I think it remains valid for two basic reasons. First, even though we now know that there is a need for a more advanced analysis to predict and influence verbal behavior we must not forget that all analysis does not need to be complete. As a matter of fact, no analysis is. Many times a simple analysis will do for a certain purpose. In many instances what you want to accomplish is well done with a simple respondent or operant analysis.
The second reason is that even when analysing verbal behavior in a way that needs an understanding of relational learning (RFT) this all builds on the classical principles. Operant and respondent learning is woven into relational learning.
- What means development of RFT in relation with Skinnerian psychology?
It over all means that we now have some good answers to some of the questions Skinner and his work never answered. One key area is this: How can rule governed behavior work? What kind of learning history gives rise to this behavioral repertoire, so central to humans? And hopefully this new understanding can advance research and applications. We build on Skinners work, as this is (for the most part) integrated in RFT. At the same time, of course, this new knowledge also corrects the Skinnerian position. Naturally Skinner was not always right about everything.
- Briefly, from your perspective which are the most relevant contributions of RFT? In other words, what has changed after RFT?
It advances our understanding of how humans can follow instructions (RGB) and the complex way we interact with our own behavior (the area of ”self”)
- How do you think a better knowing and understanding of RFT can benefit therapists in their clinical work?
It can help therapists to be more focused on principles rather than only on specific techniques. This is important especially when things are difficult in therapy. It also can help therapists to intergrate clinical strategies and techniques from different traditions, as a principle understanding can help integration. In the long run, a good theoretical understanding can help sort out what is important.
- What can you say to therapists and psychologists who have approached RFT and have found it too much complex and difficult to understand and have stopped studying it in depth?
First I would discuss what is traditionally called ”motivation”. For what would it be good to understand RFT (se above)? I also would say that RFT is not really as difficult as it might look at first sight. It rests on o few basic principles. It is more different than difficult, so you need to train yourself to approach something that in many ways is new, compared to our more common sense way of understanding human behavior. And for approaching something new and different you need time and perseverance. If you want to grasp it, just hang on and don’t give up! It will be rewarding in the long run!