chapter 19A Dozen Practical Tips for ethical conduct on your first job Brittany English Caldwell College
Outline 12 PRACTICAL TIPS! • Choosing a setting or company • Working with your supervisor • Learn job expectations up front • Don’t get in over your head • Use data for decision making • Training and supervising others • Time keeping for billing and supervision • Conflicts of interest • Finding a “trusted colleague” • Touching people • Dealing with nonbehavioral colleagues • Sexual harassment SUMMARY QUESTIONS REFERENCES
Bailey & Burch, 2011 “As a student, thoughts about ethical problems in your chosen profession probably seem far, far away and much more theoretical than practical at this point.”
1. Choosing a Setting or Company • Primary considerations?? • Salary $$ • Location • Potential for advancement • Matching professional interests and behavioral skills BUT… WHAT ABOUT THE ETHICS AND VALUES OF THE COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION?
1. Choosing a Setting or Company • Behavior analysts are a commodity! • Ask questions! - the way the interviewer handles the questions may help you determine whether there might be some ethical problems with the way the company is run - • History of the agency – who founded it? • What is the overall purpose or mission? • Are there any political issues connected with the organization? • Are there any citations from recent state or federal surveys? • How many other behavior analysts are currently employed here? • What is the funding stream? • Who are the clients? • Who will you be supervising? • Will you be expected to attract and hire BCBAs?
2. Working With Your Supervisor • Ask to meet with your potential supervisor during your interview! • Things you want to learn about your potential supervisor: • Are they the reinforcing kind of person or negative? • Are they interested in working with you, or do they want you to do their work? • Is there any chance they are somewhat jealous of you? • Are they a “just get it done” person or a “Be thorough, get it right, we want what is best for the clients” supervisor? • What is their philosophy of management?
2. Working With Your Supervisor • You should make sure that you will not be asked to do anything unethical • Will you be able to do your work responsibly? • Will you have the time and resources to do a great, ethical job? • Will your supervisor will be there to guide you through troubles should the occasion arise?
3. Learn Job Expectations Up Front • Find out what your day-to-day responsibilities will be • 3 month grace periods • Many companies have their own way to doing things! • Ask for examples • Will you be working within your level of competence or whether you will be asked to take on cases for which you are not fully qualified? • MOST IMPORTANT! example
4. Don’t Get In Over Your Head • Be careful when taking on more than you can handle or taking on cases without some recognition of their difficulty! • DOING MORE IS NOT ALWAYS ASSOCIATED WITH DOING BETTER! • What do you do if a case is presented to you and you have no expertise in the area of predicted treatment? • Always work in your range of expertise. • Find a professional to mentor you • Consider taking additional graduate course-work.
5. Using Data For Decision Making • Data collection & Data analysis! • It is unethical to start an intervention without baseline data & it’s unethical to continue a treatment without taking more data to see if it was effective. (BACB guideline, 4.04.) • So…as long as you’re taking data and using them to evaluate the procedure you are ethically in the clear, right?... NOT EXACTLY! The Florida Association for Behavior Analysis
5. Using Data For Decision Making • There are data, and then there are data! • Data = reliable & valid • As an ethical behavior analyst you are OBLIGATED to be… 1. Data based in your decisions 2. Develop a high quality data collection system that allows you to address issues to reliability, validity, and demonstrates experimental control!
6. Training and Supervising Others • You are ultimately responsible for the programs effectiveness! – NO pressure – • True or False • It is ethical to give parents a written program and then ask “are there any questions?” • It is unethical to explain the program and then leave a written copy.
