Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 654–666 | Cite as

Compassionate Care in Behavior Analytic Treatment: Can Outcomes be Enhanced by Attending to Relationships with Caregivers?

  • Bridget A. TaylorEmail author
  • Linda A. LeBlanc
  • Melissa R. Nosik
Discussion and Review Paper


The practice of behavior analysis has become a booming industry with growth to over 30,000 Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who primarily work with children with autism and their families. Most of these BCBAs are relatively novice and have likely been trained in graduate programs that focus primarily on conceptual and technical skills. Successfully working with families of children with autism, however, requires critical interpersonal skills, as well as technical skills. As practitioners strive to respond efficiently and compassionately to distressed families of children with autism, technical skills must be balanced with fluency in relationship-building skills that strengthen the commitment to treatment. The current article provides an outline of important therapeutic relationship skills that should inform the repertoire of any practicing behavior analyst, strategies to cultivate and enhance those skills, and discussion of the potential effects of relationship variables on treatment outcomes.


Autism Collaboration Compassion Empathy Family Parents Perspective taking Therapeutic relationship 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

The participants in the survey were not identifiable and provided consent by completing the survey.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alpine Learning GroupParamusUSA
  2. 2.LeBlanc Behavioral ConsultingGoldenUSA
  3. 3.Behavior Analyst Certification BoardLittletonUSA

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