Operant Innovations 015 | Supervision Revisited
After scouring social media and seeing the plethora of questions regarding supervision, we started to seek out resources. We were lucky enough to come across a webinar with Dr. Cheryl Davis and Dr. Dana Reinecke from Supervisor ABA. These two magnificent women have set out to revamp how both supervisors and supervisees approach their supervisory experience to ensure that training is all-encompassing.
For more information - https://www.supervisoraba.com/
Shauna Costello (00:00:02):
You're listening to operant innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA technologies. Before we jump into today's episode, I want to make sure to introduce both Dana Reinecke and Cheryl Davis from Supervisor ABA, and let you know that if you would like any more information regarding supervision or have any questions to please follow the link to supervisor ABA in the description of this episode.
Shauna Costello (00:00:29):
All right, today, we are here with Cheryl Davis and Dana Reinecke from Supervisor ABA, and we're going to be going through a little bit of an FAQ about supervision and finding supervisors and what you should be expecting. Um, but before we get into that, I'm going to pass it over to Cheryl to describe, and tell us a little bit more about supervisor ABA.
Cheryl Davis (00:00:55):
Thanks Shauna. Uh, Dana and I developed a nice way for supervisors to offer their trainee a full package of activities that align with the task list item. So we created a comprehensive bank of readings and activities to choose from for each task list item that allows you to have a permanent product and include the, um, ability to add in the supervision, um, summary, what's it called I always want to call it a Soma but it's a Sosa supervision. What is it?
Dana Reinecke (00:01:28):
Summary of supervision activities.
Dana Reinecke (00:01:32):
Yeah. So obviously, so to help you, um, with your unique documentation system, we have a summary of supervision activities that fits right in with the experience tracker to be your unique documentation system. And we developed this because we thought it's difficult for each individual supervisor to come up with creative, creative, and meaningful ways to provide supervision activities. So we generated a lot of ideas and we keep adding to that bank and we hope that it helps supervisors build better behavior analysts.
Shauna Costello (00:02:02):
Wonderful, and to kind of jump into the questions, it kind of builds right into that first question is, why is supervision so important in the field of behavior analysis?
Dana Reinecke (00:02:14):
Hi, this is Dana and I'm going to address that question, um, because it really does. Um, it, it really is related to why we created supervisor ABA and having worked in the field and taught in verified course sequences and supervised, uh, trainings throughout the years, we both feel really strongly that the signs of behavior analysis is very important and very powerful, and that we can have a huge impact on people, um, with the work that we do. So because the work is so important that it needs to be done really correctly. And because we're addressing socially significant behavior, um, trainees really need to guided carefully so that they are developing those skills and they are practicing safely and ethically and respectfully, uh, throughout their careers. So, you know, supervision is just a huge, has a huge impact. I think we, we both believe on the quality of the behavior analysis. That's going to be practiced in the future. And so it's just really so important that we make that investment at this point, and also just, you know, really to make the point that behavior analysis is a clinical field and any clinical field has supervision, uh, you know, portion of the training. So doctors and social workers and, you know, anybody else that you can think of who is involved in a hands-on, uh, application of, of strategies with people benefits from that hands-on supervision to make sure that they are well-trained and prepared for what they're doing.
Shauna Costello (00:03:56):
And one question I see a lot on social media and you two probably get as well is, you know, how should, how should people looking for supervision go about finding a qualified supervisor?
Cheryl Davis (00:04:13):
That's a great question. And we do get asked that quite a bit as well. And I do see that posted out there in the media, the first thing Dana and I really feel strongly about is, you know, having an onsite supervisor is really going to enhance your supervision. And we know that's not feasible for everybody, but when possible we encourage people to look for employment in a setting where supervision is a part of your program or your job responsibilities, et cetera. Um, now that we know that can't always happen, so some other things people can consider, and this would be before they start their graduate program is they might want to look for a program that offers, um, either practicum, which we know the BACB is fading out, but they also, uh, many programs do offer field work support, where you do take courses in field work and you have university assigned supervisors.
Cheryl Davis (00:05:08):
Uh, so that might be a nice way for somebody to go, who doesn't have that onsite supervision. But we really like to talk to people who are looking for this as thinking about supervision as something you do while you're in school and not at the end, we find a lot of people who ask us this question have already completed their coursework and then start looking for a supervisor. And, um, we would encourage people to really work towards fulfilling their field work hours during their school program, if their state allows it. Now, of course you have to look at the licensing laws are in different States. Um, and that's not always feasible in every state, but doing the two together, your schoolwork with your field work is going to enhance your clinical practice, if you're able to do that. Uh, as a last resort, you can look at the BACB certificate and use the search engine there to find potentially local BCBA people in your area. Um, and then searching broader from there if need be.
Shauna Costello (00:06:07):
Well and you kind of brought this up as well, and you said in-person is more preferable, but it can, might not always be a thing. So, you know, what would you say, virtual versus in-person and if they are doing virtual, how can you, how can the supervisor and supervisee make sure that they're setting that up to be successful?
Dana Reinecke (00:06:29):
I mean, I think ideally yes, we would have in-person supervision for everyone, but with the growth of the field, um, and you know, the availability of supervisors may be limited in certain areas. So remote supervision is a great alternative and a way to bring supervision, you know, to people who might not otherwise be able to access it, uh, in any supervision, whether it's, whether it's remote or in-person, I think organization is key. Um, so we recommend having a plan, having a strategy. Um, that's why we developed supervisor ABA and, you know, we think it's pretty good for that purpose, but there's certainly other, uh, structured curriculums and, and, you know, ways of organizing your supervision out there. So, um, I would encourage you making use of, uh, of some sort of a, um, a structured organization plan, um, to track what your supervisor is doing and making sure that you're having good communication again, whether you're in person or, or remote, but in terms of remote, um, remote supervision really depends on technology.
