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What You Need to Know About Having Multiple Relationships in ABA

Your child's therapist is a VIP!

Your child’s therapist is a VIP! Your child’s ABA Therapist or Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) can be a very important person in the life of you and your child. They are the person that works with your child to improve daily living, makes it possible for your child to cope with difficult emotions, has increased your child’s language skills, and they are the person you trust your child with regularly. There is a very strong bond between your child and their therapist, which makes them a very important person in your life.

What is a multiple relationship?

You might want to build a relationship with your child’s therapist outside of the work they are doing with your child because you communicate with them regularly, have built trust with them, and know they care deeply about your child. While this may sound harmless, this is called a multiple relationship, and it is against the behavior analysis code of ethics.

A multiple relationship occurs when a behavior analyst is involved with a person in a professional capacity and any other capacity at the same time (Bailey & Burch. 2016). What is the big deal with multiple relationships? Multiple relationships should be avoided because they could have harmful effects. Multiple relationships can impair judgment and objectivity when it comes to the client (Bailey & Burch. 2016).

It can be difficult for a therapist to inform a parent of bad news or negative reports if that parent is a close friend or family member. The therapist may also treat a client differently if they have multiple relationships with the client or the client’s parents. Multiple relationships can turn into conflicts of interest and it can muddy the water where professionalism is concerned. What does this mean for you?

Even if you consider your child’s therapist a VIP (and I am sure they are!), it is important to remember the therapist is a professional working with your child, and there are things they are not allowed to do in order to properly maintain that role. Your child’s therapist cannot:

  • Accept a gift from you
  • Go on vacation with you
  • Go out to eat with you
  • Come over for dinner
  • Become your “friend”
  • Provide respite care or babysit
  • Add you on social media

We know your child’s therapist is AMAZING, and you can thank them just by letting them know how great they are! 

About: Circle City ABA is a state of the art autism center in Brownsburg, IN, Fishers, IN, Evansville, Indiana and Lafayette, Indiana. Specializing in applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for children with autism and related conditions, Circle City ABA is a destination where play meets progress. Programs are designed with each child in mind.
The journey begins at initial assessment from our qualified team. Several Hoosier's are already loving Circle City ABA. Learn more about our services below. Request enrollment information at info.circlecityaba.com/enrollment.
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References: Bailey, J. S., & Burch, M. R. (2016). Ethics for behavior analysts (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge

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