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Individual Supervision for Behavior Analysts

Our team offers five recommended practices for an effective supervisory experience

Our team offers five recommended practices for an effective supervisory experience

Effective supervision of behavior analysts is critical to our growing field. Trumpet Behavioral Health has published multiple articles on the topic of supervision, serving as a thought leader on how to meaningfully invest in budding Board Certified Behavior Analysts, or BCBAs®.

Executive Director of Research and Clinical Standards, Amber Valentino, Psy.D, BCBA-D, and Executive Advisor, Linda LeBlanc, Ph.D., BCBA-D, in collaboration with Dr. Tyra Sellers of Utah State University, authored an article in the journal Behavior Analysis in Practice, in which they laid out five components of a successful supervisory experience. Dr. Valentino and Dr. LeBlanc are experienced supervisors, and believe that impactful relationships with new analysts are crucial to the quality of ongoing behavioral services, the advancement of professional development and the overall development of the field.

The foundation for successful individual supervision of behavior analysts

The initial establishment of an effective supervisor-supervisee relationship lays the groundwork for all other recommended practices.

The Behavior Analysis Certification Board, or BACB®, requires that both parties sign a contract in which the details of supervisory hours are agreed upon. Dr. Valentino and Dr. LeBlanc also recommend that the supervisor discuss his or her expectations with the trainee at their first meeting together, setting the stage for transparency and honesty.

Feedback plays a large role in supervision for behavior analysts. The establishment of a committed and positive relationship, as well as empathetic delivery of constructive criticism, provides both quality instruction and encouragement for the supervisee.

Further guidelines for supervision of behavior analysts

Once trust has been established in the supervisory relationship, the following four practices ought to be woven in.

  • Establish a plan for structured supervision content and a competence evaluation, using the BACB task list as a guide. The goal is to introduce the supervisee to a variety of situations, expanding their knowledge base for field application.
  • Apply ABA practices by using data, surveys and ongoing conversation to evaluate the effects of the supervision.
  • Incorporate discussions and applications of ethics and professional development into supervision. Most new BCBAs find that they are unprepared for ethical dilemmas in the field.
  • Continue the professional relationship post-certification, ensuring mutual support, networking and education in the field of applied behavior analysis.

Contact us at Trumpet Behavioral Health for more resources on supervision for behavior analysts.