6. Training and Supervising Others • When training staff… • Don’t lecture, DEMONSTRATE! • Have staff demonstrate what they’ve learned • Provide immediate positive feedback! • Provide samples • Provide positive reinforcement on a daily basis • When giving negative feedback, remember, the purpose of the correction is to change the behavior, not punish it! “you know that I value what you do and that your work here has been excellent; now let me just point out something that is not quite right in this behavior program”
7. Time Keeping for Billing & Supervision ETHICAL UNETHICAL • keep precise records of each and every billable unit • Contracted for 20 hours = working 20 hours • Completed 20 supervision hours • Rely on memory…it can’t be that hard! • Contracted for 20 hours = working 16 hours … who will know?!? • Completed 20 hours but lets say 30! An essential part of professional ethics is ACCOUNTABILITY! Keep track of how you spend your time!
8. Watch For Conflicts of Interest • Would it be a good idea for a behavior analyst to take on a client they know?? • Home therapy environments • Participation in events such as outings, birthday parties, and other family events could impair the behavior analyst’s objectivity when it was time to give an objective account for the child’s progress CONFLICT OF INTERST!
8. Watch For Conflicts of Interest • Serving on a peer-review committee • where the individual who developed the case being presented is a friend or former student. • Owner of a consulting firm • the potential income from the case may cloud the judgment of the owner to refer the client to a colleague with more expertise in the area. CONFLICT OF INTEREST! BACB Guideline 2.0: “The behavior analyst has a responsibility to operate in the best interest of clients”
9. Find a “Trusted Colleague” Right Away • It is difficult to make ethical decisions in isolation! • Who is a “trusted colleague”? • Another behavior analyst who is easily accessible and who is not your supervisor or your employer. • Someone you can trust with deep thoughts • Am I really prepared to take this case? • My supervisor is telling me to do X, but it seems unethical to me. What should I do? • I think I’ve made a big mistake; what do I do now?
9. Find a “Trusted Colleague” Right Away How do we do this?? Suggestions…. • When getting to know your colleagues you should: • Size up the persons approach to ethics and make sure that his/her approach to dealing with complex issues appears to be sound, thoughtful, and deliberate, not glib or cavalier.
9. Find a “Trusted Colleague” Right Away • A good “trusted colleague” candidate is: • A BCBA with 5 or more years of experience • Someone who is careful in what she does • Has a good reputation • Someone who seems friendly and approachable
10. Touching People • Behavior analysis often involves getting up close and personal with your clients. • Common interactions between teachers & learners include: • Physical prompting procedures • Toilet training, tooth brushing, dressing etc. • Hugs or shoulder massages as reinforcement • Manual or mechanical restraints You may think but an unfamiliar person may take your affection as inappropriate
10. Touching People • In order to avoid accusation of physically inappropriate behavior toward a client behavior analysts are encouraged to engage in the following recommendations: • Always make sure to have another person (often called a “witness”) present. • Make sure the witness knows what you are doing and why you are doing it. • If you are involved in any sort of physical restraint use, make sure that you have been properly trained and certified to do so. • If you know of a client who has a history of false reports of inappropriate touching, be wary of close contact with that person unless you have done (1) and (2). • Avoid cross-sex therapeutic interactions unless there is absolutely no alternative (you will want to follow rules (1) and (2), however).
10. Touching People “The purpose of these recommendations is not to encourage you to become cold and impersonal in your interactions with clients but rather to promote some thinking about how your warm and affectionate behavior might backfire on you.”
11. Dealing With Nonbehavioral Colleagues • Most of your professional time will be spent with colleagues who are not behavior analysts. • As a part of a group, you should try to: • Be patient • Give them an opportunity to educate you about their field and vise versa • Be a good listener • Be a positive support person • Be honest about your shortcomings • Be open to other points of view
11. Dealing With Nonbehavioral Colleagues Scenario: if as a part of a habilitation team the consensus of the group is that your client should receive counseling. As a behavior analyst you have an ethical obligation to…. • Propose a behavioral alternative (BACB Guideline 10.01). • Raise questions about whether there is any data on treatment efficacy for counseling (BACB Guideline 2.09a). • If the treatment is implemented you have an obligation to request that data be taken to evaluate it (BACB Guideline 2.09c). • In extreme cases where you and your supervisor feel that you have done everything possible to have some impact but have been unsuccessful, it may be necessary to terminate your involvement (BACB Guidelines 2.14).
