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Ep. 100- Closely examining barriers to supervision

show notes Oct 05, 2023


Resources mentioned in this episode

  1. Free 2 CEU course on Solving Clinical Challenges with Research-
  2. Peysin et al., 2023-

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Exploring Supervision Practices in Behavior Analysis: Insights from Australia


Hello, everyone! I'm Matt Harrington, your host, and welcome back to another exciting episode of the Behaviorist Book Club podcast. Today, we're taking a unique journey to explore the world of behavior analysis from a different perspective – that of aspiring behavior analysts in Australia. We'll be diving into a recent study by Bayley and colleagues from 2023 titled "Supervision for Aspiring Behavior Analysts in Australia: An Exploration of Current Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities." Get ready to gain insights into the challenges and solutions for supervision practices in a different part of the world.

The Australian Perspective

Australia may not be the first place that comes to mind when we think of behavior analysis, but it's a growing field.. The article we're discussing today sheds light on the struggles and opportunities faced by behavior analysts in Australia, particularly in the realm of supervision. With only 149 BCBAs® at the time of the study, Australia's behavior analysis community is considerably smaller compared to the United States.

A Global Certification Challenge

To provide some context, back in 2019, the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) decided to halt applications and acceptances from individuals outside North America, citing resource limitations. This decision raised concerns and led to the emergence of the International Behavior Analyst (IBA) as an alternative certifying body. However, Australia took a different route and continued to work with the BACB, securing an exception.

This unique situation highlights the need for examining supervision practices in Australia, as they must align with BACB requirements for certification. The challenges and solutions found in Australia could offer valuable insights for the broader behavior analysis community worldwide.

Capacity for Supervision

One of the study's primary objectives was to assess the capacity of current behavior analysts in Australia to accept more supervisees. The good news is that there's a positive trend indicating more behavior analysts are becoming available to provide supervision in the coming years. This is a crucial step in expanding the field and ensuring aspiring behavior analysts can access the supervision they need.

How Is Supervision Being Delivered?

Supervision delivery methods are a critical aspect of the study. It's essential to understand how supervision is provided – whether in person or online, individual or group sessions. Interestingly, most supervisors in Australia are willing to use tele-supervision and are open to working with both internal and external supervisees. However, a preference for internal supervision within the same organization was observed.

Additionally, concerns about liability when providing external supervision were raised. This highlights the importance of addressing liability issues to make external supervision more accessible.

Barriers for Supervisors

Supervisors in Australia face familiar challenges. One significant barrier is a lack of time. Time constraints can hinder behavior analysts from taking on more supervisees, ultimately affecting the growth of the field. Geographic access is another issue, as Australia's vast and diverse landscape can make it challenging to provide in-person supervision.

Barriers for Supervisees

Supervisees, too, encounter their share of barriers. The most prominent obstacle is finding available supervisors, with 54% reporting difficulty in securing supervision. Lack of networking opportunities and concerns about the quality of supervision also rank among the challenges faced by supervisees.

Proposed Solutions

The study proposes several solutions to address these challenges. 

  1. Creating a registry for supervisors can help aspiring behavior analysts find available supervisors more easily. Additional training on supervision practices and access to resources on professional liability can help overcome barriers related to external supervision.
  2. Universities also play a crucial role by facilitating placements and support for graduates seeking supervision. By integrating supervision opportunities into their programs, universities can contribute to the growth of behavior analysis in Australia and beyond.

Considerations for All Behavior Analysts

Even if you're not in Australia, there are valuable takeaways from this study for behavior analysts worldwide. When seeking or providing supervision, consider the following:

  1. Define Quality Supervision: Reflect on your own supervision experiences and determine what constitutes high-quality supervision for you.
  2. Payment: Be transparent about payment for supervision. It's essential to maintain ethical boundaries in the supervisory relationship.
  3. Matching with Graduate Programs: Align your supervision with what you learned in your graduate program. If you feel inadequately prepared, discuss ways to tailor your supervision to your specific needs.

In conclusion, the challenges and solutions in the realm of supervision in Australia provide valuable insights for the global behavior analysis community. As practitioners, we can learn from their experiences and work together to ensure accessible and high-quality supervision for all aspiring behavior analysts.

Thank you for joining me on this exploration of supervision practices in behavior analysis. If you found this episode insightful, please consider subscribing, sharing, and leaving a review. Your support helps us continue to provide valuable content for behavior analysts worldwide.

Stay tuned for more engaging discussions on behavior analysis in future episodes of the Behaviorist Book Club podcast!


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