Find Your Program is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

5 Key Reasons Applied Behavior Analysis is So Effective

Why Clinical Psychologists Use Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Integration with Family System
  • Supported by Scientific Evidence
  • Scales with Patient Development
  • Quantifiable Progress
  • Personalized Therapy

Out of all the available management techniques for behavioral disorders, applied behavior analysis (ABA) has earned its place as one of the most prominent and effective tools in a clinical psychologist’s arsenal. There are several key reasons behind the success of ABA, including its emphasis on scientific methodology and overall flexible approach to treatment. Understanding the full value of this kind of therapy helps patients, caretakers, and practitioners appreciate the opportunities it provides to people who are struggling with cognitive, emotional or social disorders.

Related resource: Top 25 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs

1. Integration with Family Support

For young patients, the ability to educate domestic family members and incorporate them into the therapy plan is a crucial step towards success. There are many basic behavior analysis techniques that can be applied in the home, and this kind of application can actually be essential for making consistent improvements. Applied behavior analysis therapy can be readily extended outside of a clinical environment and into other core aspects of the patient’s life.

2. Supported by Scientific Evidence

Another reason why many psychologists use applied behavior analysis is the relatively large body of evidence that supports its results. Treatments have been shown to offer benefits for people suffering from a wide range of conditions. However, research related to its applications for intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is the most prevalent, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

3. Scales with Patient Development

Applied behavior analysts apply their expertise to help their patients build social skills and coping mechanisms through an incremental process. They can start small with a single action or interaction, then combine these separate actions together to create a larger pattern that results in more acceptable behavior. The ability to scale from small steps to large leaps as patients develop is another reason why ABA is considered an effective treatment.

4. Quantifiable Progress

ABA is characterized by quantification of therapy and its results. Practicing psychologists evaluate each patient so they can set specific behavior goals and a rough timetable for reaching them. They also record all measurable change and progress in their patient as therapy progresses. Collecting and quantifying information allows behavior analysts to determine the efficacy of the treatment, which lets them adjust and experiment to yield better results.

5. Personalized Therapy

Even though the basic elements of applied behavior analysis are common among all patients and practitioners, each person’s therapy can be tailored specifically to their needs. The ability to personalize and customize treatment programs is one of the most valuable features of ABA. Since patients are direct participants in therapy, they are also partially responsible for the outcome. Psychologists can build treatment programs that cater to and accommodate a patient’s specific needs, strengths and weaknesses.

Behavioral disorders may not be as urgent as medical emergencies, but they can still have a crippling effect on the patient’s life. These disorders can greatly hinder performance at school, limit career potential and detract from interactions with friends or family members. Applied behavior analysis isn’t a perfect therapy, but there are plenty of reasons why it continues to be an effective technique for people facing various behavioral and social obstacles.