The Psychology Department Welcomes Dr. Steven Hayes

The Department of Psychology is proud to welcome Dr. Steven Hayes as the 2017 Hildman Colloquium Speaker.

Dr. Steven HayesSteven C. Hayes received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from West Virginia University in 1977 and is currently a Nevada Foundation Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada.  An author of over 35 books and more than 500 scientific articles, his interests cover basic research, applied research, methodology, and philosophy of science.  He maintains an active laboratory focused on language pragmatics and semantic relations.  His recent applied research has been focused on the analysis of emotional acceptance methods in psychotherapy, where he currently has a million dollar grant to assess their impact with drug abusers. In 1992 he was listed by the Institute for Scientific Information and the American Psychological Society as the 30th “highest impact” psychologist in the world during 1986-1990 based on the citation impact of his writings.

Steve is also known for his organizational work. He has played a key role in starting two scientific societies: the American Psychological Society and the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. Steve is Past-President of Division 25 (behavior analysis) of the APA and of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. He was the first Secretary-Treasurer of the American Psychological Society, and is currently President of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy. He is currently co-organizer and co-chair of the Practice Guidelines Coalition, a national effort that is bringing together over 600,000 professionals and insurance companies covering nearly half the nation’s population into a partnership to try to develop empirically-based clinical practice guidelines. [Taken from Dr. Hayes' website:

The 2018 Hildman Colloquium is scheduled for March 30th at 2:00 in the Thad Cochran Ballroom at University of Southern Mississippi. Details of his talk are found below.

The Power of Turning Toward: Why Psychological Flexibility Matters for Clients and Practitioners Alike

Psychological flexibility is comprised of a small set of processes (acceptance, defusion, flexible attention to the now, perspective taking, values, and committed action) that are known to relate to the development of psychopathology and its complexity and chronicity, one the one hand, and to successful behavior change and treatment on the other. While psychological flexibility is best known as the model that guides Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, it is becoming increasingly apparent that flexibility processes are central to our understanding of a range of evidence-based treatment methods at the psychological and even the biological level. For example, psychological flexibility processes empower exposure methods, and help explain why they work. They help explain the impact of traditional CBT methods. They relate to clinicians’ willingness to use exposure and other evidence-based methods, and they help clinicians do their work with less burnout, stigmatization of recipients of care, and with a greater sense of personal accomplishment. The present talk will describe the science of psychological flexibility as a general model of behavioral development and change, and show why it matters to target these processes for change both for clients, and for the practitioners who serve them.


  • Graduate students in Psychology are invited to attend a talk entitled: Why Process-Based Therapy is the Future of Evidence-Based Care, scheduled on March 30th, at 11:00 in the Polymer Science Auditorium at the University of Southern Mississippi.  The era of protocols for syndromes is over. In this talk I will explain why this era ended and will consider the implications of Third Wave CBT and RDoC for the rise of Process-Based Therapy, which I will argue is poised to become the next major development in evidence-based care. The coming era holds out great promise for psychology, but only for the fleet of foot because very different kinds of research are likely to be important going forward.


  • Finally, Dr. Hayes has also been invited to speak to the Behavior Analysis Association of Mississippi's annual convention on March 31st in the Trent Lott Center at the University of Southern Mississippi. The the title and abstract of this talk are found below.  
Contextual Behavioral Science and Behavior Analysis: Opportunities and Upheaval

Behavior analysis has a history of having a role in the creation of concepts and methods that are ultimately not embraced by mainstream behavior analysis. In this talk I will cite some historical examples, and consider the current status of Contextual Behavioral Science (CBS), and its core concepts and methods. CBS is the largest and best-known current spin off from behavior analysis. It has developed some features (e.g., functional contextualism; a reticulated model of scientific development) that could be embraced by behavior analysis without much difficulty but perhaps the most distinctive feature -- -- Relational Frame Theory (RFT)  -- is more challenging. RFT is a functional, contextual approach to language and cognition that is is behaviorally coherent, broadly applicable, and well supported empirically, but it is also profoundly disruptive to traditional conceptions of behavior analysis. This, more than any other factor, explains why ACBS became a “spit off.” RFT is now impacting the core areas of practice and research in contemporary applied behavior analysis, and is opening the door to a wide variety of new applied areas, but 30 years after its development within behavior analysis it is still not considered part of the core of behavior analysis. Its clinical extension -- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – is largely within the scope of practice of BCBAs, but it too is not considered to be mainstream despite several hundred studies on its methods and principles. Whether mainstream behavior analysis will eventually utilize these developments is not yet known, but there are signs this could happen. In the last part of the talk I will talk about the upheaval and opportunity that would result, using the successful experience of CBS as a touchstone but also reflecting on changes within behavior analysis that will make this transition difficult.


For more information on Dr. Steven Hayes, please visit:

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