Attached are the directions for the Power Point Presentation instruction.
I will also attach a guide to help guide with the power point presentation to be broken down into slides
DECISION MAKING PROJECT
O v e r v i e w
In this course, you will complete a project on ethical decision making. The result will be in the form of a
presentation. This project is due in Module 8, so that students can share their presentation in the last class.
Rosenberg and Schwartz spearheaded the movement to a decision-making process that the 2022 Ethical
Code for Behavior Analysts adopted. As you move through the course, be thinking about how the topics
and codes may present a “gray” area to decipher when discerning between what is ethically right and
what is ethically wrong.
For this project, you will either:
• Report a real-life ethical dilemma you or a colle ague have experienced
• Create an original ethical dilemma
Use the Rosenberg and Schwartz article and address Steps 1 – 3 (see Figure 1). You will present this
process via a PPT presentation (or similar software, such as Keynote) in class. Those unable to present in
live class will be required to use the record function on PPT (or other desktop recording software) and
share with your instructor at least 24 hours before the Module 9 virtual class.
Dire c t ions:
Be sure to be familiar with the decision-making process. Although this assignment is presented at this time,
it is best to continue to draft ideas and scenarios until you are exposed to most of the content. Once you
feel prepared, write a clear and well-defined scenario. From there, you will follow the decision-making
process and create a PPT presentation with at least the following slides (you may add slides, if needed):
1. Title Slide
● Should include your name and general title of the discussion (e.g., Decision
Making Guide to conflicts of interest)
2. Scenario Slide
● While PPT slides should not typically contain excess verbiage, it will be necessary to paste
your entire scenario onto this slide. The scenario should present an obvious ethical
dilemma with specific contextual information, such as important characteristics of the
individual, setting, relevant relationships between individuals, etc. that will allow
adequate examination of the scenario.
DECISION MAKING PROJECT
● Example (used throughout the instructions):
● Parents ask their ABA provider, Arya, to coach their 6-year-old with down
syndrome to learn how to swim. The BCBA is a certified swimming instructor on
the weekends and has experience training individuals with varying intellectual
abilities. The family lives in Hawaii (mom is a professional surfer and the father
works for the local aquarium) and is concerned for their child’s lack of water
safety skills and a lack of providers in this context. The beach, animals, and
spending time with family are all highly preferred for the learner. Should Arya
enter the dual relationship?
3. Step 1: Why does this trigger your ethical radar?
● Be sure to follow the prompts in step 1, identifying the dilemma, the possible
guiding BACB code, and any personal values or biases you bring to the scenario.
● It is fine to use more than one slide, if necessary.
● Despite being one of the most qualified swim instructors for this population,
the swim coach would be entering a dual relationship with the family (BACB
● Arya’s behavior analytic training and background has instilled adherence
to the Code and the BA verbal community has cautioned against multiple
relationships with the rationale that it could impair objectivity and blur
● Arya also wants to advance values, ethics, and principles of the
4. Step 2: Brainstorm Solutions
● Derive at least (2) different conclusions, one based solely on the code and
another based on the context of the situation
● BACB Code 1.11
“. . . behavior analysts avoid entering into or creating
”“. . . seek to resolve the multiple relationship”
DECISION MAKING PROJECT
● Other solution
Honor the request under specific conditions designed for the protection of the
learner, the BCBA, and the profession (i.e., clear delineation and definition of
both roles, transparent and well-documented billing procedures).
Can still adhere to code 1.11 “behavior analysts develop appropriate safeguards
to identify and avoid conflicts of interest in compliance with the Code and
develop a plan to eventually resolve the multiple relationship. Behavior analysts
document all actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes. ”
5. Step 3: Evaluate the Solutions
● Compare and contrast your two solutions and highlight at least 3 – 5 pros and cons for
each solution. Consider any relevant variables listed in Figure 1, such as safety, dignity,
outcomes, relationships, culture, etc.
● Dual relationship is avoided.
● Relationship with the parents may be harmed
● Missed opportunity to disseminate and expand profession’s reach
● Child still without skills to swim
● Dual relationship is entered
● Risk of impaired objectivity
● Role confusion
● Unethical billing possibilities
● Socially valid
● Opportunities for intersection of interventions addressing safety,
independence, and communication
● Select the outcome you chose, highlighting the key elements for your decision.
Whether the presentation is recorded or live, it is expected that the presenter will speak clearly, so
that all words are audible. It is also expected that the presenter will be prepared and articulate the
information on the slides in a smooth and controlled manner (i.e., deliver pertinent information
without long pauses or repetition of filler words).
DECISION MAKING PROJECT
Criteria 20 Points 10 Points 0 Points
Presentation Speaker was audible
Speaker was either
articulate, but not
Speaker was neither
audible or articulate.
If assignment was not
submitted in time for
live lecture, students
will receive a “0” in
The section was
present and the
author included a
relevant title and
The section was
present, but the
either the title or
The section was not
present or the author
omitted all aspects of
Scenario Slide The scenario was well
defined, including all
The scenario was
defined, but some
The scenario was not
well defined, missing
required to evaluate
Step 1 Slide The slide presented a
explanation of the
the relevant BACB
code, and conveyed
personal values or
biases related to the
The slide was present
but the author only
The slide was either
not present or only
Step 2 Slide The slide was present
and identified a BACB
Code related solution
and an alternative
The slide was
present, but was
missing 1/2 required
The slide was either not
present or did not
address any required
Step 3 Slide The slide was present
and listed at least 3 – 5
pros or cons to each
The slide was
present, but only
listed 2 pros or cons
on one of the
The slide was either not
present or did not
provide pros or cons to
EthicalDecision Discussion Guide
Date of Discussion:
Please briefly describe the ethical dilemma:
BACB® Ethics Code items to consider (Provide the specific item number and the title of the item):
What are the facts that we know about the situation at this time?
What additional questions do we need to ask or information do we need to collect in order to make this
decision in the most informed manner possible?
List all parties who may be affected by decisions made in this situation.
Which party holds the most power?
Which party is the most vulnerable?
Who is the ultimate client we are serving?
What are the cultural considerations that must be made, if any, based upon the parties involved?
For each party involved, provide the desired outcome from each parties’ unique perspective.
Party Desired Outcome (In an ideal world, what would this party want in this situation?)
Based upon the information above, determine 3 potential courses of action that maximize the number
of parties whose desired outcomes can be met, with priority on the most vulnerable and the ultimate
client, while staying within the confines of the BACB® Professional and Ethical Compliance Code.
Describe the pros and cons of each potential action.
Potential Action 1 Pros Cons
Potential Action 2 Pros Cons
Potential Action 3 Pros Cons
Finalizing the Ethical Decision Action Plan
Based upon the preceding analysis:
Given the information above, which course of action would you take at this time?
� 1 � 2 � 3
How will you gather any additional information/training/experience/supervision necessary to support
your final decision and action plan?
Finally, outline your next steps.
# Action Step
Ethics Code for
The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (Code) replaces the Professional and Ethical
Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (2014). All BCBA and BCaBA applicants
and certificants are required to adhere to the Code effective January 1, 2022.
This document should be referenced as: Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2020). Ethics code for behavior analysts.
Littleton, CO: Author.
Copyright © 2020, BACB®, All rights reserved.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 2Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Scope of the Code ……………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Core Principles …………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Application of the Code ……………………………………………………………………………… 5
Enforcement of the Code …………………………………………………………………………… 6
Section 1—Responsibility as a Professional ……………………………………………… 9
1.01 Being Truthful ………………………………………………………………………………. 9
1.02 Conforming with Legal and Professional Requirements……….. 9
1.03 Accountability……………………………………………………………………………… 9
1.04 Practicing within a Defined Role ………………………………………………. 9
1.05 Practicing within Scope of Competence ………………………………… 9
1.06 Maintaining Competence ………………………………………………………….. 9
1.07 Cultural Responsiveness and Diversity …………………………………… 9
1.08 Nondiscrimination ………………………………………………………………………. 9
1.09 Nonharassment ………………………………………………………………………….. 9
1.10 Awareness of Personal Biases and Challenges ……………………… 9
1.11 Multiple Relationships ………………………………………………………………… 10
1.12 Giving and Receiving Gifts ……………………………………………………….. 10
1.13 Coercive and Exploitative Relationships ………………………………… 10
1.14 Romantic and Sexual Relationships…………………………………………. 10
1.15 Responding to Requests …………………………………………………………… 10
1.16 Self-Reporting Critical Information …………………………………………… 10
Section 2—Responsibility in Practice ……………………………………………………… 10
2.01 Providing Effective Treatment…………………………………………………. 10
2.02 Timeliness ………………………………………………………………………………… 10
2.03 Protecting Confidential Information ………………………………………. 10
2.04 Disclosing Confidential Information …………………………………………11
2.05 Documentation Protection and Retention ………………………………11
2.06 Accuracy in Service Billing and Reporting ……………………………..11
2.07 Fees …………………………………………………………………………………………….11
2.08 Communicating About Services ………………………………………………11
2.09 Involving Clients and Stakeholders …………………………………………11
2.10 Collaborating with Colleagues ………………………………………………….11
2.11 Obtaining Informed Consent ………………………………………………………11
2.12 Considering Medical Needs ……………………………………………………..12
2.13 Selecting, Designing, and Implementing Assessments ………..12
2.14 Selecting, Designing, and Implementing Behavior-
Change Interventions ……………………………………………………………………12
2.15 Minimizing Risk of Behavior-Change Interventions ……………….12
2.16 Describing Behavior-Change Interventions
Before Implementation …………………………………………………………………12
2.17 Collecting and Using Data …………………………………………………………12
2.18 Continual Evaluation of the Behavior-Change Intervention ….12
2.19 Addressing Conditions Interfering with Service Delivery ……..12
Section 3—Responsibility to Clients and Stakeholders ………………………….13
3.01 Responsibility to Clients…………………………………………………………….13
3.02 Identifying Stakeholders …………………………………………………………..13
3.03 Accepting Clients………………………………………………………………………13
3.04 Service Agreement …………………………………………………………………..13
3.05 Financial Agreements ………………………………………………………………13
3.06 Consulting with Other Providers ……………………………………………..13
3.07 Third-Party Contracts for Services …………………………………………..13
3.08 Responsibility to the Client with Third-Party Contracts
for Services …………………………………………………………………………………….13
3.09 Communicating with Stakeholders About Third-Party
Contracted Services ……………………………………………………………………..14
3.10 Limitations of Confidentiality …………………………………………………….14
3.11 Documenting Professional Activity ……………………………………………14
3.12 Advocating for Appropriate Services ………………………………………14
3.13 Referrals ………………………………………………………………………………………14
3.14 Facilitating Continuity of Services …………………………………………….14
3.15 Appropriately Discontinuing Services ……………………………………..14
3.16 Appropriately Transitioning Services ……………………………………….14
Section 4—Responsibility to Supervisees and Trainees ………………………..15
4.01 Compliance with Supervision Requirements ………………………….15
4.02 Supervisory Competence ………………………………………………………..15
4.03 Supervisory Volume …………………………………………………………………15
4.04 Accountability in Supervision …………………………………………………..15
4.05 Maintaining Supervision Documentation ……………………………….15
4.06 Providing Supervision and Training ………………………………………..15
4.07 Incorporating and Addressing Diversity …………………………………15
4.08 Performance Monitoring and Feedback ………………………………..15
4.09 Delegation of Tasks ………………………………………………………………….15
4.10 Evaluating Effects of Supervision and Training ………………………16
4.11 Facilitating Continuity of Supervision ………………………………………..16
4.12 Appropriately Terminating Supervision ……………………………………16
Section 5—Responsibility in Public Statements ………………………………………16
5.01 Protecting the Rights of Clients, Stakeholders,
Supervisees, and Trainees …………………………………………………………..16
5.02 Confidentiality in Public Statements ……………………………………….16
5.03 Public Statements by Behavior Analysts………………………………..16
5.04 Public Statements by Others …………………………………………………..16
5.05 Use of Intellectual Property ……………………………………………………..16
5.06 Advertising Nonbehavioral Services ……………………………………..16
5.07 Soliciting Testimonials from Current Clients
for Advertising ………………………………………………………………………………. 17
5.08 Using Testimonials from Former Clients for Advertising …….. 17
5.09 Using Testimonials for Nonadvertising Purposes ………………… 17
5.10 Social Media Channels and Websites …………………………………….. 17
5.11 Using Digital Content in Public Statements …………………………….. 17
Section 6—Responsibility in Research …………………………………………………….. 17
6.01 Conforming with Laws and Regulations in Research ……………. 17
6.02 Research Review ……………………………………………………………………… 17
6.03 Research in Service Delivery ………………………………………………….. 17
6.04 Informed Consent in Research ……………………………………………….18
6.05 Confidentiality in Research………………………………………………………18
6.06 Competence in Conducting Research …………………………………..18
6.07 Conflict of Interest in Research and Publication ……………………18
6.08 Appropriate Credit ……………………………………………………………………18
6.09 Plagiarism …………………………………………………………………………………..18
6.10 Documentation and Data Retention in Research …………………..18
6.11 Accuracy and Use of Data …………………………………………………………18
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 3Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
As a diverse group of professionals who work in a variety of practice areas, behavior analysts deliver applied behavior
analysis (ABA) services to positively impact lives. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) exists to meet the
credentialing needs of these professionals and relevant stakeholders (e.g., licensure boards, funders) while protecting ABA
consumers by establishing, disseminating, and managing professional standards. The BACB facilitates ethical behavior in the
profession through its certification eligibility and maintenance requirements, by issuing the ethics standards described in this
document, and by operating a system for addressing professional misconduct.