Dana Reinecke (00:07:34):
So you have to make sure that you have the right technology, that your trainee has the right technology, that everybody knows how to use the technology that they're using. Um, and that, that the technology is both secure and compliant. Uh, and that it, you know, is important to be aware of both from a BACB ethical perspective in terms of, you know, protecting people's privacy and confidentiality, but also whatever the state and local regulations might be. Um, so, uh, uh, the BACB does require and will be requiring more, um, specifically in the new task list that there are, um, uh, specific supervision or I'm sorry, observation periods during each supervisory period. So accomplishing observations remotely can be a little tricky. Um, but on the other hand, it can also make things a little bit easier because you can use recordings and the recordings, you know, allow for like time zone differences and for being able to watch, uh, watch a trainee and then maybe even review it, watch it together with them.
Dana Reinecke (00:08:44):
Um, so there's great things that can be done there, but again, when you're recording, make sure your trainee understands and make sure that you're following up, that they have the right consents to record and that they're using safe and secure platforms for recording and sharing videos and as great as recorded observations are. Um, I also think that it's really important to get some live observations because recordings, as we know, can be, um, presented in, in ways that might not reflect the, the whole situation. So you want to make sure that you're catching some live recordings and using some, um, some, some types of technology like that, like zoom or, you know, whatever, again, if it's a safe and, um, secure platform, then that's fine. Um, just so, but just to make sure that you're getting a good view of the supervisee's, uh, experience and what they're working on in, in total, I think that can be a little bit more challenging with remote supervision. So it's worth a little extra attention.
Shauna Costello (00:09:46):
Yeah. And I can kind of speak to that as well, because I've actually never met my supervisees in person before because we live across the country from each other. But I think something that also kind of the accountability really needs to be there as well. And I'm very lucky with my supervisees that we hold each other accountable to make sure that not only are they getting their stuff done, but I'm also getting my stuff done as well. So, um, it can be done, but yes, it can, remote can be, uh, hard sometimes as well. So, um, but I do like the flexibility. I do like some flexibility that I have there. So that's, that's nice. Um,
Cheryl Davis (00:10:31):
Yeah, I do a lot of remote supervision. I supervise people in other countries and two points that Dana said, and on your end too, you know, I wake up every morning and I watch videos from my supervisees cause they film them short sections and it's also for I supervise the home program, but it's, so it's such an enjoyable way to wake up every day before I even get up. I just can watch the videos and respond to them immediately. But, um, the point about the live sessions that Dana made, um, I am still surprised at sometimes the differences I see when I see an hour long live session rather than the short video clips. Um, you know, I had to put in a rule that they couldn't video select. If they recorded something, they had to send it, they couldn't redo or pick a different program. Um, and I find that that live session really enhances the whole flow of the program. So I think if people are going to do something virtually that those in synchronous sessions are very important.
Shauna Costello (00:11:29):
I think that's a really good point to make as well. And to kind of go on that, you know, what should supervisees know to look for when they're entering into that supervisee or that, you know, that supervisory relationship, like how are, how can they tell if a supervisor is going to be a good fit? You know, especially if there may be a newer BCBA, as well, how can they figure that out?
Cheryl Davis (00:11:56):
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know, like with anything, I mean, if, if it's not part of your job and you aren't assigned a supervisor, I would look at this sort of like a job interview. You're looking for somebody that's a good fit for you and can meet your needs. So you would set up an opportunity to really talk with them about various things. So, you know, keeping in mind, it's important to remember that the BACB recommends that you have multiple supervisors, um, which Dana and I think is a really important role. Um, in supervision, I, in my own practice, I find people never switch off of me into somebody else. I think it's more, a matter of convenience. We already have the relationship and everything going. Um, but when I picked people up part way through their supervision, it's just bringing a different flavor to how you might address the problem or an assessment.
Cheryl Davis (00:12:44):
And I think getting that multiple experiences is really helpful for, um, someone who's getting their field work. So we definitely think about, um, thinking about multiple supervisors, but when you're talking with a potential supervisor, it would be really good to ask them questions such as, um, how do you approach supervision? What are your tracking systems? Um, how would you work with me through the task list? How do you structure supervision meetings? Um, what are your expectations for, um, my observations, how much additional work might you assign me outside of what I'm already doing for courses? Um, and then think about how you, as a, as a trainee, like to be supervised, how you like to get feedback, bringing that into the meeting. This is how I learn best. This is what works for me and see if the person that you're interviewing as a potential supervisor is able to really address the learning style that you might have.
Cheryl Davis (00:13:42):
Um, so that would be a few of the most basic ones. We also really recommend that a trainee go on the BACB website and search and look to make sure that the person is qualified to provide supervision. I would definitely ask for, um, the CEU certificate. So like I was, I was certified in 2013. I should have to show at least my last three hours from my last research, because, you know, you don't want to get to the end and realize your supervisor wasn't really qualified. And so I think doing your due diligence and in a nice way, like, I just want to make sure we, all our hours are gonna count is really important. Um, I find that a lot of supervisees don't do that. I actually do it as part of my going over our contract or initial contract. I, if they haven't already looked me up, we look it up together and I tell them what it means. So then if they switched to a different supervisor at some point, they'll know, to look them up and how to follow through with that. So I think those are probably the highlights. Did I miss anything? Dana?
