Behavioral Relaxation Training: Clinical Applications with Diverse Populations, 3rd Edition

Duane Lundervold
University of Central Missouri
Roger Poppen
Southern Illinois University (emeritus)
John Guercio
Benchmark Human Services, St. Louis, MO
Sloan Publishing 2020
Paperback / 242 pages

Praise from Reviewers:

"In my career, I have found a handful of resources that I believe belong close at hand to every clinician, applied researcher, and student of human service fields. Behavioral Relaxation Training: Clinical Applications with Diverse Populations, Third Edition is one of them. I have always been very impressed with the simple elegance of BRT and its adaptability to the gamut of applications so well covered in this volume.

The reader is immediately exposed to a view of the range of applicability of BRT. Each chapter subsequently exposes the reader to a review of the basic components of BRT, its research and clinical history, means for measuring relaxation, rules for relaxation, and of considerable importance, the role of the trainer. Chapters also have relevant supplements providing additional details of assessments and measures and other relevant information such as Behavior Analyst certification.

The entire book is like BRT itself, simply elegant. It is easy to read, magnificently thorough without in any way being cumbersome, and at the same time, concise. It will be remarkably useful for clinicians and researchers to use it with a singular problem of focus, or with the panoply of disorders covered. It is a gift to clinicians and researchers"

—Dr. John R. Lutzker, Professor Emeritus, Georgia State University

"Behavioral Relaxation Training: Clinical Applications with Diverse Populations, Third Edition is a welcome update to a valuable clinical resource. It provides a rigorous behavioral conceptual and data-based methodological framework in a highly user-friendly manner, readily lending itself to practical application of the effective procedures to socially relevant behaviors. This latest edition expands the client populations and behavior challenges that are addressed, accompanied with supportive data.

The authors candidly note the varying strength of the supporting data for various specific applications of BRT and set the occasion for continuing research with the procedures. A really nice touch is the provision for each chapter of items from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board Task List (5th edition) that correspond to the concepts and procedures addressed in it. Further, linking the rationale and procedures for BRT to basic behavioral research as well as to work done in non-behavior analytic framework adds to this book’s value. As a person who has been using BRT in my clinical work for years, I welcome this expanded presentation of work in the area."

—Dr. Gordon Bourland, Trinity Behavioral Services, Fort Worth, TX

Preface  vii


About the Authors

Foreword by Peter Sturmey, Ph.D.

1. Stress and Coping  

Two Case Studies





BACB Task List (5th edition)

2. Relaxation Training: An Overview  

A Brief History and Description of Training Procedures

Theories of Relaxation

Relaxation as a Response Class


BACB Task List (5th edition)

3. Assessment of Relaxation  

Function-Based Assessment and Relaxation

Assessment of Training

Self-Report Measures of Relaxation

The Behavioral Relaxation Scale (BRS)


BACB Task List (5th edition)


4. Behavioral Relaxation Training  

Prerequisites for Training

Acquisition Training Procedures

Proficiency Training Procedures

Variations of Behavioral Relaxation Training

Focused Breathing

Issues That May Interfere with BRT

Modifications of the BRT Protocol for Diverse Populations and Individual Needs

Training the Trainers


BACB Task List (5th edition)

5. Neurodevelopmental Disorders  

Intellectual Disabilities (ID)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorder (SSD)

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Emotional Disturbance (ED)


BACB Task List (5th edition)

6. Pain, Anxiety, and Stress Disorders  

Pain Disorders

Anxiety Disorders


BACB Task List (5th edition)

7. Neurological Disorders  

Essential Tremor

Tourette’s Syndrome

Huntington’s Disease

Traumatic Brain Injury


BACB Task List (5th edition)

8. Where do we go from here?  

Basic Research Questions

Questions of Clinical Significance

The Clinician as Researcher


BACB Task List (5th edition)


A. Tension Self-Report Rating and Home Practice Record

B.  States of Arousal and Relaxation Scale

C.  Behavioral Relaxation Scale

D. Acquisition Training Protocol for Use with Trainers

E.  Pre-post Relaxation Distress Rating Scale

F.  Contract for Maintaining Behavior Change

G. Residential BRT Checklist

H. Caregiver Reclined Relaxed Behavior Rating Form

I.   Reclined Relaxed BRT Acquisition Training Protocol

J.   Written Criterion Tests for Behavioral Relaxation Scale Observers

Name Index  

Subject Index