Copyright © 2018 Empowered: A Center for Sexuality, LLC

Empowering people through sexual education, support, and human connections,
as we all work toward better, more fulfilling lives.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

--Information about Services Offered is below--

ABA is a data-driven but human approach to creating desired outcomes involving any aspect of human behavior, from coping mechanisms and emotion regulation to human connection and social skills. ABA is also effective for physical abilities, such as enhancing one’s finger grip.  ABA is unique from other branches of psychology in that it is systematic and scientific – progress is measured through observable gains rather than perceived ones. All ABA Sessions are individualized.

 ABA is considered a medical practiceand is often used to treat people with learning or social impairments, but it is not limited to these populations.  ​ABA is for anyone looking to learn anything through a methodological and potentially repetitious approach catered specifically to the individual's learning styles and strengths. In instances of "problem behaviors", such as sexual aggression or snapping at one's partner daily when coming home from work, a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is often conducted to determine the function of the undesired behavior so a more desirable outcome can be found that meets the same function.  See more about this in the FBA section further below.

​Is ABA Just for Problem Behaviors?  Is it Autism Therapy?

Sometimes, we want something but don’t know how to get it or achieve it for ourselves.  If there’s a skill that needs building or reshaping, ABA is a proven method of reaching that desired outcome.  (For instance, if a person is attempting to rekindle his romance with his wife after receiving a spinal cord injury, ABA can be utilized to help determine what skills he is capable of and how to achieve an intimate connection with what is physically possible, perhaps by focusing on other physical sensations or the emotional sensations that come with intimacy.)

 ABA can also be utilized to teach educational curriculums to people who require additional assistance with the learning process, for reasons such as Autism, Down Syndrome, or Intellectual Disability, to name a few.  For these individuals, a simple Skills Assessment (a pre-test) replaces the FBA prior to onset of learning.

What is a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) or Functional Analysis (FA)?
In many ABA programs regarding problem behaviors, the first step is a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)​.  This is when a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) conducts a combination of observation and assessment tools to determine the individual’s current state of behavioral functioning.  (For instance, if a person is engaging in a sexually destructive behavior, the BCBA or BCaBA will determine the function of the behavior so a desirable replacement can be determined and progress can be made toward the desired behavior.)

The Functional Analysis of Behavior (FA) is similar, but perhaps more direct and effective.  It involves directly manipulating the situation/environment to ensure problem behavior can occur by providing a variety of conditions under which it may; the resulting data lets the BCBA know rather quickly the function of the behavior.  This would be a secondary measure in most cases, used if the FBA is inconclusive or if the behavior isn't dangerous or unethical to evoke from the client.

               The program is then outlined at length with recommendations; these can often be used to receive funding from insurance or local agencies for services that may otherwise be costly when paid out-of-pocket.  Once the FBA has been accepted and funding approved, the recommendations lead to a Treatment Plan that is then followed and modified as needed to promote success and work toward an end to treatment needs.

ABA Services Offered:

1. In-Home ABA (Private Pay or Insurance)

      A. Sessions typically 2 hours in length

      B. Receive individualized materials and curriculum, goals and data sheets

      C. Behavior Analyst works directly with client toward educational and skills goals​:

​               *Sex Education Curriculum​ Not just taught, but APPLIED to life through role plays and real-world exposure treatments

​               *Dating Assistance

​               *Hygiene Assistance

​               *Sexual Skills Building (Becoming more in tune with the Self and/or Partner)

       D. Receive regular data updates andadjustments to Treatment Plan goals

       E. Treatment Integrity -- Parents or Guardians of clients who are minors or have intellectual disabilities will be trained on implementation

       F. Advocacy Services are included in this; hours will be billed either as Treatment Planning or Private Pay

2. Parent or Staff Training (Can be funded a variety of ways)

        A. In some cases, trainings are all that are needed to facilitate better understanding between people in an environment

        B. When direct therapy can be avoided and costs reduced, why not go this route?

        C. Learn to implement behavioral principles and strategies, and think from a behavioral perspective

        D. Goals set are for the whole family or team

3. ​In-Office Behavior Therapy(Private Pay and DMH clients)

       A. Come to a secure and therapeutic location for a 1-2 hour weekly session with a BCBA to address specific goal areas

       B. Work toward set goals each month and receive a monthly report