What does a behavior analyst do?

Behavior Analysis is the use of scientific principles to encourage positive behaviors and reduce problematic behaviors.

For example, behavioral analysis can help people:

  • Learn new social skills
  • Learn new habits, like healthy eating
  • Re-establish independent living skills
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce physical and verbal aggression
  • Reduce self-harm  or repetitive behavior

To change behaviors, a Behavior Analyst will look at three things:

  • What is the behavior that needs to be changed?
  • What happened before the behavior?
  • What happened after the behavior?

The Behavior Analyst uses this information to develop a plan to encourage or discourage the behavior.  The plan is given to family and staff so that change is encouraged in all settings. Clients may also be given a plan that they can use independently.  At Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, we refer to these plans as Client Program Procedures or CPPs.

What does a typical session with a Behavioral Analyst look like?

First, the Behavior Analyst will observe the client to gather information.  This may occur at the treatment centers, in the home, or in the community.  The client, family, and treatment team will be consulted. Then a plan will be developed and shared with the team. Families, staff, and clients bring information back to the Behavior Analyst about how the plan is working.  The Behavior Analyst can make changes or recommendations to make the plan more effective.

What kind of training does a Behavioral Analyst have?

Most of the Behavior Analysts working with the TBI population in Michigan have a Master’s Degree in Clinical Behavior Psychology.  Most are also licensed as Limited Licensed Psychologists.  Behavior Analysts may seek out special certification and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  In order to get the certification, BCBAs must complete a 1500 hour supervised internship.  They must also pass a national certification examination.