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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Symposium #194
CE Offered: BACB
Embodying the Change We Want to See: Orienting Towards Therapist Behavior Using Clinical Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 12-13
Area: CBM/VRB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Jon-Patric Veal (University of Louisiana-Lafayette)
Discussant: Ryan Albarado (Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group)
CE Instructor: David R R. Perkins, Ph.D.

A natural science approach to human behavior requires us to consider the role of the observer in our analysis of our phenomena of interest (Skinner, 1945; Kantor, 1924). In applied clinical contexts, this means including the therapist’s behavior in our analysis of client behavior. However, the preponderance of the research into therapist behaviors in psychotherapy has been oriented toward the efficacy of specific therapeutic approaches and protocols, or mediating constructs such as the therapeutic relationship (Horvath & Luborsky, 1993; Martin et al., 2000). In order to directly analyze the therapeutic interaction, what may be needed is a behavioral analysis of therapist behavior in terms of the contexts they create for client behavior in assessment and intervention. The papers within this symposium will examine several specific repertoires of therapist behavior that may hold promise in improving a clinician’s effectiveness in their work with clients: clinical note taking, clinical supervision, cultural humility, and the role of relational therapeutic narrative.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Psychotherapy Process, Supervision, Therapeutic Alliance, Therapist Behaviors
Target Audience:

Target audience might include clinicians, clinicians in training, students and those in applied behavioral analysis

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Identify two therapist repertoires that may be examined via note-taking. 2. Define cultural humility in the context of psychotherapy with gender and sexually-minoritized individuals. 3. Describe the commonalities and differences that the therapeutic narrative in psychoanalysis shares with contextual behavioral approaches to the therapy process. 4. Identify the ways in which an Interbehavioral approach to supervision in clinical work can improve aspects of the therapeutic process.

Note-ing Clinician’s Behavior: Targeting Clinical Processes Through Clinician Note Taking and Data Collection

ABBEY WARREN (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana Lafayette), Janani Vaidya (National Louis University)

Clinical tools for behavior analysts in applied and clinical settings facilitate multiple aspects of the therapeutic process. In particular, a clinician’s method of data collection or note taking serves many purposes, such as the legal documentation of services (Cameron & Turtle-Song, 2002), monitoring client behavior patterns and functioning (Presser & Pfost, 1985), treatment planning and goals (Cameron & Turtle-Song, 2002), and storing client data for the clinician to refer to in the course of their work (Presser & Pfost, 1985). Research in this area consists primarily of comparative studies on the utility, efficiency, and accuracy of various data collection techniques (Taubman et al., 2013; Wiarda et al., 2014). Although the current literature suggests that a therapist’s notes may have direct implications on the therapeutic process (Taubman et al., 2013), the empirical literature has not yet explored the ways that note taking and data collection tools function for the clinician’s behaviors when working with clients. This talk will review findings from a preliminary study on the effects of using note taking style as a means of intervening on therapist in-session behaviors. The implications of targeting clinical processes through note taking will be discussed and ideas for future research in this area will be explored


CANCELLED: What Was, Is: Interbehavioral Conceptualizations of Clinical Supervision

MICHAEL C MAY (Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group; Mandala House, LLC), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana Lafayette)

Behavior analysis is increasingly oriented to the application of functional perspectives to clinical supervision. Across the helping professions, however, research into the effectiveness of clinical supervision and its relationship to therapeutic outcomes continues to lag behind other areas of effectiveness research (Goodyear et al., 2016; Owen, 2015; Kuhne, Wiesenthal, & Weck, 2019). In addition, theoretical development of models of clinical supervision have stagnated (Falender & Shafranske, 2017). Given that clinical supervision is a universally-required aspect of professional clinical training across the helping professions, a model of supervision consistent with the philosophical assumptions of a natural science of human behavior is needed. Clinical Behavior Analysis can offer an empirically-supported approach focused on expanding clinician’s repertoires in the presence of context that occasion constriction of clinically relevant behavior. However, to date, behavior analytic clinical supervision has yet to receive a novel conceptual analysis through the lens of J.R. Kantor’s Interbehaviorism (Kantor, 1924). Building upon prior Interbehavioral analyses of clinical phenomena (e.g., Sandoz, 2020) and given the utility of the perspective for the practitioner, the present paper will examine the ways in which Interbehaviorism could promote behavioral clinician-scientist sensitivity and effectiveness in psychotherapy, via the supervisory dyad.

Cultural Humility When Providing Clinical Behavior Analytic Services for Gender and Sexually Minoritized Clients
BRAD MICHAEL PARFAIT (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana Lafayette)
Abstract: Gender and sexually minoritized individuals have a long-standing history of facing barriers to receiving proper mental health care due to their identity (National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011). A majority of mental health practices generated in the late 20th century were aimed at “curing” lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) individuals by changing their sexual or gender identity to fit with normative standards (Graham, 2018; Smith et al., 2004). Similarly, in the field of behavior analysis, older studies have utilized aversive techniques such as electric shock therapy to modify the sexual behaviors of LGBT+ individuals (i.e., conversion therapy; DeFelice and Diller, 2019). InMarch 2022, the ABAI clarified an official position to condemn the use of conversion therapy. And - there is still much room for growth. This presentation will explore the stance of cultural humility in the practice of treating gender and sexually minoritized individuals through the lens of building appetitive functional relationships with clients.

The Consideration of Narrative-Based Psychoanalytic Therapy Through a Contextual Behavioral Lens

DAVID R R. PERKINS (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Matthew David Andersland (University of Louisiana Lafayette ), Nicole M. Pyke (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

The differences between psychoanalysis and behaviorism (in all its forms) are so great and wide-ranging that it often appears difficult to know where to start. Because of multiple epistemological and language system barriers, it can be difficult for a consumer of behavioral science to examine what concepts (if any) are useful from psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Despite this, some clinicians with familiarity with both perspectives will assert that psychoanalytic processes can provide benefits that transcend its structural mentalistic framework. In the current talk, some of the therapeutic principles outlined in Roy Schafer's The Analytic Attitude (1983) will be presented. This version of psychoanalysis will be framed as the co-creation of an evolving therapeutic narrative, expanding the range of choices for the client. Some commonalities that this approach may share with some of the so-called "third-wave" behavioral therapies will be explored as well as differences. Possible directions of how to explore these convergent/divergent processes will be discussed, as well as a consideration of the relevance of asking such questions in the first place.




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