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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Panel #383
CE Offered: BACB — 
Creating a Compassionate Context When Interacting with Parents, Supervisees, Students, and Colleagues: The Nonviolent Communication Approach
Monday, May 27, 2024
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Independence Ballroom
Area: CSS/OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Celia Heyman, M.A.
Chair: Celia Heyman (Capella University / FTF Behavioral Consulting)
KAREN A DEALY (Interactive Kids)

Since Taylor et al.’s (2018) call for compassion as well as the addition of “treat[ing] others with compassion” as one of the core foundational principles that behavior analysts use to interpret and apply the standards in the code (BACB, 2020), greater emphasis is being placed on fostering such practices. Further, in light of recent unrest within and outside of the applied behavior analysis (ABA) space, “compassion and “compassionate care” have become forces of both the social and natural sciences (Werntz et al., 2023). According to Taylor et al. (2018), engaging in compassionate services requires us to remove barriers and to relieve suffering for others. But how can this be done when we are engaging in uncomfortable conversations and disputes? While compassionate care is garnering much attention in the field, with an entire Special Issue in Behavior Analysis and Practice dedicated to its proliferation (Abdel-Jalil et al., 2023; Denegri et al., 2023; Rohrer et al., 2021; Reinecke et al., 2023; Tarbox et al., 2023), behavior analysts continue to struggle in professional discourse when perspectives differ. In an effort to resolve this conflict and foster our valued work toward providing compassionate care, a behavior-analytic account of the nonviolent communication (NVC) approach will be discussed. This panel will discuss how adopting an NVC approach can be compassionate in a variety of relationships such as consultant-consultee, practitioner-caregivers, academic instructor-student, supervisor-supervisee, interactions with colleagues, and on social media. The panelists will provide examples and non-examples of NVC and how using this approach can increase perspective-taking and facilitate connections. Challenges of using the NVC will be shared. Furthermore, the panelists will demonstrate that transforming judgment and blame into empathetic understanding allows solutions to be identified, thus meeting the needs of everyone involved (Rosenberg, 2003).

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Participants might serve in the following roles: - Supervising aspiring behavior analysts for the BCBA experience fieldwork - Consultants - Academic instructors - Practitioners working with families and other professionals

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Describe an overview of the nonviolent communication approach. 2) Define the behavior-analytic framework of the nonviolent communication approach 3) Discriminate the difference between evaluative, opinion-based, factual, feelings, and needs-based statements. 4) Describe an overview of how the nonviolent communication approach can be used when working with caregivers, students, supervisees, and colleagues.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh