Acton, MA: Copley Publishing Group.
Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. Acton, MA: Copley Publishing Group.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edn. (2000). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Walen, S. R., DiGiuseppe, R., & Dryden, W. (1992). A practitioner’s guide to rational-emotive therapy. NY: Oxford University Press.
Wampold, B. E. (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Models, methods, and findings. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Wolpe, J. (1958). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
About this article
Cite this article
Blackledge, J.T., Moran, D.J. & Ellis, A. Bridging the Divide: Linking Basic Science to Applied Psychotherapeutic Interventions—A Relational Frame Theory Account of Cognitive Disputation in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 27, 232–248 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-007-0078-x
- Relational Frame Theory
- Rational emotive behavior therapy
- Derived relational responding
- Low frustration tolerance