Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

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Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
File:ACBS with tagline cropped.jpg
Logo of ACBS
Formation 2005
Headquarters United States
approx. 8,300 international members
2016 President
D. J. Moran, Ph.D

The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) is a worldwide nonprofit professional membership organization associated with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).[1] The term "contextual behavioral science" refers to the application of functional contextualism to human behavior, including contextual forms of behavior analysis, cognitive behavior therapy, and evolution science.[2] In the applied area Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is perhaps the best known wing of contextual behavioral science, and is an emphasis of ACBS, along with other types of contextual CBT, and efforts in education, organizational behavior, and other areas. ACT is considered an empirically validated treatment by the American Psychological Association, with the status of "Modest Research Support" in depression and "Strong Research Support" in chronic pain, with several others specific areas such as psychosis and work site stress currently under review.[3] ACT is also listed as evidence-based by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the United States federal government which has examined randomized trials for ACT in the areas of psychosis, work site stress, and obsessive compulsive disorder, including depression outcomes.[4] In the basic area, Relational Frame Theory is a research program in language and cognition that is considered part of contextual behavioral science, and is a focus of ACBS.[5] Unlike the better known behavioral approach proposed by B.F. Skinner in his book Verbal Behavior, experimental RFT research has emerged in a number of areas traditionally thought to be beyond behavioral perspectives, such as grammar, metaphor, perspective taking, implicit cognition and reasoning.[6][7][8]


Established in 2005, ACBS has about 8,300 members.[9] Slightly more than one half are outside of the United States. Since its start, ACBS has been rapidly expanding. There are 41 ACBS chapters covering many areas of the world including Italy,[10] Japan,[11] Belgium, Holland,[12] Spain, Australia/New Zealand,[13] the Balkans, France,[14] the United Kingdom and Turkey. Chapters exist in the United States and Canada as well, including the mid-Atlantic, New England, Colorado, Washington, Ontario (CA) and several other areas. There are also 29 Special Interest Groups covering a wide range of basic and applied areas such as children and adolescents, developing nations, veteran's affairs, ACT for the Public, social work, stigma, and many other areas.


  • ACBS sponsors an annual conference, the World Conference on Contextual Behavioral Science. The 13th annual meeting was held in Berlin, Germany, July 14–19, 2015, and the 14th will be held June 14–19, 2016 in Seattle. The 2017 meeting will be held June 20–25, 2017 in Seville, Spain.
  • In 2012 Elsevier began publishing the flagship journal of ACBS, the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science..[15][16] As of mid-2016 it's impact factor according to SCImago, using the Thompson-Reuters formula, is 2.54.
  • Other activities:
    • A scholarship program that sponsors participants from the developing world to attend the World Conferences.
    • Listservs for professionals and the public, as well as several list serves for specific language communities. Most chapters and SIGs maintain list serves as well. The largest listserv is on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and is for professionals who are ACBS members (see link below) with the second largest listserv focusing on Relational Frame Theory. (The ACT listserv for professionals spawned its own reference books of popular questions/topics called Talking ACT published by New Harbinger Publications and Context Press.[17]) There is also a free listserv for members of the public who are reading ACT self-help books (see link below).
    • A small grant program for projects in contextual behavioral science.
    • The ACBS site also hosts a podcast series available from iTunes called ACT in Context.[18]

The association's website contains resources such as therapist tools, workshops, and assessment materials,[19] and provides information on recent books on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).[20]

See also


  1. James D. Herbert, Evan M. Forman (Nov 2010). Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  2. Behavior analysis and contextualism
  3. "APA website on empirical treatments". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  4. "SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices". Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  5. Blackledge, J.T. (2003). An Introduction to Relational Frame Theory: Basics and Applications. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3, 421–34.
  6. Barnes-Holmes, Y.; Barnes-Holmes, D. & McHugh, L. (2004). Teaching Derived Relational Responding to Young Children. JEIBI, 1, 4–16.
  7. Cullinan, V. & Vitale, A. (2008). The contribution of Relational Frame Theory to the development of interventions for impairments of language and cognition. Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 2(4)–3(1), 122–135.
  8. Website on the IRAP, a contextual behavioral assessment tool for implicit cognition from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  9. ACBS | Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
  10. Italian chapter
  11. Japanese chapter
  12. Dutch chapter
  13. Australia and New Zealand chapter
  14. French chapter
  15. The Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science | Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
  16. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science - Elsevier
  17. Talking ACT
  19. Albert R. Roberts, Julia M. Watkins (2009). Social workers' desk reference. Oxford University Press 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  20. Bruce Hyman, Bruce M. Hyman, Troy DuFrene (1 Jun 2008). Coping with OCD. New Harbinger Publications. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 

External links