Dana Reinecke (00:14:40):
I would just add that, um, you know, as a faculty member, I find that a lot of my students have questions about supervision that their supervisors can't answer, and that's always really alarming to me. Um, you know, and I, I do, when I see that someone's asking a lot of questions about supervision and I know that they're under supervision and I, I will kind of like discuss it with them. Have you asked your supervisor about that? What did you look at the experience standards together? And if not, then, then I, you know, have kind of a Frank conversation with them about having a supervisor who is well-versed in supervision, um, and making sure that they are being guided correctly. I'm more than happy to answer questions and to provide that guidance, but it does concern me if a supervisor doesn't know the standards, um, or how to find the answers. So I would say as a, as a potential trainee, and I know this is difficult because you don't know what you don't know, but, um, reading the experience standards, it really forcing yourself to read through them and make sure that your supervisor knows some of that basic information would be a good starting point at a minimum.
Shauna Costello (00:15:54):
Yeah. And I think that that's a really good point too, because I find myself going back to the experience standards almost all the time, even though I think I've read through it a million times, I'm always like, let me go through and check again. And I know for me too, the first, um, typically this is kind of changing with fifth edition stuff now, but, uh, typically, you know, I'm the first supervisor that some of the students that I see that they'll see and they'll come to and, you know, they've never used the tracker. They've never really dealt with the task list. They don't. So the first month at least is really, you know, walking them through and being like, okay, we were going to fill all of this out together. Let's pull the task list out. Let's see what, what are your, what were you doing, you know, this week? How are, where are we matching this up to the task list? And, but I mean, I think both of you made a really good point too, that, that that's not always necessarily a supervisor might not always do that. And so that's where the supervisee also has to hold their supervisor accountable as well. So I think that that's a really good point that you two made is that don't assume your supervisor knows everything cause they might not. Um, and so this next question can kind of go both ways, I guess, with a supervisor and a supervisee, but you know, when should a supervisor deny somebody that's coming on as a supervisee,
Dana Reinecke (00:17:37):
I think there's two, um, two potential things to consider here. Uh, one is the supervisor's capacity. Um, I think that, and I'll speak for myself, but most everybody that I know in this field is an overachiever. Um, we all want to do good things. We all like take on as much as we can. We tend to, um, you know, to, you know, not want to turn people away and not say like, sorry, I can't help you. Um, so, and that's a hard thing to do, but I do think that it's, you're not always doing someone a service if you take them on and you don't have the capacity. Um, so really thinking hard about what supervision means are you ready to take on this responsibility? Do you have the time in your schedule to be not only the actual meeting hours, but to be organized about it and to plan and all of that?
Dana Reinecke (00:18:32):
Um, second on the supervisor side is there competence. So if, uh, if someone is looking for supervision and they're working in a setting or in a context that I don't have a lot of training in then I probably shouldn't be their supervisor, you know, so it may be somebody who has a, you know, they're working in a nursing home or in a, some other geriatric facility, but I've never had that experience. Yes, it's all behavior. Yes, it's still people, but it would not be as, um, you know, appropriate for someone who doesn't have that level of specialized training to be the supervisor. Um, on the other side of the coin is, you know, the supervisor can be selective about the trainees that they will accept, um, and continue to work with. So I know that some supervisors will expect to see some minimal competencies in their trainees before they will agree to take them on.
Dana Reinecke (00:19:29):
And that's a totally personal decision. Are you looking to teach someone from page one of Cooper, Heron, Heward, or are you looking to take someone on, who's got a little bit of experience and you're going to help them to build their skills? Um, so whether or not the trainee has sufficient background knowledge for what the supervisor is interested in doing is the trainee in an inappropriate setting? Is this even going to be feasible? Are you going to be struggling with them the whole time to help them figure out how to get their hours and how to, uh, you know, have things to do and have enough, uh, indirect activities to do if someone is working in a law firm or a bank, um, kudos to you that you want to get this experience, but you're not working someplace where you can get those experience and unless you're willing to get another separate job or replace your job, um, or do a lot of volunteer work, we might not be able to make this work.
Dana Reinecke (00:20:24):
Um, and then I would say like, if, if a trainee has started with a supervisor, but they're not compliant, they're not completing the tasks. They're not, um, they're not reliable. They're not showing up on time, they're missing sessions. Like we can cut all of that off really early in the beginning. Um, because I would expect, you know, early on in the supervisory relationship for trainee to be very, um, engaged and, and reliable and working hard at this, not that they shouldn't be that way throughout, but, um, in the beginning there, uh, if, if we're not seeing that, then we might want to have a really serious conversation, make sure we look at the contract together again, and point out, like, these are the things that we agreed to, and I'm not seeing that from you yet. So maybe this isn't the right situation for you. Um, and, and, you know, offer some suggestions for how to either make it the right situation or to find something that will suit them better.
Shauna Costello (00:21:27):
I think that that's a really good point, too, especially when you brought up like the other locations or, you know, like maybe you can't get experience there. Um, that's one thing that, uh, people come to ABA tech to be like to work for ABA tech as practicum students specifically so that they can get nonclinical experience, um, because we're not a clinical company, you know, we do a lot of internal continuous improvement with processes and trainings and, you know, it's a lot more of like the training and we do instructional design and a lot of this other stuff. And so, so that's, you know what I mean, that's something that is a little bit non, probably not typical for sites and getting experience, but also when you mentioned prerequisites, that's one thing too, is we typically have, we typically wait until the graduate students have taken their OBM courses or at least their intro to OBM course before they come to us, because we want you to have a little bit of that intro knowledge before coming into, you know, if you're a first semester grad student and we're throwing you into instructional design stuff and precision teaching and this and that, you might, you know, we don't want to set you up for failure. So, so yeah, I really liked that you mentioned all of that stuff.
