A Review of Ethics for Behavior Analysts by Jon S. Bailey and Mary R. Burch

By Thyer, Bruce A. | Behavior and Social Issues, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

A Review of Ethics for Behavior Analysts by Jon S. Bailey and Mary R. Burch


Thyer, Bruce A., Behavior and Social Issues


A REVIEW OF ETHICS FOR BEHAVIOR ANALYSTS BY JON S. BAILEY AND MARY R. BURCH (2005). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Inc. ISBN 0-8058-5118-6. 296 pp. S29.95.

All reform except a moral one will prove unavailing. (Thomas Carlyle)

If the reader chooses to delve into the arcane lore of the sociology of the professions, one will learn that there are a number of attributes which a discipline must demonstrate before it is usually designated as a true profession. Among these are having a recognized body of knowledge, a recognized course or program of advanced study, a formal code of ethics, and some form of societal sanction, usually in the form of legal regulation such as certification or licensure. The discipline of behavior analysis has made great strides in acquiring these accouterments of professional status during the forty of so years since its formal establishment during the mid-1960s. Initially offered through academic psychology and education programs, undergraduate and graduate degrees in behavior analysis are now emerging as independent programs in their own right. A formal accrediting program for degree-granting programs in behavior analysis was established by the Association for Behavior Analysis (see www.abaintemational.org) and a professional certification board for behavior analysts has been established (see www.bacb.com). A number of states now certify or otherwise legally regulate the practice of behavior analysis, and a formal code of ethics was developed for the field has been developed.

Bailey and Burch's Ethics for Behavior Analysts is another constructive step in the professional maturation of the field. Both authors are highly experienced practitioners and authors, and Jon Bailey alone has left an indelible imprint through his training several generations of graduate students, voluminous high quality publications, service in offices of various behavior analytic organizations, and as a role model par excellence.

Many codes of ethics are long on minatory statements, as in Thou shalt not ____. Ethics for Behavior Analysts is far more balanced, and if anything favors hortatory guidelines, as in Thou shall ____. This is perhaps understandable, given our field's preference for reinforcement over punishment, with the latter failing to provide guidance about what to do. Both of course are necessary, but the hortatory aspects of behavior analytic ethical guidelines provide such strong meat and drink that other human service professionals may find them indigestible. What, for example, is the typical counselor, social worker or marriage and family therapist to make of such stringent standards as:

"The behavior analyst always has the responsibility to recommend scientifically supported most effective treatment procedures" (pp. 65-66),

"Clients have a right to effective treatment (i.e. based on the research literature and adapted to the individual client)" (p. 66),

"We also have an obligation to avoid making false claims about our effectiveness and to ensure that any public statements are factual" (p. 192),

"Technically speaking, it is unethical to start an intervention without baseline data. And it is unethical to continue a treatment without taking more data to see if it was effective" (p. 212),

"You carry a burden to not only be data-based in your decision-making but to assure the client, client surrogates, and your peers that you have quality data (again, not selfreport, not anecdotal, not questionnaire)" (p. 213).

Whew! This is powerful language indeed, hortatory ethical guidelines which threaten to shake asunder the entire foundations of most of the other human service professions, those which value an office-based consulting model, with some form of talking as the primary independent variable, and various surrogates for actual human behavior being the primary dependent variables. And we sometimes wonder why behavior analysis has not made greater inroads into these other disciplines? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Review of Ethics for Behavior Analysts by Jon S. Bailey and Mary R. Burch
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.