The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (Code) guides the professional activities of behavior analysts over whom the BACB
has jurisdiction (see Scope of the Code below). The Code also provides a means for behavior analysts to evaluate their own
behavior and for others to assess whether a behavior analyst has violated their ethical obligations. An introduction section
describes the scope and application of the Code, its core principles, and considerations for ethical decision making. The core
principles are foundational concepts that should guide all aspects of a behavior analyst’s work. The introduction is followed
by a glossary that includes definitions of technical terms used in the Code. The final section includes the ethics standards,
which are informed by the core principles. The standards are organized into six sections: 1) Responsibility as a Professional,
2) Responsibility in Practice, 3) Responsibility to Clients and Stakeholders, 4) Responsibility to Supervisees and Trainees, 5)
Responsibility in Public Statements, and 6) Responsibility in Research.
Scope of the Code
The Code applies to all individuals who hold Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior
Analyst® (BCaBA®) certification and all individuals who have completed an application for BCBA or BCaBA certification. For the
sake of efficiency, the term “behavior analyst” is used throughout this document to refer to those who must act in accordance
with the Code. The BACB does not have separate jurisdiction over organizations or corporations.
The Code applies to behavior analysts in all of their professional activities, including direct service delivery, consultation,
supervision, training, management, editorial and peer-review activities, research, and any other activity within the ABA
profession. The Code applies to behavior analysts’ professional activities across settings and delivery modes (e.g., in person;
in writing; via phone, email, text message, video conferencing). Application of the Code does not extend to behavior analysts’
personal behavior unless it is determined that the behavior clearly poses a potential risk to the health and safety of clients,
stakeholders, supervisees, or trainees.
Specific terms are defined in the Glossary section; however, two definitions are provided here because they are
frequently used in the Core Principles section.
Client: The direct recipient of the behavior analyst’s services. At various times during service provision, one or
more stakeholders may simultaneously meet the definition of client (e.g., the point at which they receive direct
training or consultation). In some contexts, the client might be a group of individuals (e.g., with organizational
behavior management services).
Stakeholder: An individual, other than the client, who is impacted by and invested in the behavior analyst’s
services (e.g., parent, caregiver, relative, legally authorized representative, collaborator, employer, agency or
institutional representative, licensure board, funder, third-party contractor for services).
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 4Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Four foundational principles, which all behavior analysts should strive to embody, serve as the framework for the ethics
standards. Behavior analysts should use these principles to interpret and apply the standards in the Code. The four core
principles are that behavior analysts should: benefit others; treat others with compassion, dignity, and respect; behave with
integrity; and ensure their own competence.
1. Benefit Others. Behavior analysts work to maximize
benefits and do no harm by:
• Protecting the welfare and rights
of clients above all others
• Protecting the welfare and rights of
other individuals with whom they
interact in a professional capacity
• Focusing on the short- and long-term
effects of their professional activities
• Actively identifying and addressing the potential
negative impacts of their own physical and
mental health on their professional activities
• Actively identifying potential and actual conflicts
of interest and working to resolve them in
a manner that avoids or minimizes harm
• Actively identifying and addressing factors
(e.g., personal, financial, institutional, political,
religious, cultural) that might lead to conflicts
of interest, misuse of their position, or negative
impacts on their professional activities
• Effectively and respectfully collaborating
with others in the best interest of those
with whom they work and always
placing clients’ interests first
2. Treat Others with Compassion, Dignity, and
Respect. Behavior analysts behave toward others
with compassion, dignity, and respect by:
• Treating others equitably, regardless of factors
such as age, disability, ethnicity, gender
expression/identity, immigration status, marital/
relationship status, national origin, race,
religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic
status, or any other basis proscribed by law
• Respecting others’ privacy and confidentiality
• Respecting and actively promoting
clients’ self-determination to the best of
their abilities, particularly when providing
services to vulnerable populations
• Acknowledging that personal choice in service
delivery is important by providing clients
and stakeholders with needed information
to make informed choices about services
3. Behave with Integrity. Behavior analysts fulfill
responsibilities to their scientific and professional
communities, to society in general, and to the
communities they serve by:
• Behaving in an honest and trustworthy manner
• Not misrepresenting themselves,
misrepresenting their work or others’
work, or engaging in fraud
• Following through on obligations
• Holding themselves accountable for their work
and the work of their supervisees and trainees,
and correcting errors in a timely manner
• Being knowledgeable about and upholding
BACB and other regulatory requirements
• Actively working to create professional
environments that uphold the core
principles and standards of the Code
• Respectfully educating others about
the ethics requirements of behavior
analysts and the mechanisms for
addressing professional misconduct
4. Ensure their Competence. Behavior analysts ensure
their competence by:
• Remaining within the profession’s
scope of practice
• Remaining current and increasing
their knowledge of best practices and
advances in ABA and participating in
professional development activities
• Remaining knowledgeable and current about
interventions (including pseudoscience)
that may exist in their practice areas
and pose a risk of harm to clients
• Being aware of, working within, and continually
evaluating the boundaries of their competence
• Working to continually increase their knowledge
and skills related to cultural responsiveness
and service delivery to diverse groups
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 5Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Application of the Code
Behavior analysts are expected to be knowledgeable about and comply with the Code and Code-Enforcement Procedures.
Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an ethics standard is not a defense against an alleged ethics violation. When
appropriate, behavior analysts should inform others about the Code and Code-Enforcement Procedures and create
conditions that foster adherence to the Code. When addressing potential code violations by themselves or others, behavior
analysts document the steps taken and the resulting outcomes. Behavior analysts should address concerns about the
professional misconduct of others directly with them when, after assessing the situation, it seems possible that doing so will
resolve the issue and not place the behavior analyst or others at undue risk.
The BACB recognizes that behavior analysts may have different professional roles. As such, behavior analysts are
required to comply with all applicable laws, licensure requirements, codes of conduct/ethics, reporting requirements (e.g.,
mandated reporting, reporting to funding sources or licensure board, self-reporting to the BACB, reporting instances of
misrepresentation by others), and professional practice requirements related to their various roles. In some instances,
behavior analysts may need to report serious concerns to relevant authorities or agencies that can provide more immediate
relief or protection before reporting to the BACB (e.g., criminal activity or behavior that places clients or others at risk for
direct and immediate harm should immediately be reported to the relevant authorities before reporting to the BACB or a
The standards included in the Code are not meant to be exhaustive, as it is impossible to predict every situation that might
constitute an ethics violation. Therefore, the absence of a particular behavior or type of conduct from the Code standards
does not indicate that such behavior or conduct is ethical or unethical. When interpreting and applying a standard, it is critical
to attend to its specific wording and function, as well as the core principles. Additionally, standards must be applied to a
situation using a functional, contextualized approach that accounts for factors relevant to that situation, such as variables
related to diversity (e.g., age, disability, ethnicity, gender expression/identity, immigration status, marital/relationship status,
national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status) and possible imbalances in power. In all instances
of interpreting and applying the Code, behavior analysts should put compliance with the law and clients’ interests first by
actively working to maximize desired outcomes and minimize risk.
Ethical decision making. Behavior analysts will likely encounter complex and multifaceted ethical dilemmas. When faced with
such a dilemma, behavior analysts should identify problems and solutions with care and deliberation. In resolving an ethical
dilemma, behavior analysts should follow the spirit and letter of the Code’s core principles and specific standards. Behavior
analysts should address ethical dilemmas through a structured decision-making process that considers the full context of the
situation and the function of relevant ethics standards. Although no single ethical decision-making process will be equally
effective in all situations, the process below illustrates a systematic approach behavior analysts can take to document and
address potential ethical concerns.
1. Clearly define the issue and consider potential risk of harm to relevant individuals.
2. Identify all relevant individuals.
3. Gather relevant supporting documentation and follow-up on second-hand information to confirm that there is an
actual ethical concern.
4. Consider your personal learning history and biases in the context of the relevant individuals.
5. Identify the relevant core principles and Code standards.
6. Consult available resources (e.g., research, decision-making models, trusted colleagues).
7. Develop several possible actions to reduce or remove risk of harm, prioritizing the best interests of clients in
accordance with the Code and applicable laws.
Throughout all of the following steps, document information that may be essential to decision making or for
communicating the steps taken and outcomes (e.g., to the BACB, licensure boards, or other governing agencies).
For example, consider documenting: dates, times, locations, and relevant individuals; summaries of observations,
meetings, or information reported by others. Take care to protect confidentiality in the preparation and storage of all
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 6Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
8. Critically evaluate each possible action by considering its alignment with the “letter and spirit” of the Code, its
potential impact on the client and stakeholders, the likelihood of it immediately resolving the ethical concern, as well
as variables such as client preference, social acceptability, degree of restrictiveness, and likelihood of maintenance.
9. Select the action that seems most likely to resolve the specific ethical concern and reduce the likelihood of similar
issues arising in the future.
10. Take the selected action in collaboration with relevant individuals affected by the issue and document specific
actions taken, agreed-upon next steps, names of relevant individuals, and due dates.
11. Evaluate the outcomes to ensure that the action successfully addressed the issue.
Enforcement of the Code
The BACB enforces the Code to protect clients and stakeholders, BCBA and BCaBA certificants and applicants, and the ABA
profession. Complaints are received and processed according to the processes outlined in the BACB’s Code-Enforcement
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 7Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Vocal or nonvocal verbal behavior that can be taken to
indicate willingness to participate in research or behavioral
services by individuals who cannot provide informed consent
(e.g., because of age or intellectual impairments). Assent may
be required by a research review committee or a service
organization. In such instances, those entities will provide
parameters for assessing assent.
An individual who holds BCBA or BCaBA certification or
who has submitted a complete application for BCBA or
The full set of behavioral procedures designed to improve
the client’s wellbeing.
Services that are explicitly based on the principles and
procedures of behavior analysis and are designed to change
behavior in meaningful ways. These services include, but are
not limited to, assessment, behavior-change interventions,
training, consultation, managing and supervising others, and
delivering continuing education.
The direct recipient of the behavior analyst’s services.
At various times during service provision, one or more
stakeholders may simultaneously meet the definition of
client (e.g., the point at which they receive direct training
or consultation). In some contexts, the client might be a
group of individuals (e.g., with organizational behavior
Human rights, legal rights, rights codified within behavior
analysis, and organization rules designed to benefit
Conflict of Interest
An incompatibility between a behavior analysts’ private
and professional interests resulting in risk or potential risk
to services provided to, or the professional relationship
with, a client, stakeholder, supervisee, trainee, or research
participant. Conflicts may result in a situation in which
personal, financial, or professional considerations have the
potential to influence or compromise professional judgment
in the delivery of behavioral services, research, consultation,
supervision, training, or any other professional activity.
