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Supervision Has Multiple Relationships with Family Receiving Services

Post Series: Ethics Scenario Archive


I work under a BCBA who is providing services to a family whom she has multiple relationships with. The parents of the client are long-time friends of hers which she openly shared with me. I have expressed concerns about the family being very aggressive and hostile towards my client and will interrupt my sessions to tell me that I’m doing my job incorrectly and have tried to get me to physically force my client to hang from a monkey bar and hold her hands so she cannot move when she engages in stunning. I refused to do it, but the parents still make her do it. I shared this with my BcBA as well as an experience where the father was trying to use intimidation and threats to get the child to stop laughing and I felt unsafe. I told my BCBA that I did not want to work in such a hostile environment and she said that I could leave the case but I had to sit down with the family and tell them why I was unhappy and why I was leaving. She said that she thought it was better if she was not present for this meeting. I feel incredibly uncomfortable with this situation and I don’t know what to do. I believe she is violating ethics code 1.06 and I feel like she is not fulfilling her duties as my supervisor but I’m not sure if there are any other ethical violations happening?


  • 1.06- violation of multiple relationships


  • 4.01- program implementation violations for least restrictive program implementation and behavior change consistent with behavior analytic principles


  • BCBA is violating 5.06 and 5.03 regarding supervisory obligations


  • Next steps- have a more extensive conversation with supervisor and then loop in the BCBA’s supervisor if met with continued resistance. If these steps do not resolve the concerns, it would warrant a complaint with the BACB & AzBOPE
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