Dana Reinecke (00:22:55):
And I just want to jump in back in for a minute though, and just, just say that I love that you are providing students with the opportunity to learn, you know, behavior analysis skills in those, in those what I think of as different areas, you know, but, um, we, we tend to focus and my, I know my students tend to really focus on clinical work, um, and expect that that's where their experience is going to be. But I think that's such a great and important point, and yes, you can get BCBA supervision working in a bank or a law firm because, you know, you could be doing OBM work, and I think that's fantastic. Um, if you have the right supervisor and if the setting is open to it too, so you also have to be able to do the behavior analysis work in whatever setting you're getting supervision in.
Dana Reinecke (00:23:43):
And that goes for the, you know, non clinical settings, as well as the clinical settings. So someone who is working as maybe a teaching assistant in a public school who wants supervision, we're only going to be able to go so far, um, unless they're willing to do a significant amount of work outside of school hours. And the school is willing to allow them to do some of the things that they need to do with clients that would not fall within their typical job responsibilities. So, um, um, I'm glad that you brought that up because I do always appreciate that reminder that, you know, behavior analysts are, um, in so many ways places and, you know, people should be trained in those different areas.
Shauna Costello (00:24:25):
Well and I'll say, honestly, it can get really hard actually, you know, trying to make sure that they're getting all of their task list knowledge, you know, not in a clinical setting. Uh, so it can actually be kind of difficult because the, you know, the task list can be very clinical. And so, um, yeah, it can, sometimes it can sometimes be very hard to be like, okay, how are we going to do this? It's like, okay, do we need to send them to the clinical setting just to, you know, like go learn this really quick? Um, or how can we make this work in our, you know, in our company. So, um, it's definitely, um, it keeps me on my toes. I'll tell you that much. That's for sure. Um, but that's one thing too, that honestly, it's the next question that I have is how do you avoid teaching or supervising to the task list?
Cheryl Davis (00:25:19):
So that's a great question. I simply put, you just don't do it. Um, I think the point of the task list is to identify the competencies needed to be a behavior analyst. And I typically see the opposite problem. I see supervision where it's all about case consultation and supervisors aren't necessarily bringing task lists into that supervision. Now, of course you could be talking about, you know, um, something like a token economy and for a client and working with them. I just don't find in supervision, people are always then touching the task list and saying, these are the components of the task list that are involved with this programming or what we're doing. Uh, so one of the things, um, that we Dana and I feel strongly about is really looking at supervision as more than case consultation and to be effective in your supervision, you have to make sure that your supervisees are proficient with all items on the task list.
Cheryl Davis (00:26:13):
So you want to make sure while you're conducting the supervision, that you are a, uh, supervisees are competent in both verbal and practical competencies across all task lists items. And one thing we've done with supervisor ABA is we've made these projects where, um, there are multiple task list items associated with a particular skill. So we might have one on parent training. We might have one on FDA's, um, we might have one on preference assessments, et cetera. And we've we've tagged, which are the comp uh, the task list items that are in each project, so supervisors can know. And I think it's really important for the trainees to see too that, oh, a task list items from A go with C go with G all together into this project. And I'm using all these skills that nothing's in isolation, so to speak. So that's something that I think is really helpful with ensuring that your supervisees are competent verbally and practically in the task list items.
Cheryl Davis (00:27:19):
Uh, and I would encourage supervisors to have the task list, right, as part of your supervision meeting, you're revisiting it and revising it. I think one thing that people maybe forget in supervision is that at the end, when I sign the final experience verification form, I'm saying that my trainee has covered all these items on the task list. Like, of course their college and their, their, um, ADAI approved program. Now it's not BCS anymore. I forget what it's CBS, I think. And, um, so I think like it's really important to know that I'm saying as a behavior analyst, that they have covered all of these things, but not doing any of them in isolation, that's not effective for their applied practice.
Shauna Costello (00:28:00):
Well, and one thing too, that I noticed that I started doing with, um, with my supervisees is in one of the very first group meetings that we have. I'm like, okay, let's pull the task list out. I said, name something that you did this week, name one task you did this week. And then as I give them all, you know, a couple minutes to go through the task list and write down which task list items match that task. And it's really funny actually, because when we come back together and say which ones it was, not everybody says the same task list items.
Dana Reinecke (00:28:36):
Ah isn't that interesting.
Shauna Costello (00:28:37):
It's what I have found out. Um, especially like, you know, you have to like, be like, okay, how is this actually fitting into the task list? And so, yeah, we we've come back and people will say completely different items. And then we'll be like, okay, well, why? And then I have them justify the task list to me. So that's one thing that I've seen help with. Some of my grad students is like, see the little cogs turning in their brain like, oh yeah.
Cheryl Davis (00:29:09):
No, I do the same thing. I watch videos. I do supervision through a practicum program and we watch the videos. And I, um, say like, what, what did you choose? Which tasks this item and explain it to me first. And oftentimes when I'm watching it, it's not the primary task list items with me. And then we talked about how it fits into all these different components or how sometimes even this last week, it was not what she thought. And I was like, so why is it that? And why isn't it. And I think that that is an advantage of doing any video recording when you can see things together and talk about them and share. I think that that's a really nice added aspect.
Shauna Costello (00:29:47):
But speaking of, kind of mentioned some group supervision there or individual, do you think that one is more important than the other, do you think group is more important or individual is more important or, you know, what are the pros and cons to each of them?
