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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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #60
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Social Justice and Compassion in a Queer Context
Saturday, May 25, 2024
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center, 300 Level, Ballroom B
Area: DEI; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kaitlynn Gokey (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Kaitlynn Gokey, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: MATTHEW SKINTA (Roosevelt University)

Through the 1970s and 1980s, behavior therapists slowly transitioned – mostly – from offering interventions intended to alter a client’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Some, with the encouragement of those within the LGBTQ community like the late Dr. Charles Silverstein, realized that continuing research and clinical practice in this direction contributed to a climate of bias. Others failed until much later to recognize that the work was harmful to individuals undergoing it – some clinicians may still be learning this lesson. Conversely, behavioral strategies were slow to be advanced in the service of mitigating the effects of anti-LGBTQ bias. Funding and institutional support in this direction has also appears to have been slow, relative to the support of historic change efforts. How do we reconcile the goals of behavioral science that advocate for social justice and improvement of the human condition with its history of neglecting the perspectives and voices of marginalized people? How must our field continue to grow and change to reduce the likelihood of causing such harm in the future? Particular attention will be paid in this exploration of the relationships between behavior therapy, sexual orientation, and gender toward how ongoing bias in the field creates a context that maintains and supports harm in a global context.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, students, practitioners, researchers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe harms to LGBTQ people due to behavioral interventions; (2) list current behavioral strategies to mitigate harms against LGBTQ people; (3) demonstrate an awareness of how anti-LGBTQ bias in the behavioral sciences fuels continued sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts in an international context.
MATTHEW SKINTA (Roosevelt University)
Dr. Matthew D. Skinta is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and affiliated faculty in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University. He is board certified Clinical Health Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, a peer-reviewed ACT trainer, a certified trainer of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy, and a certified teacher of Compassion Cultivation Training. Dr. Skinta’s work over the past 15 years has been to (1) engage contextual behavioral clinicians to intervene in the functional elements of minority stress experienced by sexual orientation and gender diverse people, (2) to center the relational behavioral repertoires most harmed by bias and interpersonal rejection within LGBTQ communities, and (3) to consider the global impact of anti-LGBTQ animus within the behavioral sciences. His work in these areas, specifically, has led to being made a Fellow of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, and the American Psychological Association (Division 44). Dr. Skinta is currently serving on the APA-SSCP-ABCT Inter-organizational Scientific Task Force on the Iatrogenic Effects of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts (SOGIECEs). He co-edited Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities: A Clinician's Guide to Fostering Compassion, Connection, and Equality Using Contextual Strategies (2016), and wrote Contextual Behavior Therapy for Sexual and Gender Minority Clients: A Practical Guide to Treatment (2020).



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