The Psychological Record

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 599–609 | Cite as

The Effects of Analyses of Contingencies on Clinically Relevant Behaviors and Out-of-session Changes in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy

  • Alessandra Villas-Bôas
  • Sonia Beatriz Meyer
  • Jonathan William Kanter
Original Article


Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) is a behavior-analytic psychotherapy approach that shapes client behavior through application of behavioral principles in the therapeutic relationship. Two categories of in-session clinically relevant behavior (CRB) are recognized: CRB1 (problem behaviors) and CRB2 (improvements). The therapist watches for CRBs (Rule 1), evokes (Rule 2) and responds to CRBs (Rule 3) and observes the effects of his/her own behavior on CRBs (Rule 4). This sequence constitutes an experiential interaction in FAP. FAP also includes an analytic interaction, in which the therapist analyzes the client’s behavior, teaches the client to do so (CRB3) and asks him/her to engage in homework, promoting generalization (Rule 5). The goal of this investigation was to verify if analytic interventions in FAP are indeed necessary for generalization of in-session to out-of-session improvements. Two clients were submitted to a single-case experimental procedure, A-B-BC-B-BC, in which A corresponded to behavior therapy without systematic FAP; B corresponded to the introduction of Rules 1 to 4; and BC to the addition of Rule 5. Improvements in and out of session were achieved with the experimental procedure and maintained until a follow-up session. Instances of Rule 5 in the BC phases influenced the clients’ analyses of their own behavior, but did not seem to influence rates of CRB1 and CRB2 or out-of-session problems or improvements. There was no evidence from this study that analyses made by therapists or clients are necessary in addition to the clear shaping process conducted by FAP.


Behavior Therapy Contingency Analysis Generalization External Measures Experimental Design Coding 



Research was funded by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), grant #2010/19816-2.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The paper has not been previously published and has not been and will not be submitted elsewhere.

Research was funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), grant #2010/19816-2.The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Villas-Bôas
    • 1
  • Sonia Beatriz Meyer
    • 1
  • Jonathan William Kanter
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Psicologia Clínica, Instituto de PsicologiaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.University of WashingtonCenter for the Science of Social ConnectionSeattleUSA

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