Information that is made available for online consumption,
downloading, or distribution through an electronic medium
(e.g., television, radio, ebook, website, social media,
videogame, application, computer, smart device). Common
digital content includes documents, pictures, videos, and
The permission given by an individual with the legal right
to consent before participating in services or research, or
allowing their information to be used or shared.
Service/Research: Providing the opportunity for an
individual to give informed consent for services or
research involves communicating about and taking
appropriate steps to confirm understanding of: 1) the
purpose of the services or research; 2) the expected
time commitment and procedures involved; 3) the
right to decline to participate or withdraw at any time
without adverse consequences; 4) potential benefits,
risks, discomfort, or adverse effects; 5) any limits to
confidentiality or privacy; 6) any incentives for research
participation; 7) whom to contact for questions or
concerns at any time; and 8) the opportunity to ask
questions and receive answers.
Information Use/Sharing: Providing the opportunity
for an individual to give informed consent to share or
use their information involves communicating about: 1)
the purpose and intended use; 2) the audience; 3) the
expected duration; 4) the right to decline or withdraw
consent at any time; 5) potential risks or benefits; 6)
any limitations to confidentiality or privacy; 7) whom to
contact for questions or concerns at any time; and 8) the
opportunity to ask questions and receive answers.
Legally Authorized Representative
Any individual authorized under law to provide consent
on behalf of an individual who cannot provide consent to
receive services or participate in research.
A comingling of two or more of a behavior analyst’s roles
(e.g., behavioral and personal) with a client, stakeholder,
supervisee, trainee, research participant, or someone closely
associated with or related to the client.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 8Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Delivery of information (digital or otherwise) in a public
forum for the purpose of either better informing that
audience or providing a call-to-action. This includes paid or
unpaid advertising, brochures, printed material, directory
listings, personal resumes or curriculum vitae, interviews, or
comments for use in media (e.g., print, statements in legal
proceedings, lectures and public presentations, social media,
Any data-based activity, including analysis of preexisting
data, designed to generate generalizable knowledge for the
discipline. The use of an experimental design does not by
itself constitute research.
Any individual participating in a defined research study for
whom informed consent has been obtained.
Research Review Committee
A group of professionals whose stated purpose is to review
research proposals to ensure the ethical treatment of human
research participants. This committee might be an official
entity of a government or university (e.g., Institutional Review
Board, Research Ethics Board), an independent committee
within a service organization, or an independent organization
created for this purpose.
Scope of Competence
The professional activities a behavior analyst can consistently
perform with proficiency.
Social Media Channel
A digital platform, either found through a web browser or
through an application, where users (individuals and/or
businesses) can consume, create, copy, download, share,
or comment on posts or advertisements. Both posts and
advertisements would be considered digital content.
An individual, other than the client, who is impacted by and
invested in the behavior analyst’s services (e.g., parent,
caregiver, relative, legally authorized representative,
collaborator, employer, agency or institutional
representatives, licensure board, funder, third-party
contractor for services).
Any individual whose behavioral service delivery is overseen
by a behavior analyst within the context of a defined, agreed-
upon relationship. Supervisees may include RBTs, BCaBAs,
and BCBAs, as well as other professionals carrying out
supervised behavioral services.
Any solicited or unsolicited recommendation, in any form,
from a client, stakeholder, supervisee, or trainee affirming
the benefits received from a behavior analyst’s product or
service. From the point at which a behavior analyst asks an
individual for a recommendation it is considered solicited.
Any individual, group of individuals, or entity, other than
the direct recipient of services, the primary caregiver, the
legally authorized representative, or the behavior analyst,
who requests and funds services on behalf of a client or
group of clients. Some examples include a school district,
governmental entity, mental health agency, among others.
Any individual accruing fieldwork/experience toward fulfilling
eligibility requirements for BCaBA or BCBA certification.
A digital platform found through a web browser where
an entity (individual and/or organization) produces and
distributes digital content for the consumption of users
online. Depending on the functionality, users can consume,
create, copy, download, share, or comment on the provided
Note: Terms defined in the glossary are italicized the first
time they appear in a standard in each section of the Code.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 9Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Section 1—Responsibility as a Professional
1.01 Being Truthful
Behavior analysts are truthful and arrange the professional environment to promote truthful behavior in others. They do
not create professional situations that result in others engaging in behavior that is fraudulent or illegal or that violates the
Code. They also provide truthful and accurate information to all required entities (e.g., BACB, licensure boards, funders)
and individuals (e.g., clients, stakeholders, supervisees, trainees), and they correct instances of untruthful or inaccurate
submissions as soon as they become aware of them.
1.02 Conforming with Legal and Professional Requirements
Behavior analysts follow the law and the requirements of their professional community (e.g., BACB, licensure board).
Behavior analysts are accountable for their actions and professional services and follow through on work commitments. When
errors occur or commitments cannot be met, behavior analysts take all appropriate actions to directly address them, first in
the best interest of clients, and then in the best interest of relevant parties.
1.04 Practicing within a Defined Role
Behavior analysts provide services only after defining and documenting their professional role with relevant parties in writing.
1.05 Practicing within Scope of Competence
Behavior analysts practice only within their identified scope of competence. They engage in professional activities in
new areas (e.g., populations, procedures) only after accessing and documenting appropriate study, training, supervised
experience, consultation, and/or co-treatment from professionals competent in the new area. Otherwise, they refer or
transition services to an appropriate professional.
1.06 Maintaining Competence
Behavior analysts actively engage in professional development activities to maintain and further their professional
competence. Professional development activities include reading relevant literature; attending conferences and conventions;
participating in workshops and other training opportunities; obtaining additional coursework; receiving coaching, consultation,
supervision, or mentorship; and obtaining and maintaining appropriate professional credentials.
1.07 Cultural Responsiveness and Diversity
Behavior analysts actively engage in professional development activities to acquire knowledge and skills related to cultural
responsiveness and diversity. They evaluate their own biases and ability to address the needs of individuals with diverse needs/
backgrounds (e.g., age, disability, ethnicity, gender expression/identity, immigration status, marital/relationship status, national
origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status). Behavior analysts also evaluate biases of their supervisees and
trainees, as well as their supervisees’ and trainees’ ability to address the needs of individuals with diverse needs/backgrounds.
Behavior analysts do not discriminate against others. They behave toward others in an equitable and inclusive manner
regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender expression/identity, immigration status, marital/relationship status, national
origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or any other basis proscribed by law.
Behavior analysts do not engage in behavior that is harassing or hostile toward others.
1.10 Awareness of Personal Biases and Challenges
Behavior analysts maintain awareness that their personal biases or challenges (e.g., mental or physical health conditions;
legal, financial, marital/relationship challenges) may interfere with the effectiveness of their professional work. Behavior
analysts take appropriate steps to resolve interference, ensure that their professional work is not compromised, and
document all actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 10Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
1.11 Multiple Relationships
Because multiple relationships may result in a conflict of interest that might harm one or more parties, behavior analysts
avoid entering into or creating multiple relationships, including professional, personal, and familial relationships with clients
and colleagues. Behavior analysts communicate the risks of multiple relationships to relevant individuals and continually
monitor for the development of multiple relationships. If multiple relationships arise, behavior analysts take appropriate steps
to resolve them. When immediately resolving a multiple relationship is not possible, behavior analysts develop appropriate
safeguards to identify and avoid conflicts of interest in compliance with the Code and develop a plan to eventually resolve
the multiple relationship. Behavior analysts document all actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
1.12 Giving and Receiving Gifts
Because the exchange of gifts can invite conflicts of interest and multiple relationships, behavior analysts do not give gifts to
or accept gifts from clients, stakeholders, supervisees, or trainees with a monetary value of more than $10 US dollars (or the
equivalent purchasing power in another currency). Behavior analysts make clients and stakeholders aware of this requirement
at the onset of the professional relationship. A gift is acceptable if it functions as an infrequent expression of gratitude and
does not result in financial benefit to the recipient. Instances of giving or accepting ongoing or cumulative gifts may rise to the
level of a violation of this standard if the gifts become a regularly expected source of income or value to the recipient.
1.13 Coercive and Exploitative Relationships
Behavior analysts do not abuse their power or authority by coercing or exploiting persons over whom they have authority
(e.g., evaluative, supervisory).
1.14 Romantic and Sexual Relationships
Behavior analysts do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships with current clients, stakeholders, trainees, or
supervisees because such relationships pose a substantial risk of conflicts of interest and impaired judgment. Behavior
analysts do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships with former clients or stakeholders for a minimum of two years
from the date the professional relationship ended. Behavior analysts do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships with
former supervisees or trainees until the parties can document that the professional relationship has ended (i.e., completion
of all professional duties). Behavior analysts do not accept as supervisees or trainees individuals with whom they have had a
past romantic or sexual relationship until at least six months after the relationship has ended.
1.15 Responding to Requests
Behavior analysts make appropriate efforts to respond to requests for information from and comply with deadlines of relevant
individuals (e.g., clients, stakeholders, supervisees, trainees) and entities (e.g., BACB, licensure boards, funders). They also
comply with practice requirements (e.g., attestations, criminal background checks) imposed by the BACB, employers, or
1.16 Self-Reporting Critical Information
Behavior analysts remain knowledgeable about and comply with all self-reporting requirements of relevant entities (e.g.,
BACB, licensure boards, funders).
Section 2—Responsibility in Practice
2.01 Providing Effective Treatment
Behavior analysts prioritize clients’ rights and needs in service delivery. They provide services that are conceptually consistent
with behavioral principles, based on scientific evidence, and designed to maximize desired outcomes for and protect all clients,
stakeholders, supervisees, trainees, and research participants from harm. Behavior analysts implement nonbehavioral services
with clients only if they have the required education, formal training, and professional credentials to deliver such services.
Behavior analysts deliver services and carry out necessary service-related administrative responsibilities in a timely manner.
2.03 Protecting Confidential Information
Behavior analysts take appropriate steps to protect the confidentiality of clients, stakeholders, supervisees, trainees, and
research participants; prevent the accidental or inadvertent sharing of confidential information; and comply with applicable
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 11Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
confidentiality requirements (e.g., laws, regulations, organization policies). The scope of confidentiality includes service
delivery (e.g., live, teleservices, recorded sessions); documentation and data; and verbal, written, or electronic communication.
2.04 Disclosing Confidential Information
Behavior analysts only share confidential information about clients, stakeholders, supervisees, trainees, or research
participants: (1) when informed consent is obtained; (2) when attempting to protect the client or others from harm; (3) when
attempting to resolve contractual issues; (4) when attempting to prevent a crime that is reasonably likely to cause physical,
mental, or financial harm to another; or (5) when compelled to do so by law or court order. When behavior analysts are
authorized to discuss confidential information with a third party, they only share information critical to the purpose of
2.05 Documentation Protection and Retention
Behavior analysts are knowledgeable about and comply with all applicable requirements (e.g., BACB rules, laws, regulations,
contracts, funder and organization requirements) for storing, transporting, retaining, and destroying physical and electronic
documentation related to their professional activities. They destroy physical documentation after making electronic copies or
summaries of data (e.g., reports and graphs) only when allowed by applicable requirements. When a behavior analyst leaves
an organization these responsibilities remain with the organization.
2.06 Accuracy in Service Billing and Reporting
Behavior analysts identify their services accurately and include all required information on reports, bills, invoices, requests
for reimbursement, and receipts. They do not implement or bill nonbehavioral services under an authorization or contract for
behavioral services. If inaccuracies in reporting or billing are discovered, they inform all relevant parties (e.g., organizations,
licensure boards, funders), correct the inaccuracy in a timely manner, and document all actions taken in this circumstance and
the eventual outcomes.
Behavior analysts implement fee practices and share fee information in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
They do not misrepresent their fees. In situations where behavior analysts are not directly responsible for fees, they must
communicate these requirements to the responsible party and take steps to resolve any inaccuracy or conflict. They
document all actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
2.08 Communicating About Services
Behavior analysts use understandable language in, and ensure comprehension of, all communications with clients,
stakeholders, supervisees, trainees, and research participants. Before providing services, they clearly describe the scope
of services and specify the conditions under which services will end. They explain all assessment and behavior-change
intervention procedures before implementing them and explain assessment and intervention results when they are available.
