ABA Careers

Group Supervision for Behavior Analysts

Joshua Sleeper July 3, 2018

TBH explains the benefits of group supervision and how to implement it

High-quality group supervision for behavior analysts is a worthwhile investment in the long-term health of our field and its practitioners. Executive Director of Research and Clinical Standards, Amber Valentino, Psy.D, BCBA-D, and Executive Advisor, Linda LeBlanc, Ph.D., BCBA-D, authored a journal article for the Association for Behavior Analysts International, which described the benefits of group supervision and a structure for how to implement it effectively. This article served as the first paper to provide recommended practices on group supervision in the field of applied behavior analysis.

The benefits of group supervision for behavior analysts

The group supervision experience allows for many complexities found in real-life practice to be addressed while under the supervision of a mentor. Opportunities for peer feedback, social networking, engaging in positive and productive discussion, public speaking and developing professionalism can all occur during group supervision for behavior analysts.

Individual supervision is vital, but mentoring Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®) should also include regular opportunities for groups of aspiring behavior analysts to come together in structured settings. It is the responsibility of the supervising BCBA to determine what this time together will look like.

Recommended practices for group supervision

Supervision for behavior analysts within a group setting is at its peak when the following occurs:

  • The supervisor creates a regular schedule and standardized format for each meeting. Supervisees get the most value out of social networking, observational learning and the development of empathy  when the leader plans small group assignments, establishes a reading group, or matches individuals with complementary skills.
  • Skills learned during individual supervision are generalized during a group session. For example, the supervisor may prompt their trainee to explain a newly acquired technical term during a discussion with their peers.
  • Public presentation opportunities are available during group supervision for behavior analysts. Public speaking is common within the profession, and advanced practice can be helpful.
  • The supervisor makes specific plans to ensure productivity and positivity. Dr. Valentino and Dr. LeBlanc recommend setting a clear objective for each meeting, starting and ending on time, making adjustments if necessary, designating a note taker during meetings, discouraging distractions and sending notes out shortly after the session is complete.

The observational learning that occurs within group supervision for BCBAs allows for the growth of both knowledge and empathy. If BCBAs can have such learning experiences before moving into their individual practices, the field of behavior analysis will hold more thoughtful and attentive professionals.

Contact us at Trumpet Behavioral Health for more expert advice on group supervision practices.