Dana Reinecke (00:30:02):
So I think that, um, I think that individual supervision is sufficient. Um, I think it's, it's important. It's probably more important than group supervision. And, and that's the way, you know, the BACB experience standards are set up that you can't have more than 50% group supervision, um, for a reason. Um, and I think that individual supervision is really important for individual assessment of competency, training, you know, um, even just creating like a, a secure environment to learn within, I think sometimes, you know, it's, it's really helpful to have that one-on-one relationship, but I also think it can be really lonely to be a behavior analyst. Um, you know, uh, not everyone is married to a behavior analyst, um, or has a bunch of behavior analyst, friends. And, um, I know even, even for me who I do have a lot of behavior analyst friends and people in my life, when I was like at times working in different clinical settings, it was like, where's my people.
Dana Reinecke (00:31:09):
And, um, so it's so important to know how to network, to know how to work with other Behavior analysts, to have to develop those relationships and to foster them and continue them. So I think that's a really nice benefit of group supervision is you're kind of creating a little family of behavioral analysts that will hopefully continue to have some interaction with each other and to continue to support each other because let's face it, we're usually the only people working in some of the settings that we're working in, you know, who, who have our perspective. And we have to really, um, seek out that support, you know, in an, in a less formal way. But even the learning experience of group supervision is really nice because you get to model, they get to model from each other, they get to teach each other, they get to learn from each other.
Dana Reinecke (00:32:00):
Um, you know, there's so many skills that can be practiced in a group supervision setting that will go on to be really important parts of their, of their practice as behavior analysts, training others, having supervisees in a group, give them different task list items, or different projects and let them, you know, each go off and do their own research and then come back and present them to each other. And it's like, you're doubling their, their exposure with half the work for each of them. Um, and giving them that opportunity to not only learn from each other, but to practice teaching each other. So it could be kind of like an inter-teaching situation or any of those other really beneficial, interactive types of learning activities. Um, so I, I liked the idea of group supervision, if it can happen. Um, I don't think it's necessary. Um, and I don't think it's as I think if you had to pick one, I think you have to pick the, you know, individual, but group supervision can definitely have a nice component, um, for the trainees and for the supervisor experience too. So it's not just, so it's up to limited interaction.
Cheryl Davis (00:33:08):
I just wanted to piggyback on that for a second because, um, you know, one thing I find is a lot of agencies don't utilize group supervision enough. They sort of feel like, oh, I have my training and that's who I do. They don't really think about, you can have multiple supervisors at the same time. Um, and that capitalizing on that really helps with the case load of the supervisor where right. If I, if I meet with my supervisee once a week, and then somebody else does a group supervision session with them once a week, and maybe you cycle in, I, I do the group every month and you do one and Dana does one. It's a, it's a nice way to, to, um, capitalize on time, which I always think is a hard part of supervision. And I think that the, um, aspect of getting the different, it's a nice way to get different supervisors, if you have different group BCBAs leading that group. So that's something that's important. And then just to capitalize on the last point is keeping in mind that 50/50 ratio is per cycle. So people can't exceed the 50% of group supervision per month.
Shauna Costello (00:34:10):
I've just started to really enjoy group supervision. Like I like our individual meetings because for me, some of my, some of my students is like more of their like personal goals that they want to work on and not necessarily share with the group. Like maybe they tell me they're struggling with time management and it's like, okay, well, you know, we're going to focus on your time management skills, you know, in your individual meeting. Whereas it's probably not something you want to tell to like the entire group, but then in the group meetings, what I find out, um, especially when we're talking about dissemination and, um, you know, like creating content to disseminate behavior analysis, the collaboration that I start seeing with all of them, like just bouncing ideas off of each other is just probably one of the coolest things, because, you know, it always takes a few weeks to get there.
Shauna Costello (00:35:04):
Um, but yeah, it's really neat to see them working off of each other and working through things together. And so I really enjoy group supervision as well. So, um, and also for us group supervision is a really good spot for like, if other people in our company want to come in to a meeting or something, it's like, it's always on this day, it's always, at this time. We're like here you go, come on in. If you need to talk to all of them, this is where you can get them. So, um, but yeah, I do. I enjoy both for different reasons. The next one too, I know it was right up both of your alleys and, um, I've taken, you know, webinars by, by you as well, but you talked about the task lists and not teaching to the task list, but should supervisors also be teaching cultural competence and, you know, like what are some of these other skills that, you know, supervisors need to be teaching beyond the task list?
Cheryl Davis (00:36:05):
Yeah. Um, so I would say competency for cultural competency as well as Dana and I also believe in compassionate ABA. So what we think about with any supervision session, how are we working on a few areas that should be addressed in every supervision session, which would include the cultural competency you asked about? Um, it would probably also include ethics. How are you going to build ethics into every supervision session? And then also compassionate ABA, how are you building afuture behavior analyst who is compassionate in their practice. Um, and, and as a trainee, compassionate in their applied setting. So we sort of look at those three areas as being just a necessary component of each supervision session and that the trainee you're working with will have those skills based on you being able to review them in every supervision session you have. Um, now you might want to have particular activities that you do that is a competency that assesses that in some ways, um, but really making it, um, part of not, not just as a separate consideration, but as a combination and looking at how this fosters the habit of considering cultural sensitivity, um, and relating issues as a professional in general.
