Breaking down the BACB Code for BCBAs 1.02

Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, Autism, BCBA, RBT

1.02 Boundaries of Competence.

(a) All behavior analysts provide services, teach, and conduct research only within the boundaries of their competence, defined as being commensurate with their education, training, and supervised experience.

(b) Behavior analysts provide services, teach, or conduct research in new areas (e.g., populations, techniques, behaviors) only after first undertaking appropriate study, training, supervision, and/or consultation from persons who are competent in those areas


Alright, so here’s the second regulation within the BACB’s code 1.0 Responsible Conduct of a Behavior Analyst. I forgot to mention that on the last post. There are a total of 10 main codes with different regulations under each one. Yeah, we’re in for a ride on this journey!

To be honest with you, I had to read this twice. At first I was like, what the fuck, that’s the same thing, which it is but the part b is to acknowledge that your knowledge is NOT limited to just your current competency.

Let’s talk about it.

Part A: Don’t do anything that you don’t know. If you do not know why the hell a behavior is occurring or you have never dealt with challenging behavior or potty training or other skills, don’t do it. These are basic examples. We can talk about restrictive and repetitive behaviors, we can talk about severe behavior and multiple diagnoses, or self-injury behavior that is automatic. We can talk about how people are trying to reform the field, myself included. Life examples, we can talk about parenting or ballet (I’m not competent in ballet, I wouldn’t discuss it but I would listen to someone who it competent in it to learn more if I was interested!) We can talk about anything, as long as you are thoroughly educated and trained in it. If not, abort the mission, acknowledge what is within your own realm of knowledge and refer out as needed or seek advice. Thus the need for the next part.

Part B: As a field of science, it is continuously evolving and changing. Therefore, of course there will be new ideas and research that comes out. So part A of this code doesn’t limit you to only what you know. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn about something you don’t know and become competent in the area. Then you can go and provide services and your new knowledge to others. However, make sure you’re learning from someone who knows their shit in that area and not just YouTube. (Not judging, just saying, consult multiple sources!)

That’s it.

If you’re not competent, either get competent by other competent people and knowledgable sources or refer out.

My supervisees can attest to hearing me say on multiple occasions, “that’s not really my area of competency, you can discuss with your doctor.” Sometimes, it’s okay to not know.

Don’t forget to educate yourself.

Visit the codes at the BACB.

-Dear Perception

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