The Inflexahex Model in ACT: Clear Values vs. Pliance, Avoidant Tracking, and Problematic Augmenting
- This is just a primer on pliance, tracking and augmenting and how each one can contribute to inflexibility.
- Dominance of pliance happens when people engage in inflexible behavior because of how society or other people might mete out the contingencies on following through on certain rules.
- Avoidant tracking is when people get the natural reinforcement for following certain rules, but might also lead to inflexibility.
- Problematic augmenting is when words are used to alter the reinforcing or punishing contingencies.
- Pliance, tracking and augmenting can be clinically relevant and have an impact on valued living.
In this training for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy case conceptualization, we’ll look at the converse relationship between values and dominance of pliance, avoidant tracking and problematic augmenting.
Now, let’s define these three jargon terms from Relational Frame Theory’s literature – pliance, tracking and augmenting. These three are all types of rule-governed behavior. And please understand that this is just a simple primer on this topic. This training is just attempting to help introduce the very basics of these topics so that you can use them in case conceptualization. Further reading and supervision are certainly required to gain mastery of these topics. Rule-governed behavior is a Skinnerian term when he was highlighting the difference between how people learn about the environment from direct contingencies and how people learn and are influenced by learning about the environment through language. There are many complex but useful details about how to capitalize on language in the RFT literature and in Skinner’s writings but let’s put focus on these three areas of rule-governed language behavior. Pliance, tracking and augmenting can all be observed in session and can be useful in case conceptualization in ACT.
Let’s start with pliance. This is a type of “rule-governed behavior under the control of apparently socially mediated consequences for a correspondence between the rule and relevant behavior.” That’s from Hayes, Zettle and Rosenfarb 1989. Now, that is as complex as we’ll go with these definitions.
Hayes, S. C., Zettle, R. D., & Rosenfarb, I. (1989). Rule-following. In S. C. Hayes (Ed.), Rule-governed behavior: Cognition, contingencies, and instructional control (pp. 191-220). New York, NY, US: Plenum Press.