The field of Behavior Analysis is rapidly growing, as are the focus areas of practice. Recognizing that “behavior is behavior,” there are more frequently BCBAs who feel they are ready to address sexual behavior or sexuality, itself. However, this is a risky venture, as sexuality is an umbrella term that contains within it a full spectrum of subsets regarding identity, expression, fulfillment, impulse, potential traumas and biological needs and rights. Going into any intervention, the BCBA must utilize their experience and trainings, their knowledge, and the BACB Code of Ethics. It is the goal of this workshop not to make anyone immediately competent in addressing sexual behavior, but rather to provide a framework for determining what one is comfortable with and capable of addressing. This will include how to approach the issue of not being competent and what to do in such a case. Ethical issues ranging from parents requesting the BCBA change the sexual identity of the client, to a client engaging in sexual behavior with minors, as well as a myriad of other vignettes, will be explored and guided by the Ethical Code. At the end, participants will know how to assess their own competence, what they may do if competent, what to do if not competent, and also have demonstrated active ethically-sound decision-making during the vignettes.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this presentation participants will be able to:

1. Identify LGBTQIA terminology and definitions that are rooted in a reliance on scientific knowledge

2. Select BACB Ethics codes which are pertinent to cultural competence and social validity when addressing sexual behavior

3. Identify key factors which separate ABA for Sexual Behavior from Sex Therapy

4. Identify multiple avenues for assessing one's comfort and competency with sexual behavior

5. When given a sexual behavior vignette, select key ethical considerations

About The Presenter:

Nicholas Maio-Aether is a Behavior Analyst, Practicum Supervisor, and Sex Therapist at Empowered: A Center for Sexuality LLC.  He completed his initial practicum in ABA, then began supervised practicum in Sexuality Education before moving to a supervised practicum in Sex Therapy, which he is receiving from Diplomat of Sex Therapy, Linda Weiner, MSW, CSTS.  Nicholas began providing Sexuality Education in 2003, trained by GLSEN to do peer teachings and presentations. His work with sexual behavior in ABA began in 2012. Nicholas opened Empowered in January of 2016 with a goal of providing a variety of sexuality-based services to all populations. 

Since, Nicholas has been an international presenter for AASECT and at ABAI, where he sat on the Risky Business: Ethics in Sexual Behavior panel.  He has been featured in Contemporary Sexuality in 2016, highlighting his work with sexuality and Autism. Nicholas is also researching ABA for HIV care and is representing ABA on a research team looking to validate Sensate Focus as an empirically-backed methodology for treating everything from erectile dysfunction to dyspareunia. Last, he is receiving a Clinical Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, with a LGBTQIA+ Specialization, expected in 2022.

COMING SOON! Ethical Decision Making in Addressing Sexual Behavior