They provide an accurate and current set of their credentials and a description of their area of competence upon request.
2.09 Involving Clients and Stakeholders
Behavior analysts make appropriate efforts to involve clients and relevant stakeholders throughout the service relationship,
including selecting goals, selecting and designing assessments and behavior-change interventions, and conducting continual
2.10 Collaborating with Colleagues
Behavior analysts collaborate with colleagues from their own and other professions in the best interest of clients and
stakeholders. Behavior analysts address conflicts by compromising when possible and always prioritizing the best interest of
the client. Behavior analysts document all actions taken in these circumstances and their eventual outcomes.
2.11 Obtaining Informed Consent
Behavior analysts are responsible for knowing about and complying with all conditions under which they are required
to obtain informed consent from clients, stakeholders, and research participants (e.g., before initial implementation of
assessments or behavior-change interventions, when making substantial changes to interventions, when exchanging or
releasing confidential information or records). They are responsible for explaining, obtaining, reobtaining, and documenting
required informed consent. They are responsible for obtaining assent from clients when applicable.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 12Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
2.12 Considering Medical Needs
Behavior analysts ensure, to the best of their ability, that medical needs are assessed and addressed if there is any
reasonable likelihood that a referred behavior is influenced by medical or biological variables. They document referrals made
to a medical professional and follow up with the client after making the referral.
2.13 Selecting, Designing, and Implementing Assessments
Before selecting or designing behavior-change interventions behavior analysts select and design assessments that are
conceptually consistent with behavioral principles; that are based on scientific evidence; and that best meet the diverse
needs, context, and resources of the client and stakeholders. They select, design, and implement assessments with a focus
on maximizing benefits and minimizing risk of harm to the client and stakeholders. They summarize the procedures and
results in writing.
2.14 Selecting, Designing, and Implementing Behavior-Change Interventions
Behavior analysts select, design, and implement behavior-change interventions that: (1) are conceptually consistent with
behavioral principles; (2) are based on scientific evidence; (3) are based on assessment results; (4) prioritize positive
reinforcement procedures; and (5) best meet the diverse needs, context, and resources of the client and stakeholders.
Behavior analysts also consider relevant factors (e.g., risks, benefits, and side effects; client and stakeholder preference;
implementation efficiency; cost effectiveness) and design and implement behavior-change interventions to produce
outcomes likely to maintain under naturalistic conditions. They summarize the behavior-change intervention procedures in
writing (e.g., a behavior plan).
2.15 Minimizing Risk of Behavior-Change Interventions
Behavior analysts select, design, and implement behavior-change interventions (including the selection and use of
consequences) with a focus on minimizing risk of harm to the client and stakeholders. They recommend and implement
restrictive or punishment-based procedures only after demonstrating that desired results have not been obtained using less
intrusive means, or when it is determined by an existing intervention team that the risk of harm to the client outweighs the risk
associated with the behavior-change intervention. When recommending and implementing restrictive or punishment-based
procedures, behavior analysts comply with any required review processes (e.g., a human rights review committee). Behavior
analysts must continually evaluate and document the effectiveness of restrictive or punishment-based procedures and modify
or discontinue the behavior-change intervention in a timely manner if it is ineffective.
2.16 Describing Behavior-Change Interventions Before Implementation
Before implementation, behavior analysts describe in writing the objectives and procedures of the behavior-change
intervention, any projected timelines, and the schedule of ongoing review. They provide this information and explain the
environmental conditions necessary for effective implementation of the behavior-change intervention to the stakeholders
and client (when appropriate). They also provide explanations when modifying existing or introducing new behavior-change
interventions and obtain informed consent when appropriate.
2.17 Collecting and Using Data
Behavior analysts actively ensure the appropriate selection and correct implementation of data collection procedures. They
graphically display, summarize, and use the data to make decisions about continuing, modifying, or terminating services.
2.18 Continual Evaluation of the Behavior-Change Intervention
Behavior analysts engage in continual monitoring and evaluation of behavior-change interventions. If data indicate that
desired outcomes are not being realized, they actively assess the situation and take appropriate corrective action. When
a behavior analyst is concerned that services concurrently delivered by another professional are negatively impacting
the behavior-change intervention, the behavior analyst takes appropriate steps to review and address the issue with the
2.19 Addressing Conditions Interfering with Service Delivery
Behavior analysts actively identify and address environmental conditions (e.g., the behavior of others, hazards to the client or
staff, disruptions) that may interfere with or prevent service delivery. In such situations, behavior analysts remove or minimize
the conditions, identify effective modifications to the intervention, and/or consider obtaining or recommending assistance
from other professionals. Behavior analysts document the conditions, all actions taken, and the eventual outcomes.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 13Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Section 3—Responsibility to Clients and Stakeholders
3.01 Responsibility to Clients (see 1.03, 2.01)
Behavior analysts act in the best interest of clients, taking appropriate steps to support clients’ rights, maximize benefits,
and do no harm. They are also knowledgeable about and comply with applicable laws and regulations related to mandated
3.02 Identifying Stakeholders
Behavior analysts identify stakeholders when providing services. When multiple stakeholders (e.g., parent or legally
authorized representative, teacher, principal) are involved, the behavior analyst identifies their relative obligations
to each stakeholder. They document and communicate those obligations to stakeholders at the outset of the
3.03 Accepting Clients (see 1.05, 1.06)
Behavior analysts only accept clients whose requested services are within their identified scope of competence and
available resources (e.g., time and capacity for case supervision, staffing). When behavior analysts are directed to accept
clients outside of their identified scope of competence and available resources, they take appropriate steps to discuss
and resolve the concern with relevant parties. Behavior analysts document all actions taken in this circumstance and the
3.04 Service Agreement (see 1.04)
Before implementing services, behavior analysts ensure that there is a signed service agreement with the client and/
or relevant stakeholders outlining the responsibilities of all parties, the scope of behavioral services to be provided,
the behavior analyst’s obligations under the Code, and procedures for submitting complaints about a behavior analyst’s
professional practices to relevant entities (e.g., BACB, service organization, licensure board, funder). They update service
agreements as needed or as required by relevant parties (e.g., service organizations, licensure boards, funders). Updated
service agreements must be reviewed with and signed by the client and/or relevant stakeholders.
3.05 Financial Agreements (see 1.04, 2.07)
Before beginning services, behavior analysts document agreed-upon compensation and billing practices with their clients,
relevant stakeholders, and/or funders. When funding circumstances change, they must be revisited with these parties. Pro
bono and bartered services are only provided under a specific service agreement and in compliance with the Code.
3.06 Consulting with Other Providers (see 1.05, 2.04, 2.10, 2.11, 2.12)
Behavior analysts arrange for appropriate consultation with and referrals to other providers in the best interests of their
clients, with appropriate informed consent, and in compliance with applicable requirements (e.g., laws, regulations, contracts,
organization and funder policies).
3.07 Third-Party Contracts for Services (see 1.04, 1.11, 2.04, 2.07)
When behavior analysts enter into a signed contract to provide services to a client at the request of a third party (e.g., school
district, governmental entity), they clarify the nature of the relationship with each party and assess any potential conflicts
before services begin. They ensure that the contract outlines (1) the responsibilities of all parties, (2) the scope of behavioral
services to be provided, (3) the likely use of the information obtained, (4) the behavior analysts’ obligations under the Code,
and (5) any limits about maintaining confidentiality. Behavior analysts are responsible for amending contracts as needed and
reviewing them with the relevant parties at that time.
3.08 Responsibility to the Client with Third-Party Contracts for Services (see 1.05, 1.11, 2.01)
Behavior analysts place the client’s care and welfare above all others. If the third party requests services from the behavior
analyst that are incompatible with the behavior analyst’s recommendations, that are outside of the behavior analyst’s scope of
competence, or that could result in a multiple relationship, behavior analysts resolve such conflicts in the best interest of the
client. If a conflict cannot be resolved, the behavior analyst may obtain additional training or consultation, discontinue services
following appropriate transition measures, or refer the client to another behavior analyst. Behavior analysts document all
actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 14Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
3.09 Communicating with Stakeholders About Third-Party Contracted Services (2.04, 2.08, 2.09, 2.11)
When providing services at the request of a third party to a minor or individual who does not have the legal right to make
personal decisions, behavior analysts ensure that the parent or legally authorized representative is informed of the rationale
for and scope of services to be provided, as well as their right to receive copies of all service documentation and data.
Behavior analysts are knowledgeable about and comply with all requirements related to informed consent, regardless of who
requested the services.
3.10 Limitations of Confidentiality (see 1.02, 2.03, 2.04)
Behavior analysts inform clients and stakeholders of the limitations of confidentiality at the outset of the professional
relationship and when information disclosures are required.
3.11 Documenting Professional Activity (see 1.04, 2.03, 2.05, 2.06, 2.10)
Throughout the service relationship, behavior analysts create and maintain detailed and high-quality documentation of their
professional activities to facilitate provision of services by them or by other professionals, to ensure accountability, and to
meet applicable requirements (e.g., laws, regulations, funder and organization policies). Documentation must be created and
maintained in a manner that allows for timely communication and transition of services, should the need arise.
3.12 Advocating for Appropriate Services (1.04, 1.05, 2.01, 2.08)
Behavior analysts advocate for and educate clients and stakeholders about evidence-based assessment and behavior-
change intervention procedures. They also advocate for the appropriate amount and level of behavioral service provision
and oversight required to meet defined client goals.
3.13 Referrals (see 1.05, 1.11, 2.01, 2.04, 2.10)
Behavior analysts make referrals based on the needs of the client and/or relevant stakeholders and include multiple
providers when available. Behavior analysts disclose to the client and relevant stakeholders any relationships they have
with potential providers and any fees or incentives they may receive for the referrals. They document any referrals made,
including relevant relationships and fees or incentives received, and make appropriate efforts to follow up with the client and/
or relevant stakeholders.
3.14 Facilitating Continuity of Services (see 1.03, 2.02, 2.05, 2,08, 2.10)
Behavior analysts act in the best interests of the client to avoid interruption or disruption of services. They make appropriate
and timely efforts to facilitate the continuation of behavioral services in the event of planned interruptions (e.g., relocation,
temporary leave of absence) and unplanned interruptions (e.g., illness, funding disruption, parent request, emergencies).
They ensure that service agreements or contracts include a general plan of action for service interruptions. When a service
interruption occurs, they communicate to all relevant parties the steps being taken to facilitate continuity of services. Behavior
analysts document all actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
3.15 Appropriately Discontinuing Services (see 1.03, 2.02, 2.05. 2.10, 2.19)
Behavior analysts include the circumstances for discontinuing services in their service agreement. They consider
discontinuing services when: (1) the client has met all behavior-change goals, (2) the client is not benefiting from the service,
(3) the behavior analyst and/or their supervisees or trainees are exposed to potentially harmful conditions that cannot be
reasonably resolved, (4) the client and/or relevant stakeholder requests discontinuation, (5) the relevant stakeholders are
not complying with the behavior-change intervention despite appropriate efforts to address barriers, or (6) services are no
longer funded. Behavior analysts provide the client and/or relevant stakeholders with a written plan for discontinuing services,
document acknowledgment of the plan, review the plan throughout the discharge process, and document all steps taken.
3.16 Appropriately Transitioning Services (see 1.03, 2.02, 2.05. 2.10)
Behavior analysts include in their service agreement the circumstances for transitioning the client to another behavior analyst
within or outside of their organization. They make appropriate efforts to effectively manage transitions; provide a written plan
that includes target dates, transition activities, and responsible parties; and review the plan throughout the transition. When
relevant, they take appropriate steps to minimize disruptions to services during the transition by collaborating with relevant
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 15Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
Section 4—Responsibility to Supervisees and Trainees
4.01 Compliance with Supervision Requirements (see 1.02)
Behavior analysts are knowledgeable about and comply with all applicable supervisory requirements (e.g., BACB rules,
licensure requirements, funder and organization policies), including those related to supervision modalities and structure (e.g.,
in person, video conference, individual, group).
