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Learning RFT: An Introduction to Relational Frame Theory and Its Clinical Application [Kindle Edition]

Niklas Torneke , Dermot Barnes-Holmes , Steven C. Hayes PhD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Relational frame theory, or RFT, is the little-understood behavioral theory behind a recent development in modern psychology: the shift from the cognitive paradigm underpinning cognitive behavioral therapy to a new understanding of language and cognition. Learning RFT presents a basic yet comprehensive introduction to this fascinating theory, which forms the basis of acceptance and commitment therapy. The book also offers practical guidance for directly applying it in clinical work.

In the book, author Niklas Törneke presents the building blocks of RFT: language as a particular kind of relating, derived stimulus relations, and transformation of stimulus functions. He then shows how these concepts are essential to understanding acceptance and commitment therapy and other therapeutic models. Learning RFT shows how to use experiential exercises and metaphors in psychological treatment and explains how they can help your clients. This book belongs on the bookshelves of psychologists, psychotherapists, students, and others seeking to deepen their understanding of psychological treatment from a behavioral perspective.

Editorial Reviews


simply and elegantly, using a wealth of clinical examples to make it accessible and stimulating. I wish a book like this had existed when I first learned about RFT; it would have saved me many hours of hard work, frustration, and confusion.
—Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap and ACT Made Simple

On rare occasions, the skills of writer, therapist, and theorist combine to give the field a sophisticated yet highly practical book. This much-awaited translation shows relational frame theory as an accessible, powerful tool for all who use talk therapy. A must-read for those interested in contemporary behaviorism.
—Kelly Koerner, Ph.D., creative director at Evidence Based Practice Institute in Seattle, WA

Since RFT first appeared in the experimental literature, it has been hailed as a breakthrough in our scientific understanding of language and cognition with direct and important implications for clinical psychological practice. Yet, descriptions of RFT, written largely for technical audiences, have been, at best, curiously baffling, and at worst, maddeningly incomprehensible. In this book, Törneke has solved the puzzle of RFT! He summarizes the history of RFT, its key features, and its clinical implications with language that is user-friendly and easily understandable. I believe this book will make a huge difference for clinicians who wish to understand RFT and its implications for clinical practice. It also may be a useful learning tool for researchers and RFT experts themselves who wish to learn and see a beautiful example of how RFT can be presented clearly and comprehensively.
—Jonathan Kanter, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and director of its Depression Treatment Specialty Clinic

From the Publisher

Relational frame theory (RFT) is a theory of language and cognition that upends traditional cognitive paradigms and forms the foundation of today's cutting-edge therapies, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Learning RFT makes RFT accessible to clinicians for the first time and explains how RFT principles can be directly applied in clinical work.

Product Details

  • File Size: 664 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 1 edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G5Z7DA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,512 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This book is the perfect introduction to the concepts of Relational Frame Theory. It makes RFT easily understandable without simplifying the key concepts. It is not only clear but also extremely relevant to clinical practice and will also help researchers who want to better understand RFT.
I would recommend the reading of this book as a complement of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy manuals because it is of great help to develop a functional practice of ACT. By understanding the basic principles involved in ACT and Clinical Behavior Analysis in general, clinicians are better able to apply the techniques with their own style, while remaining consistent with the theoretical approach.
I would also recommend anyone who had difficulties with understanding the RFT main book (Hayes et al., 2001) to read this one as a first step.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Four years ago, when I first mentioned my interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to my cognitive therapy mentor, he said : "I know this very smart cognitive therapist -- IQ of 140 -- who attended a presentation on ACT and RFT. He said he couldn't make heads or tails of it! If this guy can't, said my mentor himself a very smart man, nobody can." This quip sums up a common view of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) the theory underlying the new Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

"Learning RFT" by Niklas Törneke, is about to change all that. It brings its subject matter down from the rarified spheres of theoretical jargon to the level of everyday experience and language. Illuminatingly illustrated by easy-to-grasp examples, the centrals concepts of RFT are made relevant to clinicians and anyone interested in how minds work. Technical terms are used sparingly and always supported by clear definitions. The arguments flow -- simple and never simplistic.

Niklas Törneke takes the reader on a journey of rediscovery of cognitive processes that unfolds like an adventure. From the starting point of learning theory and its philosophical foundations, the reader is invited to consider language and thinking as a relational activity. Törneke shows how this makes sense of many seemingly quirky phenomena like the difficulty to get rid of unwanted thoughts, memories or emotions or why metaphors are such powerful vehicles for new learning.

The book then moves on to rule-governed behavior, the unique human capability to regulate one's conducts according to verbal rules. Törneke shows us how powerful a tool rule-governed behavior is, and how it can also be a source of difficulties and lead us to the `dark side' of languaging and psychopathology.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
When I teach RFT to graduate students, I have been fond of saying that it is the quantum mechanics of psychology. Since reading Learning RFT, that statement no longer seems necessary. Dr. Torneke has taken this complex and esoteric behavioral theory of language and cognition and reformulated it into something sensible and accessible. Weaving relevant details throughout the work, he provides the reader with a step-by-step walk through the foundations and details of this progressive theory. Finally, clinicians have a digestible resource for applying RFT to their work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a health professional with a keen interest in ACT, I was interested in finding out more about RFT but daunted by the fact that it was reported to be such a complex area. This book is the solution. Although it did require careful concentration to read, the explanations are clear and comprehensible. I particularly liked the fact that all terms were carefully defined in the text. The index is also very good.
I feel I have a much better feel for ACT after reading this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any psychologist March 22, 2011
I consider Learning RFT to be a must-read for any psychologist who takes his business serious. With writing this book Niklas Törneke has created not only a bridge between basic behavioral science and clinical practice, he also succeeded in explaining one of the most important recent developments psychology has made since Skinner's behaviorism: Relational Frame Theory. In his book Törneke provides the reader a comprehensive overview of learning theory and expands it with a therapy-school overarching theory about human language and cognition, as originally founded by Hayes, Barnes-Holmes and Roche (2001). By doing this Törneke has made RFT accessible for every psychologist and especially clinicians (the original RFT book was unreadable for most professionals). Although RFT is a theory on normal human behavior, Törneke provides excellent clinical examples and even reframes existing therapyschools like cognitive behavior therapy and psychoanalysis in terms of behavior analysis.

As one of the organisers of the Learning RFT Reading Group on Facebook I would not only recommend buying this book, but also join our group in reading, asking questions, discussing and, perhaps most important, having fun reading it together with tens of other people ( you can find the group here: [...])
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential to all third wave behavior therapists February 2, 2011
Niklas Törneke has (once again) mastered the skill of writing a book that explains complex terms and theory in an easy-to-read manner. And this is being done without ever compromising the theory itself. RFT provides a post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition and creates a new link between traditionally diverse perspectives of behavioral and cognitive psychology. "Learning RFT" gives a thorough review of the theoretical and philosophical roots of RFT, a profound examination of relational learning and finally an indispensible presentation of its clinical implications. This book is not only a must read for all ACT clinicians, it is of upmost relevance to everyone interested in human language and cognition. This is an essential, thorough, comprehensible and very important book about RFT.
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