Practice Alerts

Dual Relationships

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations.

Licensed behavior analysts (LBAs) and certified behavior analyst assistants (CBAAs) should be aware that the objectivity and appropriateness of professional services could be jeopardized by the existence of dual relationships. Dual relationships occur when a LBA and/or CBAA has more than one type of relationship with a patient and/or authorized caregiver, such as:

  • A professional relationship and a prior personal relationship
  • A business relationship that develops during a professional relationship
  • Social or personal relationships that develop during a professional relationship
  • Differing professional relationships, such as performing custody evaluations with patients/clients and/or authorized caregivers who are in other treatment or business relationships

Sexual relationships with patients/clients and/or authorized caregivers either during or within at least two years following the professional relationship may not occur.

When LBAs are involved in a mentoring, teaching or supervisory relationship with a student, CBAA, or limited permit holder, the LBA should take care to maintain appropriate boundaries, so that his or her professional judgment is not jeopardized.

The relationship of LBAs who act as supervisors for persons who are gaining experience for licensure purposes is principally with the licensing agency and not with the supervisee. That is, the supervisor must attest to the licensing agency that the supervisee has completed the experience in accordance with the regulations for licensure. This means that the supervisee should not employ the supervisor when the supervisee is gaining experience for licensure. In addition, supervisors would be wise to avoid supervising relatives and close friends.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2016