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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #262
Systemic Behavior Analysis: A Therapeutic Approach for Optimizing Best Practices for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Families
Sunday, May 24, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 207A
Area: PRA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Bobby Newman (Proud Moments)
CE Instructor: Angeliki Gena, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: ANGELIKI GENA (University of Athens, Greece)

This presentation will address the question of effective practices for the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, from both an epistemological and a therapeutic perspective, and suggest the importance of a synthesis of two paradigms—behavior analysis and general systems theory—as a means of optimizing our assessment of the needs and the services provided to people with disabilities. Despite the development and the use of a wide array of behavior analytic practices that help all children with ASD to reach their full potential, a question that remains under-researched has to do with the effort expected from the child and his/her family and whether this effort can be somehow lessened without compromising the benefits. The answer to that question led to investigating the properties of another epistemological paradigm—general systems theory—its merits, its compatibility, and its complementarity to the discipline of behavior analysis. This presentation aims to demonstrate that the two paradigms are compatible and complementary and that their combination may lead to optimizing the therapeutic and pedagogical outcomes of behavior analytic practices. If we are to adapt a systemic perspective, according to which the joining of two or more systems leads to an outcome that exceeds by far the additive effects of those systems, it will be interesting to assess the potential emergent benefits of the synthesis of two compatible and complementary epistemological paradigms and how those translate into therapeutic outcomes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Researchers and therapists in the field of autism spectrum disorder.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation the participants will be able to: (1) utilize the main principles of Systemic Behavior Analysis to evaluate a treatment program for people with ASD; (2) assess whether the breath of a Systemic Behavior Analytic treatment program is feasible and appropriate for the population of people with ASD of his/her interest; (3) plan for changes in the development of a behavior analytic intervention that incorporate systemic elements.
ANGELIKI GENA (University of Athens, Greece)

Angeliki Gena is Professor at the School of Philosophy, Department of Philosopsy-Pedagogy-Psychology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece (EKPA). She received her BA in Psychology and Sociology, her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and her Ph.D. from the “Learning Processes” program of the Psychology Department of the City University of New York. She conducted her Doctoral Dissertation at the Princeton Child Development Institute, in Princeton, New Jersey. She worked in various institutes in the USA and became the director of the Alpine Learning Group, a prominent center for children with autism in Alpine, New Jersey. She also taught as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York. In Greece