Meet our speaker : Yvonne Barnes-Holmes

Relational frame theory (RFT)

Yvonne Barnes-Holmes is a highly accomplished academic and clinician who has made significant contributions to the field of psychology. She has over 20 years of experience in teaching, training, publishing, and presenting. Before co-founding Perspectives Ireland, she was an Associate Professor in Behavior Analysis and a Senior Research Fellow at Ghent University.
Despite her success, Barnes-Holmes had humble beginnings, and she never thought she would go to university. Her determination and passion for behavior analysis helped her overcome her challenges and achieve her dreams.
Perhaps because her background gives her a different perspective about mental health, Yvonne has always had a particular interest in complex and diverse cases as well as undertaking her clinical supervision. Whilst never deliberately setting out to create a new form of behaviour therapy, the results of her work are inspirational and enables psychology practitioners to work with greater adaptability and precision with their clients.

Growing up in Northern Ireland

Yvonne grew up in a large family in Northern Ireland that experienced violence and political strife. She was the youngest of 11 children, and she did not come from an academic or book-loving family. In fact, there were no books in her house when she was growing up! Despite this, she excelled in school and won a scholarship to attend a private grammar school, where she discovered a love for literature. Her sister struggled with alcoholism and had three young children, which added to the challenges of Yvonne’s home life. Yvonne’s experiences growing up in a difficult environment may have influenced her radical perspective and her interest in behaviorism, which focuses on the environmental factors that shape behavior.
Her early career was marked by a strong focus on developing and applying behavioral science research to address real-world problems. As a student and researcher she moved Universities several times, from Manchester to Ulster (where she worked as an intern for her future husband, Dermot) to Cork and then to Ghent in Belgium. She and Ciara Enteggart founded Perspectives Ireland in order to attain full control over their clinical work. Overall her work has had a significant impact on the field of psychology and has influenced the development of evidence-based interventions for a range of mental health conditions.

More about Process-based Behaviour Therapy (PBBT)

Process-Based Behavior Therapy (PBBT) is a new form of psychotherapy that focuses on the functional processes underlying a person’s behavior. PBBT works by fundamentally changing the relationship we have with ourselves and redirecting our behavior towards a more meaningful life. PBBT is flexible and emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship, client empowerment, and a focus on the present moment. It helps clients develop a more adaptive and flexible psychological repertoire that they can use to manage their behaviours, emotions, and thoughts in a more effective way. PBBT is a goal-oriented therapy, and the therapist and client work together to set specific behavioural and emotional goals that the client wishes to achieve.

An impressive academic contribution

Yvonne Barnes-Holmes has published over 150 scientific articles, book chapters, and books and has given over 500 presentations and workshops internationally.
As a behaviour therapist, she has an extensive track record in complex and diverse cases and in clinical supervision. She is the co-developer of Process-based Behavior Therapy (PBBT)TM, a new form of behavior therapy based on cutting-edge research in Relational Frame Theory (RFT).


Yvonne was interviewed by Colin Harte in June 2022 for an article published in the Association for Behaviour Analysis International (ABAI). You can find out more about her and PBBT on her website ,

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