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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #410
CE Offered: BACB
Behaviorally Approaching and Solving Ethical Challenges
Monday, May 25, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
204A (CC)
Area: CSE/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: David J. Cox (University of Florida)
Discussant: Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Joshua K. Pritchard, Ph.D.

Ethical and professional guidelines for behavior analysis are stringent; applied behavior analysis (ABA) often involves the delivery of services by multiple individuals, some of whom may not be certified and have varying experience levels. Because of this, ethical concerns that arise often involve supervisees or supervisors. Just as done with the behaviors of individuals receiving ABA services, behavior analysts must take a behavioral approach to analyzing and solving ethical concerns. Behavioral contingencies surrounding behaviors related to ethical challenges must first be identified before ethical concerns can be absolved using the best possible method. Responding to unethical behaviors without first analyzing their function or without first taking a behavioral approach in its solution may be an ineffective means at evoking more desirable, ethical behaviors by practitioners. As such, this symposium will analyze variables surrounding unethical behaviors and subsequently propose behaviorally sound solutions to common ethical scenarios encountered by clinicians in the field.

Keyword(s): ethics, performance management, professionalism

Behaviorally Approaching Ethical Challenges

TIFFANY N. KILBY (The Behavior Station)

A behavioral approach should be used when analyzing ethical scenarios involving the behaviors of supervisees or supervisors, just as done with client behaviors. A behavior analyst should not focus on viewing other practitioners as "ethical" or "unethical". Instead, just as done with clients, behavior analysts should focus on particular behaviors emitted by other practitioners. With that, the scope of what characterizes behaviors as "ethical" within the realm of behavior analysis services must be explored. This presentation will also assess common ethical scenarios that arise in supervisory relationships while providing behavioral services, and how to take a behavioral approach to analyzing such ethical scenarios. Relevant topics include: identifying function, determining potential antecedents and consequences, considering response effort. Taking these behavioral approaches could help practitioners with determining more effective ways to overcome ethical challenges. This presentation will precede a presentation about potential solutions for addressing ethical scenarios based on the behavioral approach suggested in this presentation.

Behavioral Solutions to Ethical Challenges
KELSEY BALLEW (Progressive Behavioral Science)
Abstract: In developing solutions to unethical behaviors exhibited by colleagues, employees, supervisors, supervisees, and even bosses, behavior analysts must use knowledge from behavioral principles. Many behavior analysts, whether newly minted or experienced, struggle with the correct approach to take when they are faced with ethical concerns, especially when the concerns are presented by someone in a more prominent position. It is our responsibility as behavior analysts not only to abide by and model ethical behaviors to those with whom we work, but also to adequately absolve unethical behavior observed, and to do so in a tactful, professional manner. Using behavioral technology to facilitate ethical behaviors and decrease the occurrence of unethical behaviors can lead to more effective and ethical services provided to our consumers. This presentation will propose behaviorally oriented solutions to the ethical scenarios presented in the first talk of the symposium. Solutions proposed will be based on the analysis of contingencies surrounding the engagement in both ethical and unethical behaviors.



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