• Matthew Lunsford

What Does a Behavior Analyst Do?

Updated: 4 days ago



As a behavior analyst, we look at the "why" behind the behavior. What we do is take the clinical diagnosis of a mental illness (psychopathology) which consists of identifying certain behaviors that have been grouped together and classified as a mental illness.


In the world of behavior analysis, we have what is referred to as a "functional diagnosis", which is often referred to as "function of the behavior".


Let's break down the difference:


Functional Diagnosis

  • Refers to the assessment done at the beginning of the initial consultation to determine where a person is mentally.

Function of Behavior

  • Refers to the ongoing process of collecting information with a goal of identifying stressors and triggers in the individual's environment that will help determine the best treatment and target the behavior.

Currently, there are four types of behavior:


Escape/Avoidance - getting away from an undesirable task, person, place, or thing.

  • Often times the person will show aggression, others may seek out something that is more desirable to them and not show aggression at all.

Attention-Seeking - refers to an individual who participates in a series of behaviors that can either be annoying to others or harmful to themselves. The idea is to receive attention in any form; good or bad.


Example

  • An individual who continuously makes themselves burp at inappropriate times (while someone is speaking to them).