What is Heart-Centered ABA?

Conventional Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses both the environment and reinforcement to shape people’s behavior. It comes out of the work of psychologist B.F. Skinner. Many others, along with Skinner, have shaped the field into what it has become today, including Baer, Wolf, Rilsey, Iawata, Lovas, and Sunburg. 

We too are evolving this field, and we call it Heart-Centered ABA. Heart-Centered ABA recognizes and honors the tremendous contributions made by all the greats in this discipline. Heart-Centered ABA also acknowledges the atrocities and cruelties that have been committed in the name of behavioral science. 

Heart-Centered ABA brings forth empathy, acceptance, and unconditional love, and synthesizes them with the principles of conventional ABA to help all people realize their full potential. Heart-Centered ABA is dedicated to end isolation and foster community—one family at a time, one client at a time, one connection at a time.

We know autistic and developmentally disabled youth and adults have been hurt by practices of trying to change people using traditional ABA. We understand the serious issues the autistic community has expressed about cruelty and abuse in this field. We stand against all human cruelty and we only serve the heart. Heart-Centered ABA (HCABA) builds upon the best of this field and commits to doing everything with heart at the center. This means we serve our clients with every action we do.

Heart-Centered ABA is a Revolution in Behavioral Services and Behavior Science.

Here’s what practitioners of HCABA do differently:

  1. We’re dedicated to the limitless potential within every human being. We want to create a world that works for everyone. Our community is a place where we support one another to be authentic and thrive in our lives.
  2. The root of everything is in loving acceptance. The more we are in acceptance of where we are and how we feel, the more self-love we cultivate. By accepting and loving our clients right where they are, they can more easily and quickly blossom into their potential.
  3. We honor all experiences, the ups and downs, and meet the other right where they are. This principle attitude permeates throughout our whole culture. It’s in every session we have with a client and their family, in every phone call and little interaction.
  4. We do not judge autism or any developmental disabilities as bad, we consider having developmental disabilities as an alternate or different way of being that engenders diversity. We do not modify behavioral ticks, or try in any way to drill the autism or any disability out of our clients. We respect them as they are. 
  5. We do not judge problem behaviors as wrong. We do create interventions to support with profound acceptance for what is. We help our clients achieve their potential through changing maladaptive behaviors and replacing them with behaviors that help them connect and be more successful in their lives.
  6. We never modify behavior unless it’s in the way of the client’s potential. We also do not modify anyone’s behavior without first placing ourselves in the other’s shoes with profound empathy and understanding of the human being whom we are trying to help.
  7. We’re grateful for all growth opportunities. We treasure the grand adventure of our heart-centered work with clients and see life as an endless opportunity to play, learn, connect, and evolve.

Heart-Centered ABA is specifically what a behavioral clinician uses when they center themselves in their heart and work for the good of the client in the context of their whole family or living environment. Heart-Centered ABA is a unique synthesis of principles which draw on reinforcing the behaviors we want, shaping for greater and greater independence, while following our heart and intuition for what is best for the clients.

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia is the author of three books on the topics of unconditional love, nurture being, and authenticity – all of which are available on Amazon. His upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone, is due out next year. 

As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parent coachingpersonal coaching, and business consulting.  Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. By far, the best way to join this revolution though is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you to join the revolution! 

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