Behaviour Analysts and Psychologists
25th January, 20100 Comments
Behaviour Analysts are trained to analyse and understand the different factors underlying a person’s behaviour. Professionals who are trained in the science of behavior analysis use the principles of learning in order to address the behavioural needs of children, adolescents and adults in diverse settings.
A Behaviour Analyst conducts behavioural assessments and designs effective interventions for clients. For example, if a family was struggling with their child’s difficult behavior, a Behaviour Analyst would observe the child in the home or school, take data on the frequency and characteristics of the reported behaviour and try to understand what is causing the behaviour to continue. They would then provide clear and precise recommendations on in order to decrease any inappropriate behaviour using scientific principles of behaviour analysis. They would implement specific teaching recommendations to teach an appropriate replacement behaviour.
Behaviour Analysts are well qualified to work with children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders, and can also apply their knowledge to therapeutic interventions with adolescents and adults in a counseling setting. Recent research has proven that Behaviour Analysis is the intervention of choice for many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Behaviour Analysts must have undergraduate and post graduate University qualifications and must pass supervision components and exams with the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (www.bacb.com). They must undergo specialised training and ongoing supervision in order to practice and are required to keep up with the latest research.
Psychologists are interested in the way we think, act, behave, interact and react to our environment. They provide counselling, diagnosis and assessment to children, adolescents and adults. Psychologists use evidence based strategies and methods in order to address each individual client’s need. They are trained to provide intervention for people dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship breakdown, acute psychological disorders, and crisis situations. For example, Psychologists are trained to work with couples experiencing marital difficulties; assist families to deal with a diagnosis of a mental or physical condition; consult to schools and community centres around mental health; assess people with disabilities; diagnose psychological disorders such as schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder; provide practical support to parents dealing with their child’s challenging behavior; and help people deal with grief and loss issues.
Psychologists also use specialised assessments to measure an individual’s functioning in a range of different areas, for example; intelligence, academic achievement, emotional health, behavioural assessments, child specific assessments, depression and anxiety. Psychologists can provide mental health care in hospitals, clinics, schools, workplaces and private practices and are often called upon to consult in legal and government settings.
Most Psychologists are trained for a minimum of 6 years and operate under the strictest ethical guidelines. Most Psychologists are members of professional bodies and these bodies govern their practice. For example the British Psychological Society (www.bps.org.uk).
It is important when you are looking to employ the services of a practitioner to research the professional’s training and education. This will ensure that you are receiving a safe and ethical service, and to ensure the intervention or counseling provided is effective.
• U.S.Department of Health and Human Services. "Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General - Executive Summary." U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. Rockville, MD.
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