Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Contingent Electric Skin Shock (CESS) Task Force

The ABAI Executive Council has appointed this task force to assess the use of contingent electric skin shock (CESS) in the treatment of severe challenging behavior in consideration of the well-being of the individuals served, the effectiveness of CESS and alternative interventions, and the ethical considerations.


Task Force Members



November 2021: The Council initiated the procedure set forth in the bylaws to consider a position statement on the use of CESS in the treatment of severe challenging behaviors.


January 2022: The Council confirmed participation of the task force members. The task force began its work.


May 2022: The task force will host a panel discussion to share its progress and obtain input from invited participants and members of the audience.


September 2022: The task force will submit a written report to the Council. The Council will review the recommendations of the task force and make further decisions as informed by that report.



The task force is expected to address the following questions in its report to Council.


  1. How is CESS used in contemporary behavior analysis? What are best practices for implementing CESS and fading it out of a treatment plan or removing it altogether?
  2. What are best practices for ensuring the safety of clients treated with CESS?
  3. For the type of behavior that is treated with CESS, and the conditions under which the behavior occurs, what alternatives to CESS are available?
  4. How effective is CESS?
  5. How effective are the alternatives to CESS?
  6. What are the costs and benefits of CESS to the clients and others?
  7. What are the costs and benefits of the alternatives to the clients and others?
  8. What ethical issues are raised by CESS that distinguish it from the alternatives?
  9. How are the ethical issues raised by CESS addressed in contemporary behavior analysis?


Member Input

To share information or suggestions with the task force, please use the ABAI member input form here. The input form is available to all members of ABAI. Please do not contact members of the task force through their personal or professional email accounts.



As it conducts its work, the task force will share its bibliography here, updating it from time to time. If you would like to suggest additions to the bibliography, please submit them using the input form below.


CESS-Related Events

Three CESS-related events were presented at that 2022 ABAI Annual Convention in Boston. We regret that our limited space availability and the fire code restrictions did not permit all those interested to watch the presentations live. In response to attendee inquiries, we are offering access to the session recordings for all convention registrants and current ABAI members. To see details of the events and their videos, please click the link of the relevant event below. 


You must be a current ABAI member or a 2022 convention registrant to view the session recordings.


Modifed by Eddie Soh