When Science Cannot Guide us: a Call to Action for Applied Behavior Analysts

Lerman, D.C.

Perspectives on Behavior Science 46(2): 313-320

2023


ISSN/ISBN: 2520-8977
PMID: 37425984
Accession: 090362193

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Abstract
Evidence presented in the ABAI Task Force Report on Contingent Electric Skin Shock (CESS) revealed serious ethical, clinical, and practical problems with the contemporary use of CESS. As a member of the task force, I ultimately concluded that our recommended position statement ("Position A") was a misguided attempt to uphold the field's commitment to client choice. Furthermore, information gathered by the task force supports an urgent call to find solutions to two additional troubling issues: a severe shortage of treatment services for severe problem behavior and the near-absence of research on treatment-resistant behavior. In this commentary, I discuss reasons Position A was not a tenable stance and why we must do better to help our most vulnerable clients.