4.02 Supervisory Competence (see 1.05, 1.06)
Behavior analysts supervise and train others only within their identified scope of competence. They provide supervision
only after obtaining knowledge and skills in effective supervisory practices, and they continually evaluate and improve their
supervisory repertoires through professional development.
4.03 Supervisory Volume (see 1.02, 1.05, 2.01)
Behavior analysts take on only the number of supervisees or trainees that allows them to provide effective supervision and
training. They are knowledgeable about and comply with any relevant requirements (e.g., BACB rules, licensure requirements,
funder and organization policies). They consider relevant factors (e.g., their current client demands, their current supervisee or
trainee caseload, time and logistical resources) on an ongoing basis and when deciding to add a supervisee or trainee. When
behavior analysts determine that they have met their threshold volume for providing effective supervision, they document this
self-assessment and communicate the results to their employer or other relevant parties.
4.04 Accountability in Supervision (see 1.03)
Behavior analysts are accountable for their supervisory practices. They are also accountable for the professional activities
(e.g., client services, supervision, training, research activity, public statements) of their supervisees or trainees that occur as
part of the supervisory relationship.
4.05 Maintaining Supervision Documentation (1.01, 1.02, 1.04, 2.03, 2.05, 3.11)
Behavior analysts create, update, store, and dispose of documentation related to their supervisees or trainees by following all
applicable requirements (e.g., BACB rules, licensure requirements, funder and organization policies), including those relating
to confidentiality. They ensure that their documentation, and the documentation of their supervisees or trainees, is accurate
and complete. They maintain documentation in a manner that allows for the effective transition of supervisory oversight
if necessary. They retain their supervision documentation for at least 7 years and as otherwise required by law and other
relevant parties and instruct their supervisees or trainees to do the same.
4.06 Providing Supervision and Training (see 1.02, 1.13 2.01)
Behavior analysts deliver supervision and training in compliance with applicable requirements (e.g., BACB rules, licensure
requirements, funder and organization policies). They design and implement supervision and training procedures that are
evidence based, focus on positive reinforcement, and are individualized for each supervisee or trainee and their circumstances.
4.07 Incorporating and Addressing Diversity (see 1.05, 1.06, 1.07, 1.10)
During supervision and training, behavior analysts actively incorporate and address topics related to diversity (e.g., age,
disability, ethnicity, gender expression/identity, immigration status, marital/relationship status, national origin, race, religion,
sexual orientation, socioeconomic status).
4.08 Performance Monitoring and Feedback (see 2.02, 2.05, 2.17, 2.18)
Behavior analysts engage in and document ongoing, evidence-based data collection and performance monitoring (e.g.,
observations, structured evaluations) of supervisees or trainees. They provide timely informal and formal praise and feedback
designed to improve performance and document formal feedback delivered. When performance problems arise, behavior
analysts develop, communicate, implement, and evaluate an improvement plan with clearly identified procedures for
addressing the problem.
4.09 Delegation of Tasks (see 1.03)
Behavior analysts delegate tasks to their supervisees or trainees only after confirming that they can competently perform the
tasks and that the delegation complies with applicable requirements (e.g., BACB rules, licensure requirements, funder and
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 16Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
4.10 Evaluating Effects of Supervision and Training (see 1.03, 2.17, 2.18)
Behavior analysts actively engage in continual evaluation of their own supervisory practices using feedback from others and
client and supervisee or trainee outcomes. Behavior analysts document those self-evaluations and make timely adjustments
to their supervisory and training practices as indicated.
4.11 Facilitating Continuity of Supervision (see 1.03, 2.02, 3.14)
Behavior analysts minimize interruption or disruption of supervision and make appropriate and timely efforts to facilitate the
continuation of supervision in the event of planned interruptions (e.g., temporary leave) or unplanned interruptions (e.g.,
illness, emergencies). When an interruption or disruption occurs, they communicate to all relevant parties the steps being
taken to facilitate continuity of supervision.
4.12 Appropriately Terminating Supervision (see 1.03, 2.02, 3.15)
When behavior analysts determine, for any reason, to terminate supervision or other services that include supervision, they
work with all relevant parties to develop a plan for terminating supervision that minimizes negative impacts to the supervisee
or trainee. They document all actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
Section 5—Responsibility in Public Statements
5.01 Protecting the Rights of Clients, Stakeholders, Supervisees, and Trainees (see 1.03, 3.01)
Behavior analysts take appropriate steps to protect the rights of their clients, stakeholders, supervisees, and trainees in all
public statements. Behavior analysts prioritize the rights of their clients in all public statements.
5.02 Confidentiality in Public Statements (see 2.03, 2.04, 3.10)
In all public statements, behavior analysts protect the confidentiality of their clients, supervisees, and trainees, except when
allowed. They make appropriate efforts to prevent accidental or inadvertent sharing of confidential or identifying information.
5.03 Public Statements by Behavior Analysts (see 1.01, 1.02)
When providing public statements about their professional activities, or those of others with whom they are affiliated, behavior
analysts take reasonable precautions to ensure that the statements are truthful and do not mislead or exaggerate either
because of what they state, convey, suggest, or omit; and are based on existing research and a behavioral conceptualization.
Behavior analysts do not provide specific advice related to a client’s needs in public forums.
5.04 Public Statements by Others (see 1.03)
Behavior analysts are responsible for public statements that promote their professional activities or products, regardless
of who creates or publishes the statements. Behavior analysts make reasonable efforts to prevent others (e.g., employers,
marketers, clients, stakeholders) from making deceptive statements concerning their professional activities or products. If
behavior analysts learn of such statements, they make reasonable efforts to correct them. Behavior analysts document all
actions taken in this circumstance and the eventual outcomes.
5.05 Use of Intellectual Property (see 1.01, 1.02, 1.03)
Behavior analysts are knowledgeable about and comply with intellectual property laws, including obtaining permission to
use materials that have been trademarked or copyrighted or can otherwise be claimed as another’s intellectual property as
defined by law. Appropriate use of such materials includes providing citations, attributions, and/or trademark or copyright
symbols. Behavior analysts do not unlawfully obtain or disclose proprietary information, regardless of how it became
known to them.
5.06 Advertising Nonbehavioral Services (see 1.01, 1.02, 2.01)
Behavior analysts do not advertise nonbehavioral services as behavioral services. If behavior analysts provide nonbehavioral
services, those services must be clearly distinguished from their behavioral services and BACB certification with the following
disclaimer: “These interventions are not behavioral in nature and are not covered by my BACB certification.” This disclaimer
is placed alongside the names and descriptions of all nonbehavioral interventions. If a behavior analyst is employed by an
organization that violates this Code standard, the behavior analyst makes reasonable efforts to remediate the situation,
documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 17Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
5.07 Soliciting Testimonials from Current Clients for Advertising (see 1.11, 1.13, 2.11, 3.01, 3.10)
Because of the possibility of undue influence and implicit coercion, behavior analysts do not solicit testimonials from current
clients or stakeholders for use in advertisements designed to obtain new clients. This does not include unsolicited reviews
on websites where behavior analysts cannot control content, but such content should not be used or shared by the behavior
analyst. If a behavior analyst is employed by an organization that violates this Code standard, the behavior analyst makes
reasonable efforts to remediate the situation, documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes.
5.08 Using Testimonials from Former Clients for Advertising (see 2.03, 2.04, 2.11, 3.01, 3.10)
When soliciting testimonials from former clients or stakeholders for use in advertisements designed to obtain new clients,
behavior analysts consider the possibility that former clients may re-enter services. These testimonials must be identified as
solicited or unsolicited, include an accurate statement of the relationship between the behavior analyst and the testimonial
author, and comply with all applicable privacy and confidentiality laws. When soliciting testimonials from former clients or
stakeholders, behavior analysts provide them with clear and thorough descriptions about where and how the testimonial will
appear, make them aware of any risks associated with the disclosure of their private information, and inform them that they can
rescind the testimonial at any time. If a behavior analyst is employed by an organization that violates this Code standard, the
behavior analyst makes reasonable efforts to remediate the situation, documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes.
5.09 Using Testimonials for Nonadvertising Purposes (see 1.02, 2.03. 2.04, 2.11, 3.01, 3.10)
Behavior analysts may use testimonials from former or current clients and stakeholders for nonadvertising purposes (e.g.,
fundraising, grant applications, dissemination of information about ABA) in accordance with applicable laws. If a behavior
analyst is employed by an organization that violates this Code standard, the behavior analyst makes reasonable efforts to
remediate the situation, documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes.
5.10 Social Media Channels and Websites (see 1.02, 2.03, 2.04, 2.11, 3.01, 3.10)
Behavior analysts are knowledgeable about the risks to privacy and confidentiality associated with the use of social media
channels and websites and they use their respective professional and personal accounts accordingly. They do not publish
information and/or digital content of clients on their personal social media accounts and websites. When publishing information
and/or digital content of clients on their professional social media accounts and websites, behavior analysts ensure that
for each publication they (1) obtain informed consent before publishing, (2) include a disclaimer that informed consent was
obtained and that the information should not be captured and reused without express permission, (3) publish on social media
channels in a manner that reduces the potential for sharing, and (4) make appropriate efforts to prevent and correct misuse of
the shared information, documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes. Behavior analysts frequently monitor their
social media accounts and websites to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of shared information.
5.11 Using Digital Content in Public Statements (see 1.02, 1.03, 2.03, 2.04, 2.11, 3.01, 3.10)
Before publicly sharing information about clients using digital content, behavior analysts ensure confidentiality, obtain
informed consent before sharing, and only use the content for the intended purpose and audience. They ensure that
all shared media is accompanied by a disclaimer indicating that informed consent was obtained. If a behavior analyst is
employed by an organization that violates this Code standard, the behavior analyst makes reasonable efforts to remediate
the situation, documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes.
Section 6—Responsibility in Research
6.01 Conforming with Laws and Regulations in Research (see 1.02)
Behavior analysts plan and conduct research in a manner consistent with all applicable laws and regulations, as well as
requirements by organizations and institutions governing research activity.
6.02 Research Review (see 1.02, 1.04, 3.01)
Behavior analysts conduct research, whether independent of or in the context of service delivery, only after approval by a
formal research review committee.
6.03 Research in Service Delivery (see 1.02, 1.04, 2.01, 3.01)
Behavior analysts conducting research in the context of service delivery must arrange research activities such that client
services and client welfare are prioritized. In these situations, behavior analysts must comply with all ethics requirements for both
Behavior Analyst Certification Board | Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts | 18Updated 09/2021, Copyright © 2020, BACB® | All rights reserved.
service delivery and research within the Code. When professional services are offered as an incentive for research participation,
behavior analysts clarify the nature of the services, and any potential risks, obligations, and limitations for all parties.
6.04 Informed Consent in Research (see 1.04, 2.08, 2.11)
Behavior analysts are responsible for obtaining informed consent (and assent when relevant) from potential research
participants under the conditions required by the research review committee. When behavior analysts become aware that
data obtained from past or current clients, stakeholders, supervisees, and/or trainees during typical service delivery might be
disseminated to the scientific community, they obtain informed consent for use of the data before dissemination, specify that
services will not be impacted by providing or withholding consent, and make available the right to withdraw consent at any
time without penalty.
6.05 Confidentiality in Research (see 2.03, 2.04, 2.05)
Behavior analysts prioritize the confidentiality of their research participants except under conditions where it may not be
possible. They make appropriate efforts to prevent accidental or inadvertent sharing of confidential or identifying information
while conducting research and in any dissemination activity related to the research (e.g., disguising or removing confidential
or identifying information).
6.06 Competence in Conducting Research (see 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 3.01)
Behavior analysts only conduct research independently after they have successfully conducted research under a supervisor
in a defined relationship (e.g., thesis, dissertation, mentored research project). Behavior analysts and their assistants are
permitted to perform only those research activities for which they are appropriately trained and prepared. Before engaging
in research activities for which a behavior analyst has not received training, they seek the appropriate training and become
demonstrably competent or they collaborate with other professionals who have the required competence. Behavior analysts
are responsible for the ethical conduct of all personnel assigned to the research project.
