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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #414
CE Offered: BACB
Using Testimonials in Marketing ABA: A Godsend or a Curse?
Monday, May 26, 2014
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
W185bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA/CSE; Domain: Theory
Chair: Jon S. Bailey (Florida State University)
Discussant: Thomas L. Zane (Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College)
CE Instructor: Thomas L. Zane, Ph.D.

The Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts provides a code of conduct for our field. One issue addressed is the use of testimonials to support a particular behavior analyst or treatment program. The Guidelines state, "Behavior analysts do not solicit testimonials from current clients or patients or other persons who because of their particular circumstances are vulnerable to undue influence." Although solicitation is disallowed, to what extent can and should behavior analysts use unsolicited testimonials? What are the arguments for and against doing so? Is it ethical to use comments made spontaneously and independently by consumers in order to market our services? This symposium will discuss the issue of the use of testimonials in behavior analytic practice. Presenter 1 will argue against the use of testimonials in any form, solicited or not, with the assertion that such use is demeaning to our field. Presenter 2 suggests that under certain conditions, testimonials could be used ethically, and those conditions will be discussed. Presenter 3 will discuss the ethics of marketing behavior analytic services, and the ethically sound strategies to promote the science of behavior analysis. Presenter 4 will discuss advantages and disadvantages of testimonials and what providers can and should do in this particular area.

Keyword(s): behavior analysis, ethics, organizations, testimonials

Effective Strategies for Marketing ABA Services to Consumers and Referral Sources

ROBERT F. LITTLETON JR. (Evergreen Center)

Since the science of behavior analysis was first used to treat individuals with emotional and developmental needs the field has had difficulty communicating the distinctive principles that make it effective. In the general public this is often due to an excessive reliance on jargon. Amongst professionals acceptance is difficult due to both conflicting beliefs and threats to self-interest. In most cases, a confluence of these factors limits individuals' access to ABA professionals holding the key to a better life. This paper will discuss barriers experienced by ABA professionals and suggest strategies to broaden public awareness and utilization of ABA Services


Ethical Marketing Alternatives

ANN BEIRNE (Global Autism Project)

Many behavior analysts are faced with particular challenges in the dissemination of the science in a world that is increasingly resistant. As pseudoscientific or antiscientific 'theories' and 'treatments' gain public recognition and popularity, there is a growing need to present behavior analysis (and behavior analysts) in the best possible light. If we are to maintain high ethical standards and a commitment to evidence based practice, how can we effectively bring the knowledge of behavior analysis methodologies to the general public? What are our alternatives to using highly subjective (and possibly misleading) testimonials? This talk will explore the ethics of marketing in general, as well as ethically sound strategies to promote the science of behavior analysis.


It's About the Science, Not the Person: On the Use of Testimonials/Personal Information in Presentations and Media

BOBBY NEWMAN (Room to Grow)

Many professionals struggle with ethically presenting information about their practice as behavior analysts. These ethical questions will be addressed in this talk. A stance of popularizing an accurate picture of the science of Applied Behavior Analysis, and one's own practice simply as an application of that science, will be described. The proper use of testimonials/case studies and how these should be presented will be described. Effective and ethical description of one's own practice and person in social media and public presentations will be discussed.


Ethical, Evidence-Based Practitioners Should Avoid Using Testimonials: Here's Why.

JON S. BAILEY (Florida State University)

A surprising number of behavior analysts are using testimonials to promote their practice. These glowing reviews by supposed consumers are designed to give credibility to the practice but in fact giveanalysts a black eye. While they may be allowed under some circumstances,othersbelieve, and this presentation portrays,that it is demeaning tothe field and reflects badly on self-proclaimed values as an evidence-based profession. When these colorful, questionable anecdotes begin to resemble the competitions',analysts need toreflect ontheir roots in the science of behavior and ask, Would Skinner be proud of us now?




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