What Does A Behavior Analyst Do?
Behavior analysts are professionals who research on the fundamental principles that underlie human behavior and use their scientific knowledge of behavior in order to come up with strategies to change it or address the needs of those with unique behavioral needs. Strictly speaking, there are two types of behavior analysts: 1) Experimental behavior analysts and 2) Applied behavior analysts.
Experimental behavior analysts are mainly concerned with researching and studying about the complex and engaging world of human behavior and related concepts like self-control, impulsivity, judgment, human development and social behavior, among others. Because of what they do, applied behavior analysts have a solid foundation on which to do their work. In a nutshell, what the second group of behavior analysts does involves helping people suffering from different kinds of mental health disorders and behavioral issues. They use their knowledge to come up with interventions to modify or change the behavior of their patients for the better.
One of the basic tasks that behavior analysts do is to measure such things as the frequency, duration and interresponse time of a particular behavior. They will then plot the data in graphs and interpret it. After identifying the problem and determining the best way to address it, behavior analysts then utilize positive and negative reinforcement, modeling and imitation training as well as other elements and procedures that are meant to change behavior. In addressing the problems faced by their clients, behavior analysts take into consideration any biological and medical problems that could be affecting their client. This is the reason why behavior analysts often work together with other medical professionals in providing that much-needed intervention to patients.
One of the areas where the expertise of behavior analysts lies is in the field of autism. So far, the proven research-backed treatment for autism is applied behavior analysis. Board Certified Behavior Analysts work with children who have autism spectrum disorders. Their tasks include administering different kinds of assessments and supervising programs for autistic children who are being educated at home.
Aside from handling clients with developmental disorders, behavior analysts also work with patients suffering from addictions and other kinds of psychological problems. They may also specialize by working with a particular age group, such as the elderly where they focus on helping them deal with issues that relate to aging. They may also work in the corporate world where their task is to help management find ways to motivate workers and improve employee productivity.
Evaluation and follow-up of the condition of their clients are an important part of the work of behavior analysts. They make sure to record their observations of the clients and make recommendations to continue or stop interventions based on their response to treatment. Behavior analysts also craft a program for treatment maintenance based on the records they have gathered. They also make recommendations on the behaviors that clients should retain and those that they should remove.
A career as a behavior analyst can be challenging and emotionally taxing. However, helping individuals can also be very fulfilling both at the professional and personal levels. This is the profession for those who fascinated with the complex workings of human behavior and want to use their knowledge to genuinely help people.