The Psychological Record

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Promoting Psychological Flexibility on Tolerance Tasks: Framing Behavior Through Deictic/Hierarchical Relations and Specifying Augmental Functions

  • Bárbara Gil-Luciano
  • Francisco J. Ruiz
  • Sonsoles Valdivia-Salas
  • Juan C. Suárez-Falcón
Original Article


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.


Relational frame theory Acceptance and commitment therapy Defusion Self as context Hierarchical relations 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study 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.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

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


This study was supported, in part, by funds from the research projects PSI2011-25497 (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) and PSI2014-59610-P (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad).


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bárbara Gil-Luciano
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Ruiz
    • 2
  • Sonsoles Valdivia-Salas
    • 3
  • Juan C. Suárez-Falcón
    • 4
  1. 1.Madrid Institute of Contextual PsychologyUniversidad de AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain
  2. 2.Fundación Universitaria Konrad LorenzBogotáColombia
  3. 3.Universidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  4. 4.Universidad Nacional de Educación a DistanciaMadridSpain

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