Supervising Dynamically

Presented by Scott Herbst, PhD, BCBA

Course Description

Behavior analysis has a lot to say about best practices for supervising people, both practically and ethically. What gets left out of most training is that you, the supervisor, are also a human being. What you “ought to do” isn’t always the easy thing to do, and human beings, through millions of years of evolution, are designed to do the easy thing. This makes it hard to:

  • Have difficult conversations that make a difference;
  • Deal effectively with uncooperative and upset supervisees; and
  • Implement the practices that reduce burnout and resignation while promoting passionate engagement in one’s work.

Applied to supervisory skills, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) training is a powerful tool for developing one’s self as such a supervisor. In this nine-session course, you will explore yourself as a supervisor and develop your supervision practices from within an ACT framework. Applying core ACT processes such as mindful awareness, defusion, acceptance, and values, you’ll identify situations where you get thwarted in the “easy” way out, and learn to deal powerfully with challenging situations.

Even parts educational and experiential, you’ll learn the basic processes of ACT, and then receive coaching and training in applying these to your supervision. The result? An expanded capacity for training and developing your supervisees in a way that fosters their continued growth and development as behavioral practitioners.

In this course, you will deal with your own humanity, discover what thwarts you in your commitments, and develop practices for reframing situations you find challenging so that you can:

  • Use performance management conversations as opportunities for growth—both for you and the people you supervise,
  • Communicate in ways that inspire your supervisees, emphasizing the positive reinforcers of their work and the difference you and they are out to make; and
  • Be the supervisor you want to be, not the one you feel stuck being.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain how mindfulness and willingness relate to the behavioral principle of negative reinforcement.
  2. Explain how values relate to the behavioral principle of positive reinforcement.
  3. List an example of one ethical and one unethical application of course content.
  4. Identify one instance of rule-governed behavior and describe, in behavioral terms, how it influences probability of responding.
  5. List one example of a self-generated rule and describe how it influences avoidance responding as it relates to supervision.
  6. List one example of a value and identify a behavior it may influence.
  7. Identify at least two competing contingencies found in their work environments.
  8. Explain self-as-content in behavioral terms.
  9. Explain relationships between their own self-concept behavior and their overt behavior, including situations they move toward and away from.
  10. Identify parts of a mission and relate them to the process of selection, including stakeholders and key results.
  11. Provide an example of how their own covert verbal behavior influences their responses to communication.
  12. Identify three elements of a speaker’s response they can act out during conversation to indicate listening.
  13. Identify four appropriate responses to speaker behavior to move a coaching conversation forward.
  14. Identify three behaviors to demonstrate during an effective coaching conversation.
  15. Identify three behavioral outcomes of an effective coaching conversation.
  16. Identify three barriers to ongoing implementation of learned practices.
  17. Draft a plan for dealing with barriers and schedule occasions for self-assessment of implementation.


Session 1
May 6, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Course overview and scope of practice issues
  • Hour 2 – Introduction to ACT processes: mindfulness, acceptance, and values

Session 2
May 13, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Basics of relational frame theory (RFT) and how it applies to language
  • Hour 2 – Basics of rule-governed behavior as it relates to RFT

Session 3
May 20, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Introducing “The Matrix” and identifying values
  • Hour 2 – Identifying values-consistent and inconsistent behavior

Session 4
June 3, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Distinguishing the conceptualized self
  • Hour 2 – Activity for identifying one’s self-concept

June 10, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Identifying a mission statement and values-based vision
  • Hour 2 – Basic coaching skills and listening-mindfully exercises

June 17, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Three levels of listening and tacting whether a speaker is being heard exercises
  • Hour 2 – Identifying three behaviors of effective coaching and one behavior of ineffective coaching, including asking questions, answering questions, acknowledging statements, and NEVER-answering statements.

June 24, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Preparing for a difficult conversation and making sure you have everything you need to make the conversation productive
  • Hour 2 – Practicing difficult conversations and listening for three outcomes

July 1, 2019, 4 PM—6 PM EDT

  • Hour 1 – Review and discuss barriers to ongoing implementation
  • Hour 2 – Identify structures and practices to overcome barriers and review self-assessment


This course is intended for board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) who supervise BCBAs in training, and line therapists.


Certification as a BCBA will provide all foundational knowledge.

Recommended Readings

The instructor will include the first three chapters of in-progress book Human Organizations with registration.


Atkins, P. W. B., & Styles, R. G. (2016). Measuring self and rules in what people say: Exploring whether self-discrimination predicts long-term wellbeing. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 5, 71-79.

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., & McEnteggart, C. (2018) Relational Frame Theory: Description, Evidence, and Clinical Applications (in press).

Herbst, S. A., & Houmanfar, R. (2009). Psychological approaches to values in organizations and organizational behavior management. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 29(1), 47-68. doi:10.1080/01608060802714210.


This training is worth 16 CE credit hours if attended live. While we can only provide CE to those who are present – i.e. logged in – for live presentation(s), all Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may then access these recordings at any time for up to six months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.

Continuing Education
Read more about our continuing education credits—how they work and how to get your certificate(s).

Technical Requirements
This is an online learning event. Access to a computer and high-speed internet is required. Refer to our FAQ page for further information on technical requirements for this training.

Refer to our FAQ page for our disclosure information.

All prices listed in US dollars and times in US Eastern time zone.

Course Content

Lessons Status