Understanding and Using Relational Frame Theory for Behavior Analysts

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Siri Ming, PhD, BCBA-D Behavior analyst, consultant, and trainer
Thomas Szabo, PhD, BCBA-D Behavior analyst, trainer, and author

About This Course

Relational Frame Theory (RFT) places generalized derived relational responding—relational framing—at the core of human language. Relational framing is essential for fluent conversational skills, academic progress, and the development of advanced social behavior, such as moral and ethical conduct. Relational framing repertoires have been highly correlated with language and IQ measures. Relational framing instructional programs have shown powerful effects on both academic skills and IQ. Programs using RFT methods to develop moral and ethical repertoires also show substantial promise. In this online course, Siri Ming, BCBA-D and Thomas Szabo, PhD, BCBA-D identify relational framing repertoires as behavioral cusps to establish generative language in early intervention programs. They also discuss the application of RFT to more advanced language and social repertoires as well as to staff and parent training. In the latter part of the course, participants will practice teaching metaphor and analogy, perspective taking, deictic framing, and emotion recognition. The final lessons will involve practice teaching parents and professionals how to structure learning activities that promote moral and ethical skill development. In a nutshell, participants in this course will learn the essentials of RFT along with evidence-based, practical strategies for promoting:
  1. generative language repertoires in young children
  2. advanced social skills, and
  3. effective staff and parent repertoires for helping learners excel in academic and social contexts
Prior to registering, please review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information.


Session 1: October 9, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EDT
Introduction to RFT: Theory and application (together)
Session 2: October 16, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EDT
RFT & EIBI Curriculum A: Foundations for generative language; Case conceptualization overview (Siri)
Session 3: October 23, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EDT
RFT & EIBI Curriculum B: Coordination and equivalence based teaching (Siri)
Session 4: October 30, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EDT
RFT & EIBI Curriculum C: The earliest relational operants (Siri)
Session 5: November 6, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EST
RFT & EIBI Curriculum D: Establishing foundations for complex relational responding; Case conceptualization review (Siri)
Session 6: November 13, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EST
Rule Governance and Listener Repertoires, Moral and Ethical Conduct (Tom)
Session 7: November 20, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EST
Emotion Recognition, Analogies and Metaphors (Tom)
Session 8: December 4, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EST
Crel and Cfunc Repertoires, Deictic Framing, The Concept of Self (Tom)
Session 9: December 11, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EST
Training Moral and Ethical Repertoires (Tom)
Session 10: December 18, 2019, 1 pm-3 pm EST
Empathy, Compassion, From EIBI to Saving the World with ABA (together)

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  1. Describe the defining features of relational frames and discuss why shaping relational framing repertoires alongside contingency management is important to train ethical conduct.
  2. Distinguish between derived, generalized, and taught responses.
  3. Distinguish between arbitrary and nonarbitrary relational responding.
  4. Describe different types of relational frames, including coordination, distinction, opposition, comparison, spatial relations, hierarchy, and deictic frames (perspective-taking).
  5. Describe an RFT conceptualization of rule-governed behavior.
  6. Describe how both direct and indirect contingencies influence complex verbal behavior, including the development of ethical and moral behavior.
  7. Describe recent applied literature on establishing a variety of relational frames.
  8. Describe and practice how to assess and teach nonarbitrary and arbitrary relational responding skills in relations of coordination.
  9. Describe the elements of frames of coordination/stimulus equivalence and examples of current literature using equivalence-based teaching; develop and practice implementing equivalence-based-teaching plans for efficiently teaching new content.
  10. Create a plan for using EBT within a client-relevant content area.
  11. Describe and practice how to assess and teach nonarbitrary and arbitrary relational responding skills in relations of distinction, opposition, and comparison.
  12. Discuss broad social implications of advanced relational and listener skill acquisition.
  13. Identify reasons for building healthy relationships with cultural rules.
  14. Evaluate the role that rule-following and rule-generating play in ethics.
  15. Distinguish between and give examples of pliance, tracking, and augmenting.
  16. Discuss the importance of assessing deictic framing.
  17. Identify ways of teaching emotion recognition using discrimination training and fluency drills.
  18. Analyze the roles of Crel and Cfunc repertoires within relational framing, broadly speaking, and also during perspective taking tasks (deictic framing).
  19. Discuss how to apply RFT to parent training when parents frame ABA with pain and difficulty.
  20. Describe analogies and the concept of self.
  21. Identify ways to apply RFT to teach learners to tact what they are thinking, to teach cause and effect, to teach sensory awareness, and to teach sensory perspective taking.
  22. Discuss the overall framework of applying RFT to teach moral and ethical conduct and the overall framework of applying RFT to EIBI and advanced social skill acquisition targets.




This course is designed for mental health professionals and Behavior Analysts, with a beginner-advanced knowledge base in this subject area.

Recommended Reading

Törneke, Niklas (2010). Learning RFT. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Ming, S., Stewart, I. & McElwee, J. (2019). Using RFT to promote generative language: Volume 1—Integrating RFT and verbal behavior to create a foundation of derived equivalence for early learners. FL: Hedgehog Publishers.


Ming, S., & Stewart, I. (2017). When things are not the same: A review of research into relations of difference. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 50, 429-455. doi: 10.1002/jaba.367

Ming, S., Moran, L. & Stewart, I. (2014). Derived relational responding: Applications and future directions for teaching individuals with autism spectrum disorders. European Journal of Behavior Analysis. 15(2), 199-224. doi:10.1080/15021149.2014.11434722

Ming, S., Mulhern, T., Stewart, I., Moran, L., & Bynum, K. (2018). Testing and training class inclusion in typically developing young children and individuals with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 51, 53-60. doi: 10.1002/jaba.429

Stewart, I. (2018). Derived relational responding and relational frame theory: A fruitful behavior analytic paradigm for the investigation of human language. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, Jun 25, 2018

Szabo, T. G. (2017). Problem-solving: Aligning Skinner’s framework with RFT’s pragmatic verbal analysis. In R. A. Rehfeldt, M. Fryling, L. Hayes, & J. Tarbox (Eds.) Applied Behavior Analysis of Language and Cognition. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.

Szabo, T. G., Bockarie, H., White, R., Tarbox, J., Stewart, C., & Ebert, B. (under review). Microaggression, intimate partner gender-based violence, and behavioral flexibility training in Sierra Leonean couples.

Szabo, T. G., & Dixon, M. R. (2016). Contextual behavior science and education. In R. D. Zettle, & A. Biglan (Eds.) Handbook of Contextual Behavior Science. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.

Szabo, T. G. & Tarbox, J. (2015). Beyond what “is” and what “is-not.” Journal of Contextual Behavior Science, 4, 220-224

Refund and Cancellation Policy

We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration prior to 14 days before an event/course. If a registrant would like to cancel their registration within 14 days of the event, no refund will be offered. However, the registrant can elect to receive a credit to be used toward another Praxis event within 1 calendar year.