Convention, Tradition, and the New Wave : Assessing Clinician Identity within Behavior Therapy

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Ragnar Storaasli

First Committee Member

Kelly Wilson

Second Committee Member

Chad Emrick


Behavioristic psychology


In the first wave, behaviorists questioned the conventional wisdom that inner experience was relevant to understanding human behavior. In the 1970s, cognitive-behavioral theories emphasized the importance of the cognitive element, not just the environment, in explaining and modifying behavior. The third wave is drawn from advances in basic and applied behavior analysis of language, Eastern mystical traditions, and less empirically oriented therapeutic approaches. Examples include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (IBCT). This study reports a survey of clinicians and non-clinicians who self-identify with second or third wave approaches, and a group of undergraduate psychology students intended to represent a layperson or folk psychological approach. Their preferences, in the context of 10 clinical vignettes, among 5 different therapeutic responses or interventions that included "ACT-like," "cognitive," and commonsense or "neutral" options were measured. Third wave-oriented respondents exhibited more consistency than others in their preference for interventions that match their self-identified theoretical orientation, however the author suggests that construction of the vignettes may have influenced this result.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


25 pages

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