ABA Insights: A Humanistic Approach to Client Care

ABA Insights: A Humanistic Approach to Client Care

Written By: Lauren Broadwell, M.S., BCBA

The application of behavior analysis to humans took off with the publishing of an article entitled Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis. This article has served as guide to behavior analysts for decades. One of these dimensions is called, “Applied,” which indicates that behavior analysts must select goals and procedures due to their importance to society and clients, rather than to their importance to theory (Baer et al., 1968).

In addition, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board indicates that clients must be involved in treatment planning. This meaning that it should not be just the BCBA alone making treatment decisions, but that the direct client participating in sessions as well as their families must work together as a team to select appropriate treatment goals and procedures. Client choice is paramount to success within ABA treatment. BCBAs will work with clients and their families to identify appropriate means of assessing preferences of all parties involved in treatment (BACB, 2014).

At the start of a BCBA’s relationship with a family, the BCBA will work through an assessment process with the family to identify appropriate goals and procedures to work on during ABA treatment. The BCBA then forms a treatment team with the following members: the child receiving treatment, caregivers, RBTs, and themself as the BCBA. The selection of appropriate goals indicates that all members of the treatment team believe the goals and procedures are meaningful to the treatment team. This also indicates that the treatment team believes that the procedures are appropriate to achieve the desired goals and that all of the effects of the goals are acceptable. Should any member of the treatment team find any of these items unacceptable, BCBAs will work with the treatment team to adjust programming to meet the needs and preferences of the clients they work with.


Baer, D. M., Wolf, M. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1(1), 91–97.

Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2014). Professional and ethical compliance code for behavior analysts. Littleton, CO.