Rather than writing up a compelling introduction to this episode, I'm tempted to say, "just listen to the whole thing!" and leave it there. In Session 158, I chat with one of my oldest friends and Auburn classmate (obligatory "War Eagle!"), Dr. Jim Murphy from the University of Memphis, about the impossibly-broad topic of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).
Fortunately for us, Jim has spent over 20 years studying this issue from Behavior Analytic/Behavioral Economic points of view, and he has developed an uncanny ability to discuss these complicated repertoires in easy to understand, everyday terms.
As such, in this episode we cover the following:
Jim was also kind enough to stick around after the interview for a few more minutes in the commercial-free Patreon feed. In this bonus segment, Jim shares his thoughts on drug legalization in America, particularly the legalization of cannabis. If you're interested in checking this out, as well as partaking in other Patreon-only benefits, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations.
Here are the links to the resources we discussed:
Please permit me a few quick housekeeping notes:
This episode is brought to you today with the generous support of:
Dr. Becca Tagg from Del Mar Behavioral Health joins me to discuss the unique approach her agency uses to train early-career BCBAs. This conversation was inspired by the interview I conducted with Dr. Mary Jane Weiss last year, in which we talked about how cool it would be if the field had an ABA equivalent of a medical residency model, so that BCBAs can learn about practicing with a variety of populations.
As you'll hear in the interview, Becca heard this and reached out to say that this is exactly what they do, and we spend the majority of the conversation discussing just how they implement this unique training strategy.
Before we get to the residency topic, we spent a little bit of time catching up since our last chat, and especially focus on how Del Mar's services adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. To this end, I should also note that we recorded this conversation in December, and as such, some of the references may seem a bit anachronistic, but many of these challenges are still with us in the Spring of 2021, so I chose to keep that part of the conversation in this episode.
If you like these types of topics, I suggest that you join the ABA Business Builders Facebook Group if you haven't already done so. While you're there, say hello to Becca!
Here are the links to resources we discussed:
This episode of Behavioral Observations was brought to you with support from:
Dr. Adithyan "Dithu" Rajaraman joins me in Session 156 to discuss his work in the Practical Functional Assessment/Skills-Based Treatment literature.
Dithu is a former student of pod-fave Dr. Greg Hanley, and as one might expect, Dithu approaches his work with a similar degree of humility and open-mindedness. He earned his Ph.D. at Western New England University, and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County
As we discuss in the first few minutes of the show, I met Dithu about four or five years ago at APBA, and I was instantly struck with how well he communicated complex ideas in a manner that just about anybody can understand. We've kept in touch since then, and I was fortunate enough to find a time where we could get together for an in-depth conversation on the podcast.
In this episode, we covered his entry into the field of ABA, the seemingly false distinction of behavior-reduction vs. skill instruction, the basics of the Practical Functional Assessment and Skills-Based Treatment models, dealing with caregiver objections to these approaches, Dithu's research on what he calls the Enhanced Choice Model of skill instruction, implementing these procedures in public school settings, and much more. We also talk about how he stumped me with a question when I was a panelist at an ABAI event…
You’re going to want to stay through to the very end because Dithu provides some really unique advice – not only for newly-minted BCBAs, but practitioners of all experience levels.
The Patreon version of this show involves an extra 45-50 minutes of content, in which we talk about Dithu’s passion for the sport Cricket and field questions from Patrons. Last but not least, Dithu, as some of you might know, is quite the singer, and he ends the bonus footage by sharing his vocal stylings. To get access to this content, as well as commercial-free podcast feeds, discounts on FTF trainings, and more, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations. And while we’re on the topic of Patreon, Dithu has agreed to do a Zoom call with members, where he’ll take questions directly from listeners.
I should also add that Dithu insisted I give some shoutouts to the following folks who helped him with his research, and they include the aforementioned Greg Hanley, as well as Holly Gover, Johanna Staubitz, John Staubitz, Kathleen Simcoe, Rachel Metras, Robin Landa, and Kelsey Ruppel. This research has been recently published in Behavior Analysis in Practice as well, so I recommend you check it out when you get a chance.
If you like Dithu's approach and want to learn more from him, my friends at Behavior University are hosting a webinar with him titled: Enhanced Choice Model: Trauma-informed Process for Assessing and Treating Dangerous Behavior. Behavior University is a sponsor of the podcast, and if you'd like to save on your registration for this event, use the code PODCAST at checkout.
Also, if you're looking for a grad program and you really want to dive deep into this area, UMBC is always accepting applicants to their Master's program in ABA, which is closely affiliated with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and that Dithu is accepting doctoral students in the Applied Developmental Psychology program.
In addition to Behavior University and the Patreon Group, this episode is also brought to you by How-to-ABA. Being a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming. At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. Also, your monthly pro membership includes access to CEU’s! Along with the community of over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource. When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).