Academic journal article The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) in Ibero-America: Review of Current Status and Some Proposals

Academic journal article The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) in Ibero-America: Review of Current Status and Some Proposals

Article excerpt

In recent years, the Third Wave Behavior Therapies have made an important impact on the field of clinical psychology, becoming an alternative to treating clients with personality disorders or serious behavioral problems, difficulties not as frequently focused on by cognitive-behavioral therapists (Rodriguez-Naranjo, 1998). The third generation behavior therapies provide contextual explanations for clinical problems, fostering more clarity on involved in maintenance and change without using hypothetical constructs or categories that the therapist cannot control (Forsyth, Lejuez, Eifert & Hawkins, 1996).

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) has achieved an important place in this third generation behavior therapy movement, with its coherent conceptual framework and its empirical developments. Thus, studies relating FAP benefits and contributions to clinical psychology have allowed therapists access to effective treatment strategies (Beckert, 2002; Brandao, & Silveira, 2004; Callaghan, Summer & Weidman, 2003; Ferro, 2008; Ferro, Valero & Lopez, 2009, Lopez, Ferro & Calverley, 2010; Novoa-Gomez & Santolaya, 2010).

Such developments have led FAP to transcending the psychological community in which it was originally proposed (in geographical and idiomatic terms), so that, researchers in other contexts, such as Latin America, have conducted studies and written articles to strengthen FAP's empirical and conceptual base.

Four central topics in FAP have been addressed in Ibero-America: (a) its foundations in behavioral analysis, (b) clinically relevant behaviors (CRBs), (c) the therapeutic relationship as central to analysis and change, and (d) clinical supervision and training.

The authors in Ibero-America (Fernandez & Ferro, 2008; Ferro, Valero & Lopez, 1999; Parada, Sarmiento & Urbina, 2008; Rodriguez-Naranjo, 1998; Virues, Descalzo & Vencesla, 2003) based their studies on the behavior analytic and contextual principles and therapeutic rules described by Kohlenberg and Tsai (1991).

As indicated by Parada, Sarmiento and Urbina (2008), FAP is based on the findings of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, from which established the principles of radical behaviorism and based on which they derived both as Applied Behavioral Analysis and Clinical Behavioral Analysis (Dougher & Hayes, 1999). Virues, Descalzo & Vencesla (2003) have reported that the theoretical basis of the FAP is derived not only from the tenets of radical behaviorism, but is also based on current developments in verbal behavior and Relational Frame Theory (Kohlenberg, Tsai, Ferro, Valero, Fernandez & Virues-Ortega, 2005, Gomez-Martin Lopez-Rios, Mesa-Manjon, 2007), which may provide an explanation for the way that clients' explanations change their behavior.

Perez-Alvarez (2006) noted that in third wave therapies, including FAP, the explanation of behavior occurs in relation to contextual factors and causal relationships are established in terms of their own behavior (such as thinking or feeling). This is differentiated from cognitive-behavioral therapies based on the metaphor of information processing where it is proposed that stimuli are perceived by the body and then subsequently processed by generating a response to them. Thus, the cognitive variables in cognitive behavioral or second wave therapies have the status of causality, which does not occur from the epistemological foundations of behavior analysis that are the basis of the third generation therapies, and in this case of FAP. In the article by Ferro, Valero & Lopez (2009), however, they mentioned that some variables could interfere with cognitive intervention since as pointed out by Virues, Descalzo & Vencesla (2003), cognitive responses within a functional analytic perspective refer to instances of conduct that do not cause other responses, but that correlate with them.

Another differentiating aspect between the third and second wave therapies mentioned in the articles reviewed (Fernandez & Ferro, 2008; Ferro, Valero & Lopez, 1999; Kohlenberg, Tsai, Ferro, Valero, Fernandez & Virues-Ortega, 2005; Gomez-Martin Lopez-Rios, Mesa-Manjon, 2007; Parada, Sarmiento & Urbina, 2008; Rodriguez-Naranjo, 1998; Virues, Descalzo & Vencesla, 2003) is the idiographic approach of FAP, so that cases are analyzed with respect to individual histories and the context of the therapeutic relationship. …

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