An Applied Behavior Analyst is a trained expert who uses empirically established principles of learning, behavioral conditioning techniques, and related environmental modifications to create demonstrably effective and humane outcome-based therapies with the primary goal of establishing and enhancing socially important functional independent living skills.
In practice, an applied behavior analyst uses techniques based on learning theory to shape important new behaviors in individuals with specific behavioral excesses and deficits. Interventions conducted by applied behavior analysts typically include the following components:
The range of behavior issues addressed by applied behavior analysts is broad and deep. The list below is illustrative of, but does not exhaust, the scope of practice of applied behavior analysts:
Although an applied behavior analyst would be trained to employ diagnostic and assessment information supplied by psychologists and other health care professionals, and work in concert with other professionals as necessary and appropriate to set goals and objectives and achieve good treatment outcomes, applied behavior analysis as a practice does not include traditional psychological testing, the general diagnosis of psychopathology, long-term counseling, psychoanalysis, and all those treatment techniques not considered part of practice of psychology.
This statement should not be taken to exclude applied behavior analysts with the appropriate training and credentials from engaging in the aforementioned and other professional practices.
1. This definition is based on and incorporates elements of numerous similar definitions.