Chap 2 Core Ethical Principles
Chap 2 Core Ethical Principles
ABA 563 Ethics for Behavior Analyst
* Ethics comes from the Greek word- Ethos: moral character
* Defined by Merrian-Webster as: conforming to accepted
professional standards of conduct.
* The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of
human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics
* 1.0 Responsible Conduct of a Behavior Analyst
* 2.0 The Behavior Analyst's Responsibility to Clients
* 3.0 Assessing Behavior
* 4.0 The Behavior Analyst and the Individual Behavior Change Program
* 5.0 The Behavior Analyst as Teacher and/or Supervisor
* 6.0 The Behavior Analyst and the Workplace
* 7.0 The Behavior Analyst’s Ethical Responsibility to the Field of Behavior
* 8.0 The Behavior Analyst’s Responsibility to Colleagues
* 9.0 The Behavior Analyst’s Ethical Responsibility to Society
* 10.0 The Behavior Analyst and Research
* Koocher and Keith-Spiegel (1998) Outline nine ethical
principles for psychologists.
* 1. Do No Harm
* 2. Respecting Autonomy
* 3. Benefiting Others
* 4. Being Just
* 5. Being Truthful
* 6. According Dignity
* 7. Treating Others with Care & Compassion
* 8. Pursuit of Excellence
* 9. Accepting Responsibility
* “First, Do No Harm" -attributed to Hippocrates, a Greek
physician in the 4th century B.C.
* Commonly written as "Do No Harm" - this phrase appears in
the Hippocratic oath that is taken by physicians
* Areas in which a behavior analyst can do harm is:
1. Practicing outside their area of expertise
2. Not developing a responsible data collection system and
missing the significance of a behavior.
3. Not asking for the information necessary to perform ethically.
Staff members are not necessarily well versed in human
* Respecting Autonomy- to promote his or her independence or
* Basic procedures of Behavior Analysis are designed to do just
* Problems arise when it is determined that a person prefers to
keep another under his/her control.
* Autonomy can also bring risks that are not always foreseen.
* Autonomy in educational and business settings can produce
Teachers are reinforced by students who stay in their seats
and follow instructions.
Supervisors may desire that their staff just do what they are
told and "follow directions"
* The primary role of behavior analysts is to benefit others in
whatever setting or situation they may work.
* The behavior analyst needs to make frequent checks on
"who is the client?" in any given situation.
* “The Golden Rule” or the Ethic of Reciprocity
* For Behavior Analyst- there is potential for the use of
uncomfortable stimuli or stressful contingencies in treatment
* Need to Ask: “How would I like my mother or my child to be
treated in similar circumstances?”
professionals attain their reputation based on
the trust placed in them by others
* Being truthful & honest with clients, colleagues, and
administrators provides the basis for long-term relationships
* Don’t take credit that is not due to you.
* Many of the clients may not be able to effectively represent
Unable to get someone to listen to them
* It is the job of the behavior analyst to make sure that every
client is treated with dignity and respect
* Work with clients on acquisition skills to make sure that they
are able to voice or signal their needs to those around them
* Being mindful of the language we use to talk to or about
* Clients should be addresses by name in a friendly fashion
using eye-contact and a pleasant smile.
* As a behavior analyst if you respect the autonomy of clients,
work to benefit them, and devise programs that accord them
dignity, you will automatically be treating them with dignity
* Being aware of the latest research in the field and in your specialty
* Incorporating the most up to date
methods and procedures in your
practice of behavior analysis
* Subscribe to key journals in the field
* Attend your state association meeting / ABAI
* Watch for specialty workshops offered in your area
* Take graduate seminars
* The BCBA requires BCBA’s to acquire continuing education hours
* When treatments fail you must take responsibility, accepting blame
and make corrections to satisfy your client
* Behavior analysts do not begin their ethical training
* Developmental psychologists would argue that one’s ethical
standards are fairly set by the time a child ventures into junior high
* Personal ethical
situations confront people everyday
* Need for Code of Responsible Conduct
* It is the hope that behavior analyst will come to see
the value in adopting a set of responsible behaviors
that will advance the profession and provide respect
to this important new field of psychology
* Scenario # 1 – Respecting Autonomy
* Scenario # 2 – Being Just
* Scenario # 3 – Do No Harm
* Scenario # 4 – Benefiting Others
* Scenario # 5 – Being Truthful
* Scenario # 6 – Treating Others with Caring
* Scenario # 7 – According Dignity
* Scenario # 8 – Accepting Responsibilit
* Scenario # 9 – Pursuit of Excellence
Bailey, J.S., & Burch, M. R. (2010). Twenty-five essential skills &
strategies for the professional behavior analyst. New York: