Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #256
CE Offered: BACB — 
Whose Job is it, Anyway?: How to Stop Passing the Buck and Start Evolving the Field Through Nurturing Supervised Experiences
Sunday, May 26, 2019
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Fairmont, Lobby Level, Rouge
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Sara Baillie (Trinity Christian College)
Discussant: Jennifer Klapatch Totsch (National Louis University)
CE Instructor: Sara Baillie, Ed.D.

The topic of field experience supervision has received growing attention in recent years, as evidenced by the continuously evolving BACB field experience standards and the recent special edition on supervision in Behavior Analysis in Practice. In addition to the exponential growth of new BCBAs functioning as supervisors and supervisees pursuing this supervision, there is also growing variability in the topography of training experiences and the capacity in which BCBAs function as supervisors. However, the field experience standards and the majority of literature to date on best practices in providing this supervision discuss the provision of supervision in a simplistic, supervisee-supervisor dyad. There has been little discussion of navigating complex and multifaceted supervisory relationships, from both the perspective of the supervisor and the supervisee, in service of producing optimal supervisee learning outcomes. In this symposium, supervisors and former supervisees will share their experiences in navigating these multifaceted supervisory relationships and the effect it had on their ability to provide and receive socially valid, effective supervision. We’ll conclude with suggestions for empowering both supervisors and supervisees in creating socially valid field experiences, aligned with Biglan’s (2015) recommendations to “make everyone’s environment more nurturing—less coercive and more caring, supportive of human development, and focused on doing what works” (p. 213).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): social validity, supervision
Target Audience:

current or future field experience supervisors; current or future field experience supervisees


The Move Away From University Practicum Options: How Will This Change Graduate Training Programs?

SARA BAILLIE (Trinity Christian College)

Large institutions, such as universities, can be compared to large, slow-moving barges. With established processes and procedures already in place, it can be near impossible to change the direction quickly. And yet, with the continuous, unanticipated changes from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), we have been expected to change our graduate training programs quite abruptly (in the context of how long it takes for such changes to be processed and approved by the governing institution). One such adjustment is required to meet the new field experience standards. With the upcoming removal of university oversight from the field experience standards, we have been compelled to think outside of the box to determine how we can continue to facilitate quality field experiences to our students. Looking towards other professions as models, this discussion will include comparisons to other professions and the role of universities in overseeing their training requirements, how the removal of university oversight from the field experience standards may impact graduate training programs, and details about how one institution has navigated these changes in order to continue facilitating socially valid field experiences for its students.

The Balancing Act: Providing Meaningful Field Experiences While Meeting Case Supervision Needs
JAMINE LAYNE DETTMERING (ReachABA, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Lindsay B. Rouse (ReachABA), Rosie Ward (ReachABA)
Abstract: Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) working in service delivery agencies provide case supervision to those individuals, such as behavior technicians, who are providing direct services to their clients. Often, BCBAs are also tasked with concurrently providing those supervisees field experience supervision. While there may be considerable overlap between field experience supervision and case supervision, the goals are fundamentally different. Whereas the goal of case supervision is directly related to facilitating effective treatment delivery and ensure consumer protection (BACB, 2014), the overarching goal of field experience supervision is to develop the supervisee’s behavior-analytic, professional, and ethical repertoires (BACB, 2012). The difference in these goals can create many barriers for BCBAs who provide supervision in this dual capacity. With resource, setting, and time constraints, it can be difficult to assess the supervisee’s current repertoire, prioritize goals, and arrange appropriate supervision activities, as is required by our ethical codes and field experience standards. While recent literature has suggested techniques for standardizing and streamlining this process, BCBAs often supervise multiple supervisees concurrently, each with different entering skill sets, at different points in the continuum of their field experience, and for varying durations of time. This presentation will discuss these barriers from the perspective of an agency supervisor and explore potential solutions to address those barriers.

The Trials and Tribulations of Providing Effective Training and Supervision as a Third Party Supervisor

Erin Abell (Garden Center Services; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), DANIKA MCGANDY (Gorbold Behavioral Consulting, inc.), Shannon Biagi (Chief Motivating Officers, LLC)

Consultative supervision models have developed out of necessity; in many instances, supervisees pursuing field experience supervision may not have access to a local BCBA, or the BCBA directly responsible for the supervisee’s clients may not have the capacity to provide field experience supervision. As a result, BCBAs sometimes act as “3rd party” supervisors, such as when a supervisee hires a BCBA to provide field experience supervision or when university faculty provide field experience supervision outside of traditional lab settings. While this model has increased the accessibility of field experience supervision for supervisees, providing adequate supervision and training in a consultative model has its challenges. It is often difficult to provide effective training and feedback due to the nature of this model, in which 3rd party supervisors may have little to no control over clinical decisions regarding the supervisee’s clients. In addition, when providing feedback to a supervisee in this model, it can be challenging to do so in a way that is perceived to be collaborative, as opposed to critical, by other supervisors involved. The consultative supervision model creates several competing contingencies for the supervisee, their direct supervisor, and the consultant supervisor, which can severely affect the efficacy of the consultative supervision and impact the social validity of the experience for everyone involved. By creating stronger contingencies for a more collaborative training model, both direct and 3rd party supervisors can more effectively support the development of their supervisees and improve delivery in our field as a whole.


The Social Validity of Current Supervision Experiences: A Student’s Perspective


While it is pertinent that students equip themselves for accruing supervision hours by fully engaging in their coursework, it is also imperative that students advocate for themselves when the coursework is not sufficient. In order to ensure that the supervision experience is well-rounded, it is important that aspiring Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) take an active role in this experience through seeking opportunities for further developing technical skills and generalizing environmental assessment and analysis to the behavior of their supervisor to ensure that the supervisor is filling the gaps that academic training could not. While it can be argued that the supervisor’s job is not to be their professor, the supervisor’s job is to be a mentor that guides the student through how to apply the coursework concepts to the task list and the clients receiving services regardless of when supervision starts, whether that is the first or last day of classes. In this session, the supervision experience’s benefits, as well as its drawbacks, will be addressed from the perspective of a former student and supervisee.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh