Compassion Code

We recognize the importance of practicing and interacting with compassion across all professional activities. Compassion means taking the time to listen to others, try to understand them, and do what we can to help them. This code highlights some, but not all, of the ways in which we can be compassionate professionals.

Compassion in Interacting with Clients

  • Obtain consent and assent for assessment and intervention with sensitivity to comprehension level, cultural and linguistic factors, fears and concerns, and other possible sources of pressure.
  • Be sensitive to potential past trauma.
  • Choose reinforcers thoughtfully and incorporate client choice in reinforcer and treatment selection as much as possible.
  • Use caution with any potentially aversive strategies, including physical prompting, crisis interventions, and reinforcer restriction.
  • Engage clients in setting their own goals and planning their own strategies.
  • Dedicate time to build rapport and establish and maintain trust with clients.
  • Assess social validity continuously during and following assessment and intervention.
  • Be flexible and fun.

Compassion in Interacting with Stakeholders

  • Build rapport with and actively listen to stakeholders, and recognize others as affected by client’s ABA experience, including the client’s parents, family members, friends, teachers, classmates, co-workers.
  • Practice and interact with humility regarding client’s and family’s cultural background, values, and family dynamics.
  • Demonstrate concern for client’s significant others.

Soft Skills for Interactions in all Professional Relationships

  • Have a sense of humor (with caution and sensitivity to the situation) .
  • Be tactful in addressing others, including regarding unethical practices, dual relationship requests, and setting boundaries.
  • Provide positive feedback whenever possible.
  • Practice humility.
  • Actively listen with a curious and open mindset for shared ideas.

Being a Responsible Professional

  • Know the BACB ethics codes and how context impacts ethical decisions.
  • Know and follow federal, state, local, and employer regulations.
  • Make all clinical recommendations, decisions, plans, changes, based on data and scientifically established best practices.
  • Practice self-care and self-compassion.

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