6.07 Conflict of Interest in Research and Publication (see 1.01, 1.11, 1.13)
When conducting research, behavior analysts identify, disclose, and address conflicts of interest (e.g., personal, financial,
organization related, service related). They also identify, disclose, and address conflicts of interest in their publication and
6.08 Appropriate Credit (see 1.01, 1.11, 1.13)
Behavior analysts give appropriate credit (e.g., authorship, author-note acknowledgment) to research contributors in all
dissemination activities. Authorship and other publication acknowledgments accurately reflect the relative scientific or
professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their professional status (e.g., professor, student).
6.09 Plagiarism (see 1.01)
Behavior analysts do not present portions or elements of another’s work or data as their own. Behavior analysts only
republish their previously published data or text when accompanied by proper disclosure.
6.10 Documentation and Data Retention in Research (see 2.03, 2.05, 3.11, 4.05)
Behavior analysts must be knowledgeable about and comply with all applicable standards (e.g., BACB rules, laws, research
review committee requirements) for storing, transporting, retaining, and destroying physical and electronic documentation
related to research. They retain identifying documentation and data for the longest required duration. Behavior analysts
destroy physical documentation after making deidentified digital copies or summaries of data (e.g., reports and graphs) when
permitted by relevant entities.
6.11 Accuracy and Use of Data (see 1.01, 2.17, 5.03)
Behavior analysts do not fabricate data or falsify results in their research, publications, and presentations. They plan and carry
out their research and describe their procedures and findings to minimize the possibility that their research and results will
be misleading or misinterpreted. If they discover errors in their published data they take steps to correct them by following
publisher policy. Data from research projects are presented to the public and scientific community in their entirety whenever
possible. When that is not possible, behavior analysts take caution and explain the exclusion of data (whether single data
points, or partial or whole data sets) from presentations or manuscripts submitted for publication by providing a rationale and
description of what was excluded.
Copyright © 2020 by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (“BACB®”), all rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction,
copying, or transmission in any medium is strictly prohibited.
®The trademarks “Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc.,” “BACB®.” “Board Certified Behavior Analyst®,” “BCBA®,” “Board
Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst®,” “BCaBA®,” and “RBT®,” are owned by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®.
Unauthorized use or misrepresentation is strictly prohibited.
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Article · October 2018
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University of Washington Seattle
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Behavior Analysis in Practice
DISCUSSION AND REVIEW PAPER
Guidance or Compliance: What Makes an Ethical Behavior Analyst?
Nancy E. Rosenberg1,2 & Ilene S. Schwartz1,2
# Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018
In 2016, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) made effective a new, revised ethical code for behavior analysts, the
Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, replacing the code that had been in effect since 2001. In this
revised code, the certification board has shifted the language of the code from that of a set of guidelines to that of a set of
enforceable rules. This important shift has not been well discussed in the field. This article explores the potential implications and
possible consequences of such a shift and describes other ways that ethical behavior has been approached historically. The
authors then propose an ethical decision-making process that might provide a better area of focus for the field of behavior analysis
in seeking to develop the highest levels of ethical behavior in its professionals and provide a case example using that process to
resolve an ethical dilemma.
Keywords Ethics . Behavior analysis . BACB compliance code . Ethical dilemmas . Professionalism
The field of behavior analysis has experienced tremendous
growth and change over the past 40 years. In 1977, there were
approximately 1,100 members of the Association for Behavior
Analysis International (ABAI; Deochand & Fuqua, 2016); in
2017, there were over 7,500 members (Dougher, 2017). In
1977, approximately 1,200 behavior analysts attended
ABAI’s annual conference (Kangas & Vaidya, 2007); in
2017, over 5,000 attended the conference (Dougher, 2017). In
1977, there was no formal credentialing or licensing of behavior
analysts anywhere in the world (behavior analysts, if licensed at
all, had to be licensed under the umbrella of other disciplines,
such as psychology); in 2017, there were over 25,000 master’s
and doctoral-level behavior analysts credentialed by the inter-
national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB; www.
bacb.com), and 26 states in the United States have mechanisms
to license these professionals (Association of Professional
Behavior Analysts, 2017).
* Nancy E. Rosenberg
1 Special Education, College of Education, University of Washington,
Box 357925, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
2 Haring Center, University of Washington, Box 357925,
Seattle, WA 98195, USA
The growth in the field has been fueled primarily by the use
of applied behavior analysis (ABA) with individuals with
autism and by the concomitant health insurance funding for
these services. Stemming largely from the seminal Lovaas
(1987) study, which demonstrated a remarkable response to
intervention by 9 of the 17 children with autism receiving
intensive ABA therapy, and supported by an ever-increasing
body of research (e.g., Wong et al., 2015), ABA has become
the primary evidence-based treatment for autism. By 2017, 43
states and the national Medicaid program had mandated insur-
ance coverage for ABA for children with autism spectrum
disorder (Autism Speaks, 2017).
This explosive growth brings a corresponding increase in
concerns about the ethical behavior of behavior-analytic prac-
titioners, particularly because the growth in the field has pri-
marily been in the area of developmental disabilities, involv-
ing some of society’s most vulnerable members. There is a
long history of mistreatment and abuse of this population,
often in the name of therapeutic intervention (Dittrich, 2016;
Donvan & Zucker, 2017). Some of this history of misconduct
has unfortunately included the work of those claiming to be
using behavioral treatments (e.g., Goldiamond, 1974; Kix,
2008; McAllister, 1972). Behavior analysts still combat this
association, and it will likely take decades of exemplary eth-
ical behavior for the field to break the link. Thus, an ongoing
conversation about how to promote top-quality standards of
professional and ethical behavior is paramount.
Behav Analysis Practice
As the primary accreditation body for behavior analysts,
the BACB has taken the lead in articulating what the ethical
behavior of a behavior analyst should look like. In 2001, at the
advent of certification, the BACB published a code of conduct
called Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior
Analysts (BACB, 2001). Fifteen years later, the BACB made
effective a revised code, the Professional and Ethical
Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (hereafter referred
to as the BACB Code; BACB, 2014a). Any behavior analyst
who wishes to obtain certification at any level through the
BACB must agree to abide by this code. Hence, because of
the number of behavior analysts choosing (or required by
licensure or insurance requirements) to become certified, the
BACB Code has become the de facto document articulating
behavior-analytical ethics and professionalism.
Although the scholarly work offering in-depth discussion
and analysis of ethics in behavior analysis is sparse, there have
been a number of articles in the past decade that have delved
into specific aspects of the BACB ethical code. LeBlanc,
Heinicke, and Baker (2012), for example, explored ethical
methods for behavior analysts to build boundaries of compe-
tence. Several authors (e.g., Brodhead, 2015; Schreck &
Miller, 2010) have provided discussion of how behavior ana-
lysts can make ethical and professional decisions regarding
the use of alternative and nonbehavioral treatments.
O’Leary, Miller, Olive, and Kelly (2017) provide an in-
depth discussion of social media and the ethical practice of
behavior analysts. Several authors (Sellers, Alai-Rosales, &
MacDonald, 2016; Turner, Fischer, & Luiselli, 2016) have
addressed issues related to ethical supervision.
One aspect of the revised 2016 BACB Code that has not
been discussed in the literature is the transition from the char-
acterization of the code as a set of guidelines for ethical prac-
tice to the characterization of the code as a set of enforceable
rules. The original code that guided the ethical behavior of
Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) from 2001 to
2016 was called the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for
Behavior Analysts. The introduction to that code stated, “The
Guidelines are provided for general reference to practitioners,
employers, and consumers, of applied behavior analysis ser-
vices … these Guidelines … are not separately enforced by
the BACB” (BACB, 2001, p. 1; emphasis added). The word
“guideline” was used throughout the code to refer to the indi-
vidual elements guiding ethical practice.
The new code effective in 2016, on the other hand, is pre-
sented as a list of enforceable rules rather than guidelines for
behavior. The term “guideline” has been removed from the
title, the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for
Behavior Analysts, and has also been completely removed
from the document itself. In addition, the BACB has stated
that “the Code will be enforceable in its own right and in its
entirety” (BACB, 2014b). Thus, the BACB has moved from a
stance of providing guidance on how to act ethically to a
stance of seeking compliance with a set of rules for practicing
This is a significant change. It assumes that there is a set of
rules that can define ethical behavior for a behavior analyst in
all circumstances and that ethical behavior can best be
achieved by policing adherence to that set of rules. The pur-
pose of this article is to explore this issue. We identify some of
the perhaps unintended consequences of such a directive view
of ethics and describe other ways that ethical behavior can be
approached. Finally, we suggest an ethical decision-making
process that we believe might provide a better area of focus
for the field in seeking to develop the highest levels of ethical
behavior in its professionals. As we are behavior analysts
practicing in the field of developmental disabilities, we focus
our examples from our scope of practice but hope that our
exploration of the topic encourages behavior analysts from
all areas to consider the questions we raise.
The idea that there is an absolute set of rules that can govern
moral behavior is called deontology, or rule-based ethics
(Fisher, 2016, p. 38; Kant, 1785/1959). In deontology, the
morality of an action is dictated by its adherence to a rule.
Deontology is based on an assumption that it is possible to
establish a set of rules or principles that can articulate ethical
behavior in all circumstances and across all contexts and that
if everyone then adheres to those rules, ethical behavior will
be assured. Such an approach has great appeal in that it avoids
any suggestion of a subjective approach to ethics: It keeps
people from making selfish exceptions for themselves in what
constitutes ethical behavior (Shafer-Landau, 2013, p. 442).
However, a rule-based approach can sometimes present
problems. We have encountered some of the inherent issues
related to this approach in our work with the BACB Code. The
issues that can arise often fall into one of three categories: (a)
situations where the context of the ethical dilemma seems to
argue against the rules, (b) situations where two or more rules
can conflict, or (c) situations where cultural considerations
seem to suggest a different course. We consider each of these
potential conflicts in turn.
Context Sometimes Matters
Ethicists have argued for centuries about whether there are
moral absolutes that apply in every situation. Even with a
seemingly straightforward moral admonition such as “Thou
shalt not kill,” it is relatively easy to come up with scenarios
where adhering to the rule might not be considered the ethical
course. Many people who believe generally that killing is a
bad thing would agree that to kill a terrorist as he prepares to
detonate a bomb designed to kill thousands of innocent people
Behav Analysis Practice
would be the right ethical decision. Similarly, the moral state-
ment that “one should tell the truth” seems to be a straightfor-
ward ethical rule, but again, we can quickly imagine situations
where telling the truth may not be the best, or most ethical,
course of action. The classic example is that of a German
citizen hiding a Jew during the Nazi regime of World War II.
Nazis come to the house and demand to know whether any
Jews are hidden inside. Most people today would agree that in
this situation, lying is the most appropriate ethical behavior.
As a guideline or rule of thumb for ethical behavior, “one
should tell the truth” works well; however, as an inflexible
rule applicable in every circumstance, it runs into problems.
There are a number of scenarios where rules from the
BACB Code can be similarly affected by context. Consider
code 1.05(d): “In their work-related activities, behavior ana-
lysts do not engage in discrimination against individuals or
groups based on … socioeconomic status.” As a guideline
for behavior, the statement that behavior analysts will not dis-
criminate against those without economic means is principled
and unarguable. But what it implies, as an enforceable rule, is
that a behavior analyst running an agency must take every
client coming to his or her door, regardless of the client’s ability
to pay either privately or through medical insurance; otherwise,
a behavior analyst is discriminating based on socioeconomic
status. Although most agency representatives would agree that
they have some responsibility to provide services regardless of
a client’s ability to pay, most would follow this with the state-
ment that they would quickly go bankrupt if they took every
client who did not have the ability to pay. Agencies grapple
every day with the difficult moral dilemmas of how to serve
low-income clients and still stay in business (arguably another
moral imperative). As a guideline for ethical behavior, this
code is strong; as an enforceable rule, true in every situation,
the code is problematic and impossible to comply with.
