Today, Claudia Mármol (our President and BCBA) attended an online workshop that discussed different topics in Applied Behavior Analysis such as: Ethics Is Not for Sissies, Dealing with Difficult People, The Importance of Motivation in Interventions for Children with ASD, and Enhancing the Social Validity of Treatments for Severe Problem Behavior.

While all the topics were different from each other, they all had one thing in common: the application of behavioral principles in our everyday life. Below, I will summarize the most important key points discussed in the first 2 presentations, presented by Dr. Jon S. Bailey, Ph.D., BCBA-D.

Ethics is not for sissies, presented by Dr. Jon S. Bailey, Ph.D., BCBA-D
In this presentation, Dr. Bailey stressed the importance that “ethics is not for sissies” in that we as Behavior Analysts are confronted with daily challenges and we are bound to abide by certain ethical guidelines, but it is not always as easy as 1,2,3! There a lot of decisions that we have to make, often times on the spot, in order to assure that we are providing the best quality treatment to the clients and families that we serve.

Dr. Bailey outlined 7 different points that can make a case ethically difficult: Breach of confidentiality, Dual relationships, Violation of the client’s rights, Harm to clients, Conflict with colleagues/staff, and Legal issues/Fraud. He went on to provide several examples of difficult ethical situations and advised us to familiarize ourselves once more with our ethical guidelines. Dr. Bailey concluded the following: “Ethics is difficult, complicated, and risky! Being ethical can create conflicts with colleagues, clients, supervisors, staff, and government entities, which can result in loss of friendships”, but most importantly, abiding by our ethical guidelines is key to avoid all of the “drama”. So, when you are presented with a difficult situation and you are unsure if you are or are not behaving ethically, you can consult our guidelines, ask one of your colleagues, as well as an attorney to support your decisions when needed.

Dealing with Difficult People, presented by Dr. Jon S. Bailey, Ph.D., BCBA-D
In this presentation, Dr. Bailey discussed the different categories of difficult people that Behavior Analysts are daily confronted with. Some of these were: the bully, the drama queen/king, the complainer, the procrastinator, and the one who throws temper tantrums, to name a few. But he stressed how we as Behavior Analysts have the potential to analyze this difficult person’s behavior and understand what maintaining variables are in place, just as we would do with any of our clients. Dr. Bailey recommended that we utilize general ABA strategies in order to deal with these difficult people, by analyzing: “How did they get that way?”, “Can we avoid that person?”, and if not, “make ‘smart’ comments”. We then can bring their behavior under stimulus control by manipulating the environment, applying extinction on their behavior, using behavioral momentum, and any other consequences that would help decrease their behavior. Because remember one thing, if we can apply all our ABA principles daily at work, why can’t we apply them daily with others who are difficult to deal with?

The other 2 presentations had valuable information that will be discussed in another post. If you would like additional information about the presenters and/or a description of the workshop, please feel free to go to the following link: