2.0 Ethics Case 2

Problem-solving step Your response Response example
Identify the problem

The supervisee appears to lack the skills to integrate the supervisor’s feedback and is demonstrating a lack of understanding of professional behavior in communicating with his supervisor.

The supervisee’s unresponsiveness has halted the progression of an effective supervision program.
Relevant ethical codes

5.03a & 5.03b & 5.05

5.06 Providing Feedback to Supervisees. a) Behavior analysts design feedback and reinforcement systems in a way that improves supervisee performance.
Consider dimensions of the problem

The dimensions of this problem is that the supervisee’s clients may be harmed, the supervisee may not make progress in becoming a BCBA. It is also important to note that the supervisee does not seem to understand the purpose, requirements, evaluation criteria, conditions, and terms of supervision.

Christine has a responsibility to create a supervision program that engages supervisees in progress toward goals and identify barriers to effective supervision. The supervisee also has a responsibility to respond to feedback and actively participate.
These responsibilities and standards for communication and responding to feedback are stated in the contract for trainees and BCaBA supervisees, but there is no contract for RBT supervision.
The supervisee cannot continue to work if Christine refuses to continue with supervision, which might cause conflict with her employer.
Consider courses of action & potential consequences

The supervisor should provide specific explanation of the conditions and terms of supervision, and assign the supervisee only tasks for which he is ready to take on. The supervisor should also provide an explicit explanation of the consequences for not meeting the expectations and requirements of supervision.

Christine can deliver a written warning and plan for remediation with consequences outlined, but she does not have the authority to terminate the RBT’s employment.
Christine also fears for her own employment if she pursues the matter further.
If she continues with supervision, Christine is certain she will be violating the ethics code by signing off on supervision hours that have no effect on the supervisee’s service delivery.
Select a course of action

Meet with the supervisee and review the stipulations and expectations for supervision once again. Explain the consequences for not meeting them. Provide examples and nonexamples of meeting and not meeting these requirements. The supervisor should also assignment responsibilities to this supervisee that are targeted for his current skill level.

Christine decides that her BCBA certification is the most important thing and that continuing with an unethical situation will jeopardize her credentials. She writes a memo to her employer, citing the relevant codes from the BACB, attached a copy of the code, and then proceeds with a plan for remediation. She cannot fire the RBT but she can refuse to provide his supervision.
Implement and evaluate course of action

This plan should be successful. If it is not, it may be necessary to terminate the supervisory relationship.

Christine’s course of action was not the easiest option but it was the only option for her to continue to work as a behavior analyst in the future. Also, putting her foot down will send the message to her employer that she answers to the ethics codes first.