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© 2023 by Lou Sandler, PhD, BCBA - D.

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BCBA Supervision

The experience and training of the BCBA Supervisor matters. I have 40 years of clinical experience and have worked across a wide range of communities, individual diversity and need. In addition to community, school and home-based clinical services, I also have just about 10 years as higher education faculty with experience in curriculum and program development.

 

I actively encourage my Supervision students to identify at least two different clients on whom we will collaborate from two different populations/areas of need. That students will work across different populations during their supervised field experience is also an expectation of the BACB.

I have many years of experience as a BCBA Supervisor both face to face and online. I bring my own syllabus, assignments and structural expectations through which all BACB expectations will be met. In fact, I will support my BCBA supervision students based on signed supervision forms should the BACB have questions later on to include if you have moved to another BCBA Supervisor.

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The Added Costs of Inadequate BCBA Supervision

I consider and present BCBA Supervision as I would a graduate course (if a little bit less formal!). Substantive differences include that it actually goes for a much longer period of time combined with ongoing and intensive 1:1 instruction using a diverse range of resources. Providing BCBA supervision correctly and consistently has been a major recurring problem across our field. Inadequate BCBA supervision has also made its own contribution to poor first time BCBA exam pass rates.

I've worked with a lot of folks who know the material pretty well and are deeply invested in Applied Behavior Analysis but keep tripping over the exam. And experiences reported with regards to BCBA supervision has been a recurring theme from many folks. A number have identified that supervision not only did not help much but often made things more confusing. I've found individuals who discovered they needed more supervision hours after the BACB did its review for test eligibility because previous supervisors had made ongoing errors.​

If you've had 'supervision' which included being counted for a phone call; having the BCBA sit in on one of your client sessions and just talk a bit afterwards; having a BCaBA come in to give the BCBA information who signed off for the session; sitting in the BCBA's office for a general conversation about a child or two or three; getting individual credit despite having more than one BCBA student present; having a BCBA who could generally follow a 'script' but was otherwise unable to answer questions; being handed an article to read which you then kind of talked about for a short period; sitting in an office organizing behavior plans and/or data for the BCBA (doing the BCBA's work); not always being sure when the BCBA was even going to show up or what was planned for that session...more...then you are in good - if unfortunate - company.

Such supervision might be less expensive or, even, free based on a given agency. But be sure to check into how supervision is given and perceived..and by whom. The potential professional and financial cost of not learning what you need to know as a clinician, potentially having to pay for exam retakes; dealing with increasing levels of stress can well offset the lower initial out of pocket cost over time.
 

One important thing I've discovered over the past years is that the BCBA supervision process is not always taken very seriously by many supervisors and agencies. This leaves the supervisee on the short end of things. And even when a reasonable effort is made, many who supervise simply don't have the depth of knowledge, experience in the field and teaching competencies to be effective supervisors. I would offer than a newly certified BCBA should not even be able to take supervision CEUs until they at least have a  solid year of clinical service and good references.

My current base block rate of $80 per 60 minutes or $95 for 90 minute weekly or biweekly sessions (with adequate experience hours accounted for) comes to no more than about $190 per month which is less than a grad course would cost for a semester....and is very competitive. It is my goal is to work with folks and to be accessible. And as noted, besides my extensive clinical background, I also bring about 10 years experience higher education graduate faculty

After working so hard for so long, be sure to approach BCBA supervision with the same expectations for yourself AND your Supervisor just as you would a graduate course and faculty. It is, perhaps, among the most important courses you will take in your graduate program towards depth of knowledge, building capacity as a clinician and becoming well prepared to sit for the BCBA exam. 

Overall Individual Session Structure (from my Supervision Syllabus which is given to each supervision student)

After each session, the Supervisee and Supervisor will review and identify items covered from the 4th Edition Task List. Which ones addressed will be, in part, guided by where the Supervisee is in their program and any previous hours of supervision along with individual need and learning priorities at the determination of the Supervisor. Supervision will follow the 4th Edition Task List. Individual sessions will generally follow as identified below:

 

  1. Check In: Supervisee feedback/input/thoughts/changes since last Supervision session.

    • This will include any related and ongoing coursework and/or other specific Supervisee questions/comments. Please be prepared!

  2. Review/Discussion of written or other specific assignments as requested from the previous session by the Supervisor (excluding video review)

    • Types of assignments along with expectations for individual assignments are given in detail in my Supervision Syllabus

  3. Identify Task List objectives/targets for the session to include the potential for a quick ‘pre-test’ for knowledge/awareness. Short Supervisor designed probes are also always possible. Supervisees will be expected to go beyond simply ‘knowing’ definitions; memorizing concepts and be able to discuss context/environmental and instructional/intervention relevance and application.

    • Foundational Knowledge: concepts which should be mastered prior to beginning practice as a Behavior Analyst; basic and prerequisite knowledge. This will include, but not be limited to, Section III in the 4th Edition Task list.

    • BCBA test preparation will also be regularly factored in

  4. Videos/Client-Centered Review: this will combine the use of assigned videos and specific client-centered activities to include vignettes and related problem-solving activities. In addition to those assigned by the Supervisor, Supervisees are encouraged to identify needed areas to video; unique scenarios to problem solve, review/discuss with the Supervisor. Live observations will also be scheduled. 

    • Client – Centered Responsibilities: tasks related to working with clients that apply across a wider range of circumstances to include unique child and family/caregiver; other provider needs and interactions. This will be discussed in the context of video and/or specific Supervisor and/or Supervisee provided scenarios.

    • Supervision/Implementation/Management: will be addressed as across sessions as well when in-context opportunities arise to include Supervisee request.

  5. Closure; Identification of Tasks reviewed & Assignments: prior to the end of each supervision session, items reviewed/studied from the Task List will be identified and documented. Assignments/activities for the next scheduled session will be given. 

Costs

I use block rates towards cost efficiency and affordability. Basically...very few folks who want to work with me are unable to afford to do so....

My fee schedule is based on whether the student wants weekly or biweekly; has the experience hours for 60 or 90 minutes sessions to be done either weekly or biweekly. I am in Central Standard Time (CST) and schedule seven days a week with starting at 8am CST and go through (on most days) until around 6pm CST.

I make every effort to be affordable and accessible between sessions because I know that having a job and/or going to school along with having a life while doing your BCBA supervision is tough. I became a full time PhD student, combined with developing a busy private practice, in my mid 40s. We will make it work...

My base block rate for a weekly or bi-weekly 60 minute session is $80 and $95 for 90 minute sessions. This pays for all services to include my offline time. instructional materials and PPTs I will provide, use of my original BCBA mock exam since I include test prep as part of BCBA Supervision as well as my remaining accessible by email between scheduled sessions. And I'm open to discussing my rates further based on your need and the specifics of your request. I am always open to discussing individual circumstances.

In that our first conversation by phone or, preferably, video is without charge or obligation, there is no reason not to contact me and schedule a time we to talk

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I anticipate and am ready for all scheduled online sessions. With this, same day unexpected cancellations can be very disruptive. They also represent time blocks in which I could have scheduled another person.

Unexpected cancellations, those given with less than 24 hours warning, will typically be charged a missed appointment fee of 50% of the identified base rate. Unique circumstances will be considered. 

Unless previously discussed and agreed, all missed appointment and individual session invoices must be met prior to the next scheduled appointment.

While I do not request advanced payment for time blocks and have thus far kept my services 'at will,' completing a session - or missing a session by the above stated criteria - constitutes an agreement by the student to pay the invoice for that session.