Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #434
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis vs. the Biomedical Model of Mental Disorders
Monday, May 28, 2007
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Edward AB
Area: CBM/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Stephen E. Wong (Florida International University)
CE Instructor: Stephen E. Wong, Ph.D.

This symposium will critically examine the biomedical model of mental disorders and its underlying assumptions, diagnostic system, empirical evidence, clinical outcomes, professional and corporate sponsors, and wide spread promotion through educational and media campaigns. Ways in which the biomedical approach suppresses research and practice of behavior analysis with persons with mental disorders will also be discussed.

Psychiatry’s Flight from Science: A 2007 Update.
W. JOSEPH WYATT (Marshall University)
Abstract: This presentation updates last year’s presentation which described the guild interests of psychiatry and the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry and how the two have dovetailed to push acceptance of the biological causation model of behavioral/psychological disorders. The claims of biological causation have gone well beyond the data. Following a brief review of the topic, highlights of the past year will be presented including issues such as new research on the placebo effect; lobbying efforts by the pharmaceutical and psychiatry industries; advertising of drugs; and others.
A Behavioral Analytic Look at Mental Disorders, the DSM-IV, and Functional Effects of Psychotropic Medications.
MERRILL WINSTON (Professional Crisis Management, Inc.)
Abstract: This presentation critiques diagnostic criteria for mental disorders listed in the DSM-IV, as well as examines functional effects of medications (in terms of behavior) as opposed to their supposed neurochemical effects. The presentation provides behavior analysts with a framework that they may use to better understand mental disorders and how treatment goals may be formulated. Participants will also be more prepared to “get to the heart of the matter” regarding the problems that give rise to a particular diagnosis. Individuals will also be better equipped to help evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of various medications as they pertain to target behaviors.
Behavior Analysis vs. Biomedical/Pharmacological Treatment of Psychosis.
STEPHEN E. WONG (Florida International University)
Abstract: This presentation will review behavior analyses of psychotic disorders comparing them to biomedical treatments, the latter almost entirely reliant on “antipsychotic” drugs. The biomedical model of psychotic disorders and anti-psychotic drugs will be critiqued, revealing their weak scientific foundation, therapeutic shortcomings, and harmful effects. Ideological, political, and economic factors maintaining the biomedical model’s preeminence over behavior analysis will also be discussed.



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