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 #75
CE Offered: BACB
What Skinner Could Have Learned From Freud: Psychology Essentials for the Practicing Behavior Analyst
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 12-13
Area: CBM/PCH; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Lauryn Toby (LittleStar ABA Therapy)
Discussant: Patrick C. Friman (Boys Town; University of Nebraska Medical Center)
CE Instructor: Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D.

Recent criticisms of those providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy have shed light on areas where behavior analysts may be lacking when it comes to training and service delivery. For example, there has been an increased focus on the development of a “compassionate care” repertoire of skills for behavior analysts working with patients and families (e.g., Taylor et al., 2018). Survey data has suggested that behavior analysts may not be receiving adequate training in essential relationship-building skills that may enhance the level of care they are providing (i.e., Leblanc, Taylor, & Marchese, 2020). Similarly, behavior analysts are often criticized for poor collaborative and consultative skills, particularly when working with those in other professions (e.g., Critchfield et al., 2017). While these skills have not historically been emphasized in behavior analysis, they are prominent in the field of psychology. Thus, this symposium will acknowledge our historical and theoretical roots in the field of psychology and discuss the relevant and necessary skills from psychology that can serve to enhance our practice as behavior analysts.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Collaboration, Consultation, Psychology, Therapeutic techniques
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts within their first 5 years of practice, practitioners, supervisors, and senior leaders.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss the common criticisms of behavior analytic practice that can be remedied with increased knowledge of psychological techniques; (2) Outline 2-3 therapeutic strategies that can increase rapport building and treatment adherence with patients and families; (3) List 2 ways to promote more effective communication among various professional with whom behavior analysts might collaborate

Behavior Analytic Bedside Manner: What Behavior Analysts Can Learn From Psychological Therapeutic Techniques

ERICA RANADE (University of Louisville), Lauryn Toby (LittleStar ABA Therapy)

Behavior analysts are often required to work with a variety of individuals: clients, caregivers, and relevant stakeholders; however, very few behavior analysts receive training in basic therapeutic techniques from the field of psychology. According to the 2022 Annual Accreditation Report conducted by ABAI, only two of the nine accredited PhD programs in Behavior Analysis included practical training opportunities in mental health (ABAI, 2022). Similarly, of the 30 accredited Masters programs, only two included practical training opportunities in mental health or psychology. Therapeutic techniques can be used to establish and maintain therapeutic relationships and improve patient outcomes (Bachelor et al., 2010). These techniques can supplement and elevate traditional behavior analytic techniques, allowing practitioners to better conceptualize and plan for client intervention. A brief historical review of therapeutic techniques and their evidence base, including person-centered therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing, transtheoretical model of behavioral change, group therapy, and family therapy will be discussed. Finally, specific psychological therapeutic techniques that behavior analysts can use that combine the psychological and behavior analytic perspective will be provided, including methods for establishing therapeutic alliance, basic cognitive behavioral therapy skills, solution-focused therapy questions, motivational interviewing, and behavioral family therapy will be provided.


Better Together: Socially Valid Consultation and Collaboration Within Behavior Analysis

LAUREN LESTREMAU ALLEN (SUNY Empire State), Katherine Bellone (UT Southwestern Medical Center/Children's Health)

The dimension of “applied” requires behavior analysts to utilize the principles of behavior to effect socially important behavior change (Baer et al., 1968; 1987) that improve client quality of life. Effective dissemination of ABA is limited less by our ability in the field to assess or intervene using the principles of behavior and more by our difficulty in effectively involving others to promote a socially valid assessment and intervention process. Collaboration and consultation represent the bridge between our science of behavior analysis and its socially valid application with consumers – we are better when we work together. Yet, behavior analytic training and supervision often fail to adequately prepare behavior analysts to develop and sustain therapeutic relationships, engage collaboratively with others (Taylor et al., 2018), and explicitly teach consultation repertoires, and disciplinary centrism (Kirby et al., 2022) often alienates us from our prospective collaborators and partners within service delivery. Barriers relevant to effective consultation and collaboration including power and historical harms will be discussed. Guidance to foster relationships, promote effective communication, and engage in reflective, culturally humble behavior analysis will be discussed and Models of collaboration and consultation that can be applied with our clients, consultees, and other professionals will be outlined.




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