In this webinar, Mary Hunter chatted with Cameron Scallan, BCBA, and Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz about their recently published article: “The Constructional Approach: A Compassionate Approach to Behavior Change.”
They discussed what it means to be compassionate, what it means to be constructional, and why all of this matters. We hope you enjoy the recording!
In recent years, behavior analytic practitioners and researchers have begun looking for new ideas for how to increase compassion and empathy in their practices.
However, there are also some old (and sometimes forgotten) ideas from behavior analysis that can give us new perspectives on how to be more compassionate.
In a recently published article, Cameron Scallan, BCBA, and Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz identify three critical features of compassion and explain how Dr. Israel Goldiamond’s (1974/2002) constructional approach provides a framework for being more compassionate.
In this webinar, Behavior Explorer invited Cameron and Jesús to discuss their recent article. We talk about what is compassion, what it means to be constructional, why even bizarre behavior makes sense, and much more.
We hope this presentation will give you new ideas for how you can use the constructional approach to help your clients learn new skills and make positive behavior changes that help them achieve their dreams and goals.
PDF of webinar slides: You can click on this link to view and download the slides from the webinar.
Read the article: This webinar is a discussion of the article: “The Constructional Approach: A Compassionate Approach to Behavior Change” by Cameron M. Scallan and Jesús Rosales-Ruiz. You can read the article for free using this link: https://rdcu.be/dcVOT
Part 1: What does it mean to be compassionate?
We have divided the recording of the webinar into two parts. In the first half of the webinar, our speakers start by discussing their own backgrounds, how the field of behavior analysis has evolved, and why they wanted to write a paper about compassion and the constructional approach.
Then, they continue by discussing a definition of “compassion” and some of the critical features and variable features for the concept of compassion. The first half of the webinar ends with some general thoughts about compassion and a question and answer period.
Part 2: What does it mean to be constructional?
During the second part of the webinar, our speakers focus on how Dr. Israel Goldiamond’s constructional approach can help us to be more compassionate.
They define the pathological approach versus the constructional approach and then go into more detail regarding the four guiding questions of the constructional approach. The webinar concludes with some general thoughts about compassion and the constructional approach, along with more time for questions and answers.
About our speakers
Cameron “Cam” Scallan, BCBA, is a board-certified behavior analyst who supervised clinical services for autistic children and adolescents for five years before deciding to study under Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz at the University of North Texas.
He enrolled in UNT’s M.S. program to improve his conceptual understanding of behavior analysis, gain research experience, and overall develop a repertoire that will contribute to his long-term objectives in academia.
Cam’s primary interest is in instructional design. Specifically, he wants to investigate its use in the training and continued education of behavior analysts. He does, however, enjoy learning and discussing any topic related to the science of behavior. His favorites include behavior analysis in education, radical behaviorism, and ethics. After having published his first conceptual paper this year, Cam is now working on basic and applied projects using the Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab (PORTL).
Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Donald M. Baer. During his graduate training, he also worked closely with Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley.
Dr. Rosales-Ruiz’s areas of interest include antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, animal training, rule-governed behavior, and contingency-shaped behavior.
He has served on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Precision Teaching, the European Journal of Behavior Analysis, and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz is a fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and for the Eastern Psychological Association and a trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Read the article
During the webinar, Cameron and Jesús discuss their recently published article, “The Constructional Approach: A Compassionate Approach to Behavior Change.”
This article was published in May 2023 in the journal Behavior Analysis in Practice as part of a special issue titled “Compassion in Applied Behavior Analysis.”
You can read the article for free using this link: https://rdcu.be/dcVOT
Here is the abstract for the article: Recent criticisms have led some behavior analytic researchers and practitioners to look to other fields, including health care and human service professions, for new ideas on how to increase compassion and empathy in their practices (Rohrer & Weiss, 2022; Taylor et al., 2019). The application of these ideas had led to improved therapeutic relationships between board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) and caregivers of children with autism. At this time, more work is needed to extend a behavior analytic understanding of compassion to the development and implementation of behavior change procedures.
In this article, we identify three critical features of compassion: (1) identifying suffering; (2) demonstrating empathy; and (3) acting to alleviate and prevent suffering. These critical features are then discussed in the context of two behavior change strategies that Israel Goldiamond (1974/2002) formalized, the constructional and pathological approaches. The pathological approach gives priority to the elimination of costly or distressing behavior. The constructional approach gives priority to the establishment, transfer, and reinstatement of repertoires. This article illustrates how the four questions of the constructional approach provide a framework that behavior analysts can use for developing and providing compassionate behavior analytic services.