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 #493
CE Offered: QABA
Diversity submission Mental Health and Chronic Illness: A Guide for Self-Compassion for Behavior Analytic Practitioners
Monday, May 27, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Independence Ballroom
Area: CSS/OBM; Domain: Translational
CE Instructor: Melissa Engasser, M.S.
Chair: Melissa Engasser (The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center, Inc.)
HEATHER ZIEMBA (The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center, Inc.)
MELISSA ENGASSER (The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center, Inc.)

Mental health and chronic invisible illness are issues that many practitioners deal with on a daily basis, yet little emphasis on having a discussion around these occur in the field of applied behavior analysis. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 2021, that “57.8 million people in the United States suffer from mental health conditions” and the American Hospital Association says that 133 million American’s suffer from “at least one chronic illness”. Based off this information, we can easily conclude that there are practitioners in the field of applied behavior analysis are not immune from these statistics. Unfortunately, these labels can be stigmatizing on a number of levels. At times, many with mental health and/or chronic illnesses may experience judgement on the ability to practice effectively by employers, clients that they serve, and colleagues. This panel discussion will focus on defining mental health illness, chronic illness and how to navigate removing the stigma around practitioners with mental and chronic illnesses. Concepts that will be explored will be: learning self-compassion by clinician’s with identified mental and/or chronic illness, advocacy in the workplace using the American’s with Disabilities Act to set accommodation’s, creating work-life balance, and boundary setting using tools such as the ACT matrix.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Prerequisite skills should include: foundations in acceptance and commitment therapy and self-monitoring.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Define mental health and chronic illness(2) learn how to self-advocate in the workplace for accommodations using the American's with Disabilities Act (3) Learn how to set boundaries within clinical practice 4) Learn to practice self-compassion through value identification using the ACT matrix.
Keyword(s): Mental-health, Advocacy



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