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July 2021

Thinking about thinking and feeling about feeling

Journal/Book: Behav Anal. 2000; 23: Western Michigan Univ, 260 Wood Hall, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5052, USA. Soc Advancement Behavior Analysis. 45-56.

Abstract: Traditional clinical psychology generally posits ''mental'' events that differ from ''behavioral'' events. Mental events are not publicly observable, take place in a different dimension from overt behavior, and are the topic of primary concern. For example, mental events are often taken to be causes of troublesome overt behavior. In addition, the mental events themselves may be regarded as troublesome, independent of their relation to any specific overt behavior Therapy is usually aimed at fixing these troublesome mental events, under an assumption that improvement in the client's status will follow in due course. Behavior analysis has its own position on the relations among clinical matters, overt behavior, and such private events as thinking and feeling. In a behavior-analytic view, private events are behavioral phenomena rather than mental phenomena. They are not initiating causes of behavior; rather, they are themselves caused by antecedent conditions, but they may contribute to discriminative control over subsequent behavior, both verbal and nonverbal. Verbal processes are viewed as vitally important in understanding troublesome behavior. However, the circumstances that cause both the troublesome private events and the troublesome behavior in the first place still need to be addressed. Finally, clinical behavior analysis will need to market its insights into diagnosis and treatment very adroitly, because it rejects the mentalism upon which most traditional forms of therapy are predicated and the mentalism that most consumers expect to encounter.

Note: Article Moore J, Univ Wisconsin, Dept Psychol, Milwaukee,WI 53201 USA

Keyword(s): behavior analysis; private events; thinking; feeling; methodological behaviorism; stimulus equivalence; relational frame theory; RADICAL BEHAVIORISM; PRIVATE EVENTS; PSYCHOLOGY; MENTALISM; SCIENCE


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