Code 1.06(a) provides another example. The code states,
“Due to the potentially harmful effects of multiple relation-
ships, behavior analysts avoid multiple relationships.” The
potential ethical and professional problems associated with
multiple relationships is an important ethical concept for be-
havior analysts to understand and, in general, to avoid. But it
is also possible to find situations that might argue for an alter-
native approach. Consider a behavior analyst named Clarice,
living in a university town. Clarice’s 3-year-old daughter is
diagnosed with a developmental delay and is exhibiting severe
self-injurious behavior. At the local university, there is a be-
havior analyst who has significant expertise in self-injurious
behavior. Unfortunately, this professor is also Clarice’s former
professor and has since become Clarice’s friend and col-
league. Clearly, Clarice’s child receiving services from this
behavior analyst constitutes a multiple relationship. But this
is a complicated situation. Is it right that Clarice should have
to forgo the expertise of a clear expert in her child’s presenting
problem because this person happens to be a friend and
colleague? Is it possible to carefully set up the situation to
avoid potential issues caused by the multiple relationship
while still allowing Clarice to get the best for her daughter?
The point here is not to say what the right course is in this
instance but rather to illustrate that these dilemmas can some-
times be difficult and complex situations, not easily addressed
by a black-and-white rule.
Two or more Moral Rules can Conflict
In deontological ethics, you can also find situations where two
moral rules conflict. This happens frequently in daily life. “Be
honest” and “be kind” are two common moral rules. But when
presented with a friend’s stunningly bad haircut and asked,
“How do you like it?” it may be impossible to be both honest
and kind. Similarly, there are situations where two or more
rules in the BACB Code come into conflict, making it literally
impossible for a behavior analyst to abide by all codes. Take,
for example, a situation where a behavior analyst is dealing
with a significant personal issue, such as a divorce, which is
impacting her work. Code 1.05(f) states that “behavior ana-
lysts refrain from providing services when their personal cir-
cumstances may compromise delivering services to the best of
their abilities.” On the other hand, this behavior analyst has
also clearly made commitments to multiple clients to provide
service. Code 1.04(c) states, “Behavior analysts follow
through on obligations, and contractual and professional com-
mitments with high quality work.” Both codes are right, but
the behavior analyst cannot simultaneously do both.
In another example, consider the situation where a behavior
analyst cannot come to an agreement with an insurance com-
pany on what constitutes an appropriate level of service for a
client. Code 2.04(d) says,
Behavior analysts put the client’s care above all others
and, should the third party make requirements for ser-
vices that are contraindicated by the behavior analyst’s
recommendations, behavior analysts are obligated to re-
solve such conflicts in the best interest of the client. If
said conflict cannot be resolved, the behavior analyst’s
services may be discontinued following appropriate
This behavior analyst has advocated for the client without
success and thus the code suggests she may need to end ser-
vices. However, 1.04(c) again states that behavior analysts
need to follow through on obligations and professional com-
mitments. The family may very much want the behavior ana-
lyst to continue, even at a level of service below that which the
behavior analyst feels is necessary. Both codes are right, but
the behavior analyst cannot simultaneously do both.
True ethical dilemmas are often not those where there is a
clear right and a clear wrong. True ethical dilemmas often
Behav Analysis Practice
arise when ethical principles seem to require a person to do
two (or more) actions but the person cannot do both (or all) of
the actions. Thus, in a world of rules enforceable in their
entirety, the person seems condemned to ethical and moral
failure no matter what she or he does.
Culture Always Matters
In today’s multicultural world, cultural considerations, wheth-
er spoken or unspoken, unequivocally matter in ethical deci-
sion making. The need to understand and balance a respect for
the different worldviews of clients is paramount in entering
into a productive professional relationship with them; clients
and behavior analysts may have different values, beliefs, and
views of behavior analysis but need to come to a common
understanding and place of respect to move the relationship
forward. Several authors have highlighted instances where
cultural values and beliefs of clients may affect a behavior
analyst’s practice (Fong, Catagnus, Brodhead, Quigley, &
Field, 2016; Fong & Tanaka, 2013). It is impossible to pro-
pose a set of rules that fits every cultural situation. Cultural
beliefs and practices vary widely and are influenced by a va-
riety of personal, family, and societal issues. Probably one of
the most debated codes in the 2016 revised edition of the
BACB Code has been code 1.06(d): “Behavior analysts do
not accept any gifts from or give any gifts to clients because
this constitutes a multiple relationship.” Some behavior ana-
lysts have interpreted this as applying to even the smallest
gestures by a family, prohibiting behavior analysts from
accepting a cup of tea or a token gift (Bailey & Burch,
2016). However, in many cultures, accepting a beverage or
food when entering a house is considered a common courtesy
and refusing is considered rudeness. In many school environ-
ments, accepting a token gift at holiday time is part of school
culture and being the one member of a school team to refuse
the token gift from parents at the end of the year may be seen
as a sign of arrogance or as an implication that other members
of the school team are acting unethically. In both situations,
refusing the gesture risks damaging relationships. Again, we
are not proposing what the right or wrong thing to do is in
these situations; rather, we are arguing that these situations are
complex, that consequences of either action need to be
weighed, and that a consideration deeper than a black-and-
white rule is needed.
Reliance on scientific knowledge is a bedrock principle of
behavior analysis and is included in several of the BACB
Code rules, such as code 1.01, “Behavior analysts rely on
professionally derived knowledge based on science,” and
code 2.09(a), “Clients have a right to effective treatment
(i.e., based on the research literature …). ” However, cultur-
ally diverse clients may not have the same faith in scientific
evidence that a behavior analyst has. Consider a situation
where a behavior analyst is working to build a relationship
with a family who has recently moved to the United States
from another country. This family is highly skeptical of be-
havior analysis, and the behavior analyst has been working
very hard to establish the trust necessary to do her work and
help her client. The family wants to try a nonscientifically
supported treatment popular in their culture and that has
enjoyed favorable reports in the popular press. The behavior
analyst believes that this treatment would be harmless and
take very little time and that agreeing could greatly improve
the relationship with the family. The behavior analyst also
fears that without this collegial approach, the family will de-
cide to abandon ABA altogether. This behavior analyst could
reasonably decide, after a careful weighing of consequences,
that in this situation, deciding to include this nonscientific
treatment in a robust package of behavioral interventions is
the most ethical course. Once again, it is not the final decision
we are promoting, but rather the fact that these are complex
situations requiring careful analysis rather than black-and-
It is important to remember that the culture of the behavior
analyst also impacts ethical behavior. The belief that a rule-
based system, where everybody following the rules produces
the greatest good, is a Western-centric belief (Zheng, Gray,
Zhu, & Jiang, 2014). Zheng et al. (2014) compare this
Western stance with traditional Chinese ethical beliefs, which
emphasize the maintenance and propriety of relations as the
most important consideration in determining the greatest
good. In traditional Chinese thinking, human relationships
are considered more important than any other aspect of human
life and a rule should not be followed if it promotes disharmo-
ny (Zheng et al.). Thus, considering an ethical dilemma, a
Chinese behavior analyst is likely to form a very different
analysis than a Western-raised behavior analyst would. As
behavior analysis spreads throughout the world, it becomes
increasingly important that the profession has an approach to
ethics that can respect cultural differences.
Other Approaches to Ethical Decision Making
Rule-based decision making, or deontology, is not the only
way to approach ethical decisions. Ethicists and philosophers
have proposed a number of different methods for ethical de-
cision makers over the centuries, including virtue ethics and
Virtue ethics, first expounded by Aristotle (trans. 1999), is
very different from rule-based ethics. Virtue ethics involves a
commitment to being a good and virtuous person. Ethical
decisions are based on what a person decides is most virtuous
in a given situation. Virtue ethics specifically says that what a
1 An excellent online resource for a nonspecialist’s introduction to ethics is
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (https://plato.stanford.edu/).
Behav Analysis Practice
person should do in a particular situation cannot be deter-
mined beforehand or dictated by a set of rules (Shafer-
Landau, 2013, pp. 609–686). Virtue ethics proposes that al-
though ethical situations may have common aspects, each
ethical situation is unique and complex and the contextual
factors of each must be considered on their own.
Another approach to ethical decision making is ends-based
ethics, also known as consequentialism or utilitarianism
(Fisher, 2016, p. 38; Mill, 1861/1957). In ends-based ethics,
a person focuses on the potential consequences of different
actions in an ethical conundrum and then attempts to pick
the action that will result in the best outcomes for the greatest
number of people affected by the action. Again, this is
very different from rule-based ethics. In rule-based
ethics, an individual focuses on adherence to a general
rule regardless of the consequences of complying with
that rule in a given situation. Consequentialism focuses
instead on the outcomes of different decisions in a particular
All of these approaches to ethical decision making, not just
deontology, have problems associated with them, which is
probably why, after centuries of debate, none has been settled
upon as the ideal approach to ethical decision making.
An in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of each of
the approaches is beyond the scope of this article.
However, it is important for behavior analysts to know
that there are other ways to think about ethical behavior.
In fact, Kidder (2009) has argued that systematically
considering an ethical dilemma through the lenses of
different ethical approaches is fundamental to ethical decision
Ethical Decision Making as a Process
We have called into question whether there is a set of rules that
can define ethical behavior for behavior analysts in all circum-
stances. A stance that one cannot define such a set does not
necessarily imply an ethical free-for-all where any decision
goes. We in fact believe that a set of guidelines for ethical
and professional behavior—an ethical code for our profession
developed by experienced, knowledgeable, thoughtful, and
diverse members of our profession—is critical in guiding eth-
ical professional behavior. Behavior analysts at any level must
start by studying this code, developing a deep understanding
through discussion, practice, and role-playing of both the
practical purpose of each guideline and the important reasons
behind each one. We believe, however, that ethical decision
making should then be a process of systematically evaluating
an ethical dilemma, considering not only the profession’s eth-
ical guidelines but also other factors that might influence an
ethical decision. For someone to deviate from the published
guidelines, this process would expect that person to
demonstrate that he or she has diligently and systematically
thought about the issue, weighed carefully the pros and cons
of each course of action, documented his or her deliberations,
and then made a careful decision.
The idea that fluent ethical behavior requires constant practice
has been around since Aristotle, who maintained that to be
truly virtuous, one must practice ethical behavior until it be-
comes habit (Aristotle, trans. 1999). In a more modern version
of this idea, Kidder (2009) talks about the need to have “eth-
ical fitness.” Ethical fitness shares many similarities with
physical fitness. Just as the achievement of physical fitness
requires regular, ongoing exercise, true ethical fitness also
requires regular, ongoing ethical practice. Every day, behavior
analysts are confronted with situations in which they need to
make decisions about how they will conduct themselves.
Many of these occurrences are mundane situations requiring
little thought, but others are complicated and delicate and have
a variety of possible resolutions. To be able to consis-
tently act ethically in both the mundane and the more
complicated situations, behavior analysts must be fluent
with the skills and knowledge required. And just as a
structured fitness routine, practiced daily, can help one
achieve physical fitness, we propose that a structured ethical
decision-making process, practiced frequently, is an ideal way
to achieve ethical fitness.
A Possible Ethical Decision-Making Process
Here we propose one version of an ethical decision-making
process—one we have developed as we have struggled with
students, colleagues, and other professionals to resolve ethical
dilemmas. The process has gone through a number of itera-
tions, and we suspect it will go through more as we invite a
discussion in the behavior-analytic community about
what such a process might look like. The process can
be seen in Fig. 1. We address each step only briefly
here, as the purpose of this article is not so much to
propose a particular decision-making process as it is to
propose the idea that focusing on an ethical decision-making
process, rather than working toward an ever more detailed set
of rules, is the best direction for behavior analysts in develop-
ing an ethical profession.
Step 1: Why does this trigger your ethical radar?
& Identify the ethical dilemma.
& If applicable, identify the client(s).
& Identify the relevant codes in the BACB Code.
& Identify personal values or biases that may influence your
decision making on this issue.
Behav Analysis Practice
Fig. 1 Ethical decision-making
Step 3: Evaluate solu�ons. Consider what issues, conflicts, or tensions might
poten�ally influence each solu�on. Also consider the following:
Client dignity and self-determina�on
Impact on your rela�onships with other par�es
Step 4: Have you found an acceptable solu�on?
Step 2: Brainstorm solu�ons.