Shauna Costello (00:37:25):
How do you think too, like, there might be some areas that we're working in that we might not necessarily be coming into contact with a lot of these things naturally. So how would you suggest that supervisors can make sure they're bringing some of this stuff into their training, even if their supervisees aren't, you know, coming across this stuff naturally,
Cheryl Davis (00:37:50):
The two things I think about when you ask that question is one, you know, what can I, I always go back to the RBT checklist that you sign off on, right? And the BACB says these are required. You have to see them working with a client with these and these other things you can do through interview or roleplay, right? So I like to think about the task list in the applied setting. Of course, I want to see them do it, everything in person that I can, right. But the things I can't like, I work in public schools, they're not going to conduct a functional analysis, like in the districts that I consult in, that I supervise people in that that's just not likely to happen. Um, nor would I want them to, if they don't have an onsite behavior analyst. So, you know, how do I fit that into the practice and ensure that they would have the skill?
Cheryl Davis (00:38:34):
You know, I feel very confident about something like that, because we can review it. We can talk about it. I can get their verbal competency. I could even share data. They could draw conclusions about that. But if they ever left that setting, they're not going to go do an FA on their own, because they're not, you know, that's outside of their scope of competency. They would have to have supervision to build that skill. So I think if there is there's ones that are, have to be done in the setting, and you have to figure out how to make them happen, versus the ones that don't. Now, I do have supervisees who I pull off their case. Like there was no FBA needed in their classroom, but there's one in another, for another student in that building. And when the principal's position, uh, permission, sorry, or somebody like that, they, they do the FBA with me, or, and then eventually they do it on their own for the school. And I just like, look at it. So I think there's ways to be creative, but it goes back to what Dana said at the beginning, the setting has to want them to be getting their BCBA and know that they might be doing, asking to do things outside of their, their assigned job roles.
Shauna Costello (00:39:40):
I like that a lot. And yeah, I think that that's just something too that sometimes I didn't really notice that I was going to have to try so hard to get some of these things and get my, my students, some of these experiences, because I'm just like, oh yeah, it was easy for me to get mine, but yeah, once you become a supervisor, it's a whole different, whole different thing. Um, but also speaking about students and how, what they're learning in their coursework, um, how can you potentially supplement learning? You know, if your supervisees are not necessarily getting what they need from their coursework.
Dana Reinecke (00:40:25):
So, you know, supervision is the practical application of what they're learning in their coursework. So hopefully it's naturally like complimenting and helping them to bring those concepts along. Um, and that kind of also goes back to, to what we were saying earlier about what are the minimum competencies that you want someone to have when you're going to be supervising them? Um, you know, if are you prepared to start supervising someone who's just learning the very basics or are they expected to have some skills already, um, and that you're going to give them the experiences that will help them to develop some of the higher level, um, concepts. Um, but that being said, of course, you know, there are concepts that are more difficult than others for anybody. Um, no matter, you know, where somebody's at in their program. Uh, and in those cases, I think like first developing and having a good rapport and being the kind of supervisor that your trainee can come to and say, I don't understand this, what is generative learning or, you know, stimulus equivalence, or, you know, I, I need examples.
Dana Reinecke (00:41:35):
Um, and being, being approachable in that way is important. Um, and then just providing as much additional material as you know, is reasonable that, you know, maybe some articles that are readable at a, at a, a little bit of an easier level, some blogs, some things like that, you know, maybe guiding them into how to find some of that material and know that it's, that it's good. Like, you know, maybe listen to an operant innovations podcast on that topic and to, uh, to hear it, instead of just reading it, and we know that this is safe and appropriate content, we know that this is going to be accurate, um, YouTube videos, um, again, you know, any of those popular media things, if it's not coming from a source that, that is known to you, then certainly watch it or read it together with them so that you can talk about if there's any errors or any corrections that you would make.
Dana Reinecke (00:42:31):
Um, if having them identify the errors is a great teaching tool as well. Um, we, we do recommend a lot of different readings and videos and podcasts on our Facebook page. Um, so if you're not, uh, on, you know, following the supervisor ABA Facebook page, that might be a good thing to do, because at least a couple of times a week, we post some links to resources that can be helpful for some of those tricky concepts or just helping trainees to, um, you know, to teach them to identify concepts in less formal settings, which can be another good way to tackle and master some of your coursework content.
Shauna Costello (00:43:15):
But one thing too, that seems to be impacting a lot of supervision and just gaining experience right now is COVID, um, I've seen, you know, there's been a ton of talk about this, not only on social media, but also with the cohorts that my students are in. Uh, they're very lucky. Most all my students are very lucky because most of their work is unrestricted anyway. Um, the very small portion counselors with a client. So how can you accommodate for this? You know, what are some, you know, ways to give some of those more unrestricted hours?
Cheryl Davis (00:43:55):
Yeah. Um, so I actually found that my supervisees who went remote actually got a lot more unrestricted hours with COVID because they're not working directly with the clients in schools. Like I supervise a lot of people who are teachers who are working towards getting their BCBA or home-based staff. Initially, of course, they went back. So, um, things such as a parent training, like how to work with the parents on increasing those skills, um, revising behavior management and prompting strategies for remote learning. Um, that's been such a large component of an added thing we're doing now with COVID. So I think that, um, there's a lot of different ways that that can be done. The trap we find people fall into it here is, um, that supervisors assign these random projects and things to do. Like, I might, I might hear somebody say, yeah, um, my supervisor assigned me an article to read on toilet training cause I was off on COVID.
Cheryl Davis (00:44:53):
And duh duh duh duh, well if they're not using that article on toilet training to write a client program to train somebody to do the toilet training, then it doesn't count as unrestricted time. And the BACB has reemphasized that the unrestricted hours must benefit the client. Um, and that's something that we really hope supervisors are paying attention to in the sense of that, they can't just be these random assignments. Now you might want to have them read an article on toilet training for some reason, but it doesn't, it, it doesn't count as hours under that. So it's, you just have to be very clear on what, what you're assigning that counts as unrestricted time and what is just for the benefit of learning. So that's important. And then, um, like with the tele-health, that's been another way to really increase, I think, unrestricted time, but we actually have a list on our website, Shauna, um, that is posted for the general public to have about, um, unrestricted activities and giving people suggestions on how they might incorporate them into their supervision.