12. Sexual Harassment • Signs of a relationship with a client going TOO FAR! • Person acting very interested in your work • Sitting too close • Making exceptionally good eye contact and/or smiling a lot • An extra-warm greeting • A hug that lasts a little longer than it should • A touch to the arm or shoulder • Step 1: Monitor your own behavior closely to make sure that you are not sending out any improper signals that advances might be welcome. • Step 2: Implement what you know! • DRO, punish behaviors, put them on extinction, or bring them under stimulus control to reduce their rate of occurrence. sexual harassment - the office
12. Sexual Harassment Signs of a relationship going too far! Behavior analysts are specifically trained to be effective interpersonally • Person acting very interested in your work • Sitting too close • Making exceptionally good eye contact and/or smiling a lot • An extra-warm greeting • A hug that lasts a little longer than it should • A touch to the arm or shoulder • Using head nodding • Smiling • Warm handshakes • Strong, effective verbal reinforcers
12. Sexual Harassment • The best advice to new behavior analysts is to be … • Courteous • Polite • Charming • BUT IN ALL CASES BE PROFESSIONAL! • Think to yourself: if channel six eyewitness news was here taping this, would I still engage in this behavior?
Summary! When choosing a setting or company, ask questions & consider the ethics & values of the company! Learn about your potential supervisor & ask to meet with them! In a new position, find out what your day-to-day responsibilities will be! Don’t get in over your head. Doing more is not always associated with doing better! Base your decisions on reliable & valid data! When training and supervising others, don’t lecture, provide positive, encouraging feedback daily! Keep precise records for billing & supervision Watch for conflicts of interest Find a “trusted colleague” immediately. It is hard to make ethical decisions in isolation! When interacting with clients, be aware of how your warm & affectionate behavior may backfire on you. When working with nonbehavioral colleagues, stay true to the BACB code of ethics & remain open minded. Be conscious of and proactive when it comes to keeping professional relationships, professional.
References • Bailey, J. S., & Burch, M. R. (2011). Ethics for behavior analysts (2nd Expanded Edition). Routledge.
Guideline 4.04- Approving Interventions The behavior analyst must obtain the client’s or client-surrogate’s approval in writing of the behavior intervention procedures before implementing them.
Guideline 10.01 – Scholarship and Research. • (a) The behavior analyst engaged in study and research is guided by the conventions of the science of behavior including the emphasis on the analysis of individual behavior and strives to model appropriate applications in professional life. • (b) Behavior analysts take reasonable steps to avoid haring their clients, research participants, students, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and avoidable. Harm is defined here as negative effects or side effects of behavior analysis that outweigh positive effects in the particular instance, and that are behavioral or physical and directly observable. • (c) Because behavior analysts’ scientific and professional judgements and actions affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. • (d) Behavior analysts do not participate in activities in which it appears likely that others will misuse their skills or data, unless corrective mechanisms, e.g., peer or external professional or independent review, are available. • (e) Behavior analysts do not exaggerate claims for effectiveness of particular procedures or of behavior analysis in general. • (f) If behavioral analysts learn of misuse or misrepresentation of their individual work products, they take reasonable and feasible steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation.
Guideline 2.09a – Disclosures • (a) Behavior analysts disclose confidential information without the consent of the individual only as mandated by law, or where permitted by law for a valid purpose, such as (1) to provide needed professional services to the individual or organizational client, (2) to obtain appropriate professional consultations, (3) to protect the client or others from harm, or (4) to obtain payment for services, in which instance disclosure is limited to the minimum that is necessary to achieve the purpose.
Guideline 2.14 – Accuracy in Reports to Those Who Pay for Services • In their reports to those who pay for services or sources of research, project, or program funding, behavior analysts accurately state the nature of the research or service provided, the fees or charges, and where applicable, the identity of the provider, the findings, and other required descriptive data.