What solu�ons does the BACB Code suggest?
What are other possible solu�ons?
Step 1: Why does this trigger your ethical radar?
Iden�fy the ethical dilemma.
If applicable, Iden�fy the client(s).
Iden�fy the relevant codes in the BACB Code.
Iden�fy personal values or biases that may influence your decision
making on this issue.
Step 6: Reflect upon the results/effects of your decision.
Was it a successful resolu�on?
Do you need to take any further steps in this par�cular situa�on?
Have you learned anything that will affect future ethical
Step 5: Implement the solu�on with fidelity and carefully document all ac�ons
Every good behavior analyst knows that before one at-
tempts to change a behavior, one first needs to develop
a clear operational definition of the behavior. The same
is true in ethical decision making; before engaging in an
analysis of an ethical dilemma, one must clearly articu-
late the issue and identify the parties most affected by
As stated earlier, we believe that ethical decision making
should start with adherence to a set of guidelines set forth by
the profession. Currently, this is the BACB Code. Thus, the
behavior analyst next must identify the specific codes in the
BACB Code that apply to the stated issue. This requires that
behavior analysts have a working knowledge of the BACB
Code and are familiar enough with its contents to know which
codes are relevant in a given situation.
Behavior analysts must also then think about the lenses
through which they are viewing the potential ethical conflict.
The personal lenses that influence our view of behavior and
contexts may be influenced by culture, values, and beliefs.
Although our study of ABA often ignores these influences,
it is impossible to examine ethics without acknowledging how
these personal beliefs and values influence the interpretation
of an ethical code and the decisions that we make around
ethical and moral behavior (Tanaka-Matsumi, Seiden, &
Lam, 1996). Abramson (1996) terms this awareness “ethical
Step 2: Brainstorm solutions.
& What solutions does the BACB Code suggest?
& What are other possible solutions?
The next step in making an ethical and professional deci-
sion is to brainstorm possible solutions. Behavior analysts can
do this on their own, but talking through possibilities with a
respected colleague or a group of colleagues will often result
in a better set of options. Possible solutions should be influ-
enced by the BACB Code, a behavior analyst’s professional
experience, and other factors a behavior analyst considers rel-
evant to a given ethical decision.
Behav Analysis Practice
Step 3: Evaluate solutions. Consider what issues, conflicts,
or tensions might potentially influence each solution. Also
consider the following factors when evaluating solutions:
& Client safety
& Client dignity and self-determination
& Client outcomes
& Impact on your relationships with other parties
& Family preferences
Once a behavior analyst has developed a list of po-
tential solutions, it is time to evaluate the solutions and
the effects each would have on involved parties. For
each solution, it is important to consider both who will
be affected by the decision and how. In our own work
with individuals with developmental disabilities and their
families, we have identified some specific factors that we
believe should be part of this evaluation. These factors
are derived from a set of universal moral values pro-
posed by Kidder (2005): honesty, respect, responsibility,
fairness, and compassion. In working with the decision-
making process, we found these universal values to be
too general to be particularly helpful; in consequence, we
have developed a set of factors, derived from these prin-
ciples but specific to our work with individuals with
developmental disabilities, that we believe any ethical
decision should take into account.
Step 4: Have you found an acceptable solution? Often,
after working systematically through the possible ramifi-
cations of different solutions, one solution will reveal it-
self as clearly the best option. In this case, a behavior
analyst can move ahead to Step 5, documenting the deci-
sion and implementing it. Occasionally, however, a behav-
ior analyst will carefully evaluate the solutions and feel
that none is right; no solution will meet the behavior ana-
lyst’s standard for ethical and professional behavior. In
this case, the behavior analyst must go back to Step 2
and brainstorm new solutions. This is a point where true
“out of the box” thinking is often needed. If colleagues
have not been enlisted previously, this is an important time
to bring them in. A number of professional organizations,
including ABAI, provide an ethics consultation line that
practitioners can call to discuss ethical dilemmas. An eth-
ical behavior analyst will continue the process until a so-
lution is found that meets his or her standard of ethical and
Step 5: Implement the solution with fidelity and carefully
document all actions taken. When a behavior analyst de-
velops a behavior plan to reduce or increase a client behavior,
the behavior analyst must ensure that the plan is being imple-
mented with fidelity before attempting to assess the
effectiveness of that plan. Similarly, an ethical behavior ana-
lyst must implement an ethical solution with fidelity before
assessing the outcome.
Careful documentation of the ethical decision-making
process is critical throughout. We believe that systematic
and thoughtful analysis of ethical dilemmas is the linch-
pin of ethical behavior and that it is on this analysis
that ethical behavior should be judged. Thus, it is crit-
ically important that a behavior analyst documents the
steps taken both in arriving at a decision and in carrying out
Step 6: Reflect upon the results/effects of your decision.
& Was it a successful resolution?
& Do you need to take any further steps in this particular
& Have you learned anything that will affect future ethical
Finally, it is important to remember that settling on a
solution to an ethical dilemma does not mean one can
never change one ’s mind or adjust one’s course.
Collecting information about the effects of an ethical de-
cision enables a behavior analyst to evaluate the solution
and to then engage in data-based decision making regard-
ing future behavior. This type of evaluation may be less
straightforward than evaluating behavior change on a line
graph, but it is equally critical. It requires considering the effect
a decision had on current clients, on other affected parties, and
on one’s own feelings of confidence and competence.
This self-reflection on one’s behavior helps a behavior an-
alyst decide whether a current dilemma has been successfully
resolved or needs to be revisited. It is also critical to ethical
fitness, helping a behavior analyst learn from both mistakes
and successes, building both skill and fluency in ethical
To help illustrate our process, we consider the following eth-
John works as a BCBA providing early intervention
services for children with autism in a low-income, rural
area. He is the only BCBAwithin a 160-km radius of his
office. Recently, the 2-year-old son of John’s neighbor, a
single mother three houses down, was diagnosed with
autism. The family’s pediatrician referred the family to
John for ABA services. John is struggling with how to
handle the situation.
Behav Analysis Practice
Step 1: Why Does This Trigger Your Ethical Radar?
John first tries to clarify the ethical dilemma. He believes
that accepting a neighbor as a client would constitute a
multiple relationship and thus should be avoided. But he
also is concerned that if he doesn’t provide service to this
child, the child will not receive ABA services. Thus, his
ethical dilemma is whether or not he should accept this
child as a client.
Next, John tries to identify the clients in this dilemma.
Although this family and this child are not officially
his clients (he has not accepted them yet), he believes
that in his analysis of the situation, he should consider the
family and the child as clients, with the child being the prima-
ry person of concern.
In reviewing the BACB Code, John believes the most per-
tinent code is 1.06(a): “Due to the potentially harmful effects
of multiple relationships, behavior analysts avoid multiple re-
lationships.” However, he also highlights a statement from the
introduction to code 2.0, “Behavior analysts have a responsi-
bility to operate in the best interest of clients,” as he believes it
may also be relevant to this situation.
Finally, John considers his own values and biases that may
affect his decision. John acknowledges that he chose to live in
this low-income, rural area because he was committed to serv-
ing underserved populations. He feels that sometimes rules
and regulations are made by people who do not understand
the conditions he is operating under and thus he can feel dis-
dain for those rules. He recognizes this tendency and tries to
guard against it. Thus, he wants to make sure he is carefully
considering why these rules exist and the dangers if they are
Step 2: Brainstorm Solutions
John believes the BACB Code suggests he should avoid
this multiple relationship and refer the family elsewhere. He
believes another possible solution is to take the family as a
client but to try to set up safeguards against the dangers of the
Step 3: Evaluate Solutions
John first considers the solution of referring the family
elsewhere. Given that he is the only BCBA for 160 km, he
examines the options. One of the alternatives would be to try
to find a distant BCBA who is willing to travel to their small
town to provide services. However, John is aware that this
parent has very limited financial means, and so John is not
certain this is feasible. Another possibility is to try to find a
remote BCBA who is willing to provide services via
telehealth, but John knows this family does not have good
Internet service (very few people in the neighborhood do),
and so John doubts that this would be a good option.
Overall, given the challenges this mother is facing as a single
mother with a newly diagnosed child, John is skeptical that
she could sustain the challenges of remote services. He sus-
pects that if he does not provide services, the reality would be
that the child would not receive services at all. In addition,
John wonders whether, even if the challenges of remote su-
pervision could be addressed, the quality of the services pro-
vided remotely could compare to the services he could pro-
vide for this child when he could be providing close and fre-
John contemplates his second option: accepting the child as
a client, but attempting to set up procedures that could help
mitigate the potential problems of the multiple relationship.
John believes he could discuss the situation and the dangers of
the multiple relationship with the mother. He could specify
that during the time the child is receiving services, John would
need to avoid social encounters with this family as much as
possible, and if occasions did unexpectedly occur, they would
be kept as brief as possible and he and the mother would not
discuss the child or his treatment at all. If unexpected neigh-
borhood issues were to arise that required attention, the moth-
er would interact with John’s wife about these issues rather
John believes he has thoroughly analyzed his options, but
he wants a second opinion. Although his rural situation means
he has no immediate associates, he has maintained close rela-
tionships with several colleagues from graduate school. He
calls up one of his most trusted colleagues, someone he has
always considered truly ethical in her behavior, and goes over
the dilemma with her. This colleague agrees with John’s
Step 4: Have You Found an Acceptable Solution?
Although John is uncomfortable stepping knowingly into a
multiple relationship, he believes that in this situation, it is the
right thing to do. He believes that if he does not accept this
child as a client, the family will not receive ABA services at
all, and he believes this would be a greater wrong than the
multiple relationship. He feels he has a good plan to provide
safeguards against the dangers of the multiple relationship and
feels that he is truly acting in the best interest of the child in
choosing this path. Thus, he decides, yes, he has found an
Step 5: Implement the Solution With Fidelity and
Carefully Document All Actions Taken
John first takes the time to write down his considerations.
He knows he is acting against a rule in the BACB Code and he
wants to document his careful weighing of the pros and cons
of the different possibilities. He then writes up a clear list of
Behav Analysis Practice
the parameters he has developed for the relationship. He
will use this in his conversation with the mother and
will keep it with his documentation of his decision-
making process. John then moves forward with his meeting
with the mother.
Step 6: Reflect Upon the Results/Effects of Your Decision
Six months later, John reflects on his decision and its
consequences. There is no question that the child has
benefited hugely from the ABA therapy. He is making
great progress: starting to talk, developing play skills,
and learning self-care. John also feels that he has safely
navigated the multiple relationship. He and the mother
rarely see each other outside of the clinic, and they keep
those interactions brief, effectively avoiding discussion
about the child or his services. John does feel that the
situation has affected his life in the neighborhood a
bit—he now always checks to make sure the family is
not outside if he goes out to take a walk, and he chose
to not attend the neighborhood barbeque last month so
that he would not run into the family. But he feels that
these are small, personal inconveniences compared to the
good he is doing in providing this child with life-changing
therapy. Overall, he feels extremely positive about the
choice he made and its impact on the affected parties.
Behavior analysts are currently practicing under a system
that views ethical behavior as adherence to a set of rules.
We believe that such an approach does not promote truly
ethical behavior. On the contrary, we believe that a rule-
governed approach can promote a mechanical, rigid ap-
proach to ethical behavior that does not adequately reflect
the complex, diverse world that behavior analysts practice
in. Rather, we believe that our ability to practice ethical-
ly—our ethical fitness—is enhanced by an expectation
that one constantly must wrestle in a thoughtful, system-
atic way with ethical issues and then resolve issues in
such a way that one could stand in front of a court of
peers and defend one’s resolution and the reasons for it.
To do this, behavior analysts must be taught a struc-
tured, systematic way to approach ethical problems.
We have presented one possible process for doing this,
but the main purpose of this article is not to present our
particular process but rather to stimulate a discussion in
our field about how behavior analysts should approach ethics
more generally. We believe all behavior analysts want to work
in a profession whose members are committed to ethical be-
havior. The question to be debated is how this can best be
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest Nancy Rosenberg declares she has no conflict of
interest. Ilene Schwartz declares she has no conflict of interest.
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