Cheryl Davis (00:45:57):
So the two other things that we didn't quite talk about that I just wanted to jump on was one was looking at, um, having, when you asked me the question about it doesn't occur naturally in their work setting, really wanted to think about having supervisees, maybe change, work settings, um, that can be a really added benefit for people who are doing their field work, um, volunteer, get a part-time job, something along those lines that might be helpful in their supervision because, um, I find a lot of people when they become behavior analysts they've only ever worked in one place, and they only have that perspective of, you know, how, how a discrete child's done or how you prompt the task analysis instead of it being individualized. And I find that the more work settings the trainees are in during their field work, the more, um, tools they have to draw upon as a behavior analyst.
Shauna Costello (00:46:51):
Yeah. And I like that you said that too, because both of you have talked before about having multiple supervisors and different supervisors. And I also think it's very good to have, you know, different locations and different experiences as well. So I think that that kind of all plays together. Um, and I'm glad that you mentioned that your, uh, the website and the unrestricted list on there. Cause I actually had it pulled up, um, cause I was looking at it while you were talking. Um, but yes, it is on the website and of course the website will be included in the description of the podcast episode as well. Um, but those are all the questions that, you know, I had come up with. Are there any other, I know that you two get a ton of questions and I know that you have an FAQ section on your website as well, but are there any other big things about supervision, big questions that you get about supervision at all?
Dana Reinecke (00:47:49):
Um, I think a lot of people have questions about how to structure supervision, um, both like really big picture, where do we start on the task list? How do we advance through the task list? How fast should this go, like, you know, that kind of thing. And also what do we do during supervision meetings? So, um, we've put together some resources for those questions. You know, the, the task list itself, the overall structure of supervision, we tend to take a project based approach, um, which we mentioned a little bit earlier, but thinking about what's the final product that this person should be able to do, should they be able to design a research study? Should they be able to read an article and understand it? Should they be able to, um, design a measurement system and validate it, should they be able to conduct an FBA or an FA and then develop a bit?
Dana Reinecke (00:48:41):
So all of those things, you know, like we advocate thinking of that long-term goal and then backing up and seeing what the person needs to accomplish that goal. Um, so that's one way to structure supervision, you know, which project you should start with or exactly where on the task list you should start is probably very situation dependent. Um, so it's probably a good idea to, to, to think about being flexible in that way. And then the structure of the supervision session itself, um, I think is important because it's very easy for a supervision session to get carried away with, you know, maybe the immediate problem that the trainee is having. And it's totally fine to do that and to, you know, take your agenda and get rid of it if necessary, if someone is really struggling with something or if, you know, there's a really teachable moments happening.
Dana Reinecke (00:49:35):
But I have found, you know, in my supervision experience that if I didn't have a good plan, we spent a lot of time just chatting and you know, that that's not helping anybody. And what we need to do is no like, okay, we have this time to catch up on what you did last week to go over the assignments. Here's the time to talk about a new concept that, you know, we're both prepared to discuss here's time for some BST here's time for planning for the future. Here's time for, um, talking about your coursework, if that's helpful, just to make sure that we don't lose, you know, lose focus during the supervision sessions.
Shauna Costello (00:50:11):
And that's what I have found too, for mine as well. I, whenever I open up a zoom room to meet with them, I also open up the agenda and I just have it split screen on my computer and I make sure, and, you know, I have a spot on the, of mine that says like how long we actually talked about those things. So I can kind of see like what we focused more on during that week. Cause you know, some projects of course are, have more emphasis on them certain weeks, but, um, yeah, I have the same. I have the same stuff. There's a spot in there where, you know, we always cover the tracker. There's a spot on there for competencies. Like if we're doing something very specific, so like BST or, um, I mean a lot of their projects cover their competencies. I try to work them in, but it's one of those things like the facilitating the competencies that aren't necessarily coming naturally in our setting. Sometimes we have to set extra time aside for those. Um, but yes, I often go up, we often go off on tangents too after a while with the students,
Cheryl Davis (00:51:19):
I think the other two questions we get asked. And so we tend to get questions from supervisors. Um, but one of the things that will often come up is what to do if my trainee isn't doing what they're supposed to do, they're not following through with assignments, et cetera. Now you could argue the same thing could be true for a trainee. If my supervisor isn't following through with what he or she said they were going to do. Um, and so, you know, our answer to that is revisit. That's a perfect time to revisit your contract and are they meeting the requirements? Um, in, in my contract that I do, I have basically, um, kind of, you know, we're professors also. So I follow some of the things like if you aren't going to do what we, I assigned or we agreed to, I don't assign, we agree to it at the supervision meeting before our next meeting you have to let me know in advance, like even just an email, I didn't get to it. And if that happens frequently enough, so if it happens three times, I revisit our contract and in our contract, I have that, that could be a criteria for discontinuing the supervision relationship. Um, I haven't really had that happen. I find if you're very reinforcing with your trainees about their work and task completion, and of course you want people who are motivated to do that, but, um, I think that's a nice way to use your contract to your advantage, to like, or, and talk about things. Should you slow down your supervision? Do you really need to maximize 130 hours a month? You know, maybe not. Um, most people, most grad programs are six full semesters with the change of the task list. So that's another, you know, you don't have to capitalize on that many hours. So there's things to think about to sort of, um, mitigate that along the way. I think
Shauna Costello (00:52:57):
That brings up a really good point too. Especially when you talk about like bringing back up the contract, one thing I found myself doing, and I think that this might fit in with kind of practicing compassionate supervision, as well as hopefully modeling for them someday as well. But one thing too, if that's happening with my supervisees, I'll take time out of their individual meeting and be like, okay, why isn't it, like, let's, let's, let's figure out what your barriers are like, is there some, like, what is like, is something actually going on like that, like, you know, that we need to fix or work on or you know, what's getting in the way because you know, it isn't necessarily strictly about, okay, it's not, you know, we want them to get all their work done and they need to get their work done. But I mean, we're all human, there's lots of stuff going on right now too. And so I want to make sure I'm taking that into consideration when, when they're, you know, if something's not getting done, you know, it's like, okay, why what's going on? Making sure they're okay. So
Cheryl Davis (00:54:06):
Yes. Yeah. That's a great point. I should have started with that. Um, the other point we often get, people will say to us when we do workshops or something is they'll say, wow, you know, we, we talk about how supervision emulates how your trainee is going to then conduct supervision. Right? So what I do with my trainees now is how they're going to format supervision moving forward. And, um, I do all my supervision at no charge. Like if it's not part of the contract with the agency I'm working with, I just do it to, unless I'm doing it through a university, I do it to build more people who are behavior analysts with the promise that they do the same thing like that. They're giving you that promise. Right? And so I feel a lot of pressure that I provide, like I model good supervision, but what Dana and I will often have when people come to our workshops is they'll say, I'm starting to think maybe I had a poor supervisor and I don't think my supervisor did every item on the task list, or I don't think they did X, Y, or Z.
Cheryl Davis (00:55:06):
And so if supervisors think about one thing, you know, kind of with what you started with with your first question is why is this important? Well, because what we do is very important work. You know, we are changing socially significant behavior in the lives of others. And if our trainees aren't doing that effectively or don't how to train other people to do it well, future behavior analysts, um, you know, that's not good for our field. So I think people should feel a lot of weight about the importance of their supervision practice and, and how doing it, um, ethically, correctly, compassionately, thoroughly are all things that are super important.
Shauna Costello (00:55:49):
Yeah. And I think that I could completely see how, um, after sitting through one of your, you know, your compassionate supervision webinars, I can see how people are, would be like, oh, wow. I don't know if my supervisors did that kind of stuff. Um, because I know that I actually, it's a good point. I supervise a lot like how I was supervised and, um, you know, I've taken parts from, you know, multiple of my different supervisors, but, but yeah, I mean, you're, you're creating the next generation of supervisors. So that is a, that is a pretty heavy weight to put on your shoulders. I don't know if I've ever really thought of it like that, but yeah, that's a very good point to make.
Dana Reinecke (00:56:33):
And I think we're modeling, you know, not just supervision, but, but being a behavior analyst and being a good human being as a behavior analyst, um, and approaching everybody with the, um, benefit of the doubt and, you know, seeing everybody as a product of the circumstances that they're in and how can we help people, you know, to, to have happier, more fulfilling, more, you know, better, um, circumstances so that they can contact more reinforcers and, you know, grow and, and accomplish the things that they want to accomplish. Um, and just having that, modeling that as a supervisor, reminding your supervisor, your trainee to approach their work in that way is just so incredibly important. Um, especially because we need to do a lot of good public relations work, we really do. Um, and making sure also that you're trainee knows how to talk to parents and how to talk to other professionals and how to present themselves in the field, um, in, you know, a very positive and, and appealing way so that they can help as many people as possible.
Shauna Costello (00:57:45):
Well, I mean, thank you too so much for talking. Do you, do you get any other things that you want all, any final notes that you want to make sure to put out there?
Cheryl Davis (00:57:56):
Well, since this was primarily made for the trainees, I think that perspective of this evolves around that, I would say, um, definitely if you don't feel like you're getting effective supervision, um, consider a way in to terminate your current relationship and find someone else, and really just it's, you know, I can do what I do today because of the people who trained me to do it, my coursework was important passing the test of course is important, but it's the people who modeled the good clinical practice for me that allows me to be the behavior analyst I am today. And so getting really good supervision is really important. And I think, you know, if it's not the right fit, moving on is very important, uh, consideration. Dana?
Dana Reinecke (00:58:43):
I agree. And I I'll just say from, you know, similar kind of, um, advice to the supervisor is if you are recognizing maybe, um, an area of weakness for yourself, work on it, acknowledge it, own it, move on, you know, like supervisors should be self-assessing, they should be asking their trainees to assess them. We're not perfect. We don't have to do, we're not superhuman. Um, we, we can benefit from some self assessment and from, uh, inviting some assessment and build up our skills in the areas where you, where are we, we want to improve them. Um, and to see it as a lifelong learning process for both of you and take advantage of that.
Shauna Costello (00:59:30):
Well, thank you both so much for talking to me and answering these questions today. Um, and again, like I said, I will include the website, uh, to supervisor ABA in the description of this as well. Like please visit the website, see what it is. There's free resources. There's FAQ's I know that, uh, Cheryl and Dana are probably willing, they probably get questions a lot from what I hear. So they're probably willing to answer your questions as well. Um, but yeah,
Dana Reinecke (01:00:00):
Thanks for having us.
Cheryl Davis (01:00:03):
Yeah. Thanks, Shauna. This was fun.
Shauna Costello (01:00:06):
Thank you for listening to this episode of operative innovations. And as always, if you have questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.