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HABA Announces Dr. Patrick Friman as Annual Conference Keynote

Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D., ABPP


Dr. Patrick C. Friman received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He is the current Vice President of Behavioral Health at Boys Town and a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska School of Medicine. He is the former Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and former President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. He is currently the Book Review editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and on the editorial boards of six peer reviewed journals. He has published more than 190 scientific articles and chapters and three books. The primary focus of his scientific and clinical work in is in the area of Behavioral Pediatrics and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Friman’s work in behavioral pediatrics has concentrated on the gap between primary medical care for children on one side, and referral-based clinical child psychological and psychiatric care, on the other. A secondary focus is on adolescent behavior and development an example of which is a commercially available DVD on Adolescence and Other Temporary Mental Disorders. He also specializes in consultation regarding workplace issues such as motivation, dealing with difficult people, change, happiness and pathways to success.


Behavioral Pediatrics:  Appending Behavioral Psychology to Primary Health Care

Friday, 9:00-9:50am


Behavioral pediatrics (BP) is a branch of pediatrics that integrates behavioral and pediatric sciences to promote the health of children. A unique aspect of BP is that competencies for practice can be met by physicians or behaviorally oriented practitioners and thus its providers include both.  Most typically, however, the physician and behavioral practitioner work in partnership whether the task at hand involves a particular case or a promising area of research.  There are two general forms of treatment supplied in BP:  1) supportive counseling, usually involving the delivery of health education (e.g., the environmental basis of child learning; extended crying is normal in early infancy, three days without a bowel movement is two days too long) but no specific action; and 2) prescriptive behavioral treatment, usually involving the provision of specific procedures for remediation of presenting problems to caregivers (e.g., habit reversal, task based grounding, exposure for simple phobia). There are three general domains of care, routine behavior problems, behavior problems with significant medical dimensions, and medical problems with significant behavioral dimensions.  Recognition of the high prevalence of behavioral problems that initially and often only present in pediatric settings as well as the reciprocal nature of interactions between medical and behavioral factors in child health has led to dramatic growth in BP over the past 30 years. This growth presents opportunities for providers familiar with the principles of learning and development because both provide the epistemological basis for the majority of behavioral pediatric treatments.  This presentation will describe behavioral pediatrics in primary care, elaborate on its two forms of treatment, and elaborate on illustrative clinical examples.

  1. Participants will be able to define Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics
  2. Participants will be able to describe at least three guiding principles in Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics.
  3. Participants will be able to describe the two primary forms of treatment in Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics.
  4. Participants will be able to describe at least three sample clinical targets in Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics.


Thumb Sucking:  A Love Story

Saturday, 8:30-9:20am


Thumb sucking is an ideal behavior for behavior analytic study yet one that has been largely overlooked by behavior analysts.  Not by me however.  I saw its opportunities early in my career and have been exploiting them ever since.  Here are some of its many virtues.  It is easy to find—universal in infancy and still common after age 6.  It is easy to observe and measure.  It is very responsive to a broad array of easily applied contingencies (e.g., incentives, aversives).  It frequently co-occurs with other functionally related behaviors (e.g., object attachment, hair pulling) that are also easy to observe and measure and are also responsive to a broad array of easily applied contingencies. It is socially significant (chronic practice after age four can lead to serious dental, medical and social problems).  It lends itself readily to theorizing (e.g., cross cultural, psychodynamic, developmental, behavior analytic).  Pertinent to this last point, it has been the subject of some of the most outrageously wrongheaded theorizing in all of child psychology—which is of particular interest to me because most of it is so easy to disprove (and lampoon).  Lastly and by no means leastly, it helped me gain entry into the world of primary care pediatrics.  This talk will discuss all of this and more.



  1.  Participants will be able to describe the operant properties of thumb sucking.
  2. Participants will be able to describe the adjunctive properties of thumb sucking.
  3. Participants will be able to describe at least one effective treatment for thumbsucking.

Keynote Speaker- Dr. Bruce Thyer

Photo Jan 2014“The Contributions of Behavior Analysis to Social Work”

Dr. Bruce A. Thyer

Professional social workers are the largest providers of mental health services in the United States. They are also strongly involved in the evaluation and treatment of persons with intellectual disabilities and substance abuse problems. These fields are also within the scope of practice of behavior analysts. Like behavior analysis, social work subscribes to a person-in-environment orientation in assessing and treating client problems, and claims to be a science-based discipline. An overview will be provided of the current scope of practice of clinical social work, the training and educational requirements for masters-level (MSW) social work practitioners, and the landscape pertaining to the legal regulation and insurance reimbursement of licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). This will be contrasted with parallel developments within the practice of behavior analysis. Illustrations will be provided of how behavior analysis has contributed to the practice of clinical social work, and of how clinical social workers have contributed to the promotion and science of behavior analysis. Ways in which these two fields can be better integrated will be presented.

Bruce A. Thyer is Professor and former Dean with the College of Social Work at Florida State University. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Dr. Thyer has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and other behavioral journals, and on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association (APA). He is a Fellow of the APA, the Association for Psychological Science, and of the Society for Social Work and Research. For the past 25 years he has edited the journal Research on Social Work Practice, a social work journal which explicitly welcomes behavior analytic research submissions. Dr. Thyer has been a continuous member of the Association for Behavior Analysis-International for over 30 years.

Invited Speaker- Dr. Richard Spates

“Empirically-based Interventions: Achieving Greater Target Population Reach– Why? and How?”

Dr. C. Richard Spates

In recent years a number of thought leaders, policy makers, and members of the consuming public have recognized the need for wider distribution of empirically supported behavioral practices. Alan Kazdin ( points out “the dominant model of in-person therapy for the treatment of psychological problems has inherent limitations in reaching the large majority of individuals in need . .” It has been persuasively argued that our most well-studied interventions cannot reach people at the scale needed if they are provided on a one-to-one, in-person basis. Kazdin admonishes that “At this point research ought to begin with consideration of the model of delivery and specifically with a model that could be broad in its reach . . . to intended groups.” Arguing in a similar vein, Barlow adds that “to achieve reach, social marketing of minimal contact, self-administered interventions, direct to consumer, might help achieve this goal.” Essential to this perspective is the notion that while we, behavior analysts, correctly laud the availability of behavior analytic interventions for their efficacy, if only a small part of the population who needs them have access to them, much more is required. Whether dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders, trauma-based disorders, or clinical depression, (among others in a growing list that contribute heavily to the global burden of disease), we must be concerned from the outset with successful access and uptake of our interventions. The model to be proposed here strongly suggest that we produce disruptive innovations in delivery models, that provide affordable (least expensive), easily accessed formats that are both scalable and sustainable. It is further argued that we begin such innovative delivery models with existing evidence-based approaches, and that our evaluation of such models address impact more broadly defined that historically characteristic and narrowly defined. As a point of departure from this overall theme, this presentation will illustrate, using three existing examples, of how innovations in delivery can positively impact targeted behavior problems or symptoms, but achieve greater and more sustainable reach to consumers in need. The models include direct interventions for depression, PTSD, and training in the treatment of Autism Spectrum disorder.

C. Richard Spates, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana, and holds a Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. He worked for 12 years with the Michigan Department of Mental Health as a Senior Mental Health Executive. Among the roles at MDMH he was Director of Program Evaluation Design & Analysis, and Director of Clinical Policy, Standards, & Behavioral Services. He spent the last 27 years as Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University where he has additionally served as Director of Clinical Training for 20 of those years and Department Chairperson for 3 years. He engaged in private practice for approximately 8 years, and as a legal expert witness for the past 30 years. He has served as the principal advisor for 27 Ph.D. Clinical Psychology graduates over the past 25 years and is widely published in the areas of anxiety, depression and PTSD interventions. Dr. Spates was the Project Director and Principal Investigator for the development team of Building a Meaningful Life through Behavioral Activation (BAML)©; an interactive computer-based intervention for clinical depression, and serves regularly as a consultant, supervisor, and trainer in evidence-based interventions for Anxiety, PTSD and Depression. He is Board Chairman and Chief Science Officer of CompTherapeutics, Inc. a Michigan Therapeutic Software Development company.