Has Behavioral Science Tumbled Through the Biological Looking Glass? Will Brief, Evidence-Based Training Return It From the Rabbit Hole?

Donna M. Midkiff, W. Joseph Wyatt


Time constraints and professional demands leave practicing professionals unlikely to enroll in extended training such as a semester-long graduate course. Thus, the three-hour continuing education format has become a standard for those in practice. One may ask what sorts of training strategies optimize that format. To explore that, a three-hour training program for seventy-six practicing mental health professionals, most of whom self-identified as psychologists, was devised. It made use of primarily antecedent techniques that have been shown to bring about changed perceptions on a number of topics. Content focused on two areas of importance to behavior analysts, the culture’s increasing acceptance of the biological causation model of disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), unipolar depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia, and the field’s increasing reliance on medications, often to the exclusion of behavioral methods. Pre-post assessment showed that participants had changed their thinking regarding the two content areas. The authors caution that participants’ changed opinions may serve as setting events to changes in practice, but those changes are verbal. One must not assume changes in practice techniques will automatically occur.


brief training, continuing education, biological causation, biological psychiatry, pharmaceutical industry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/bsi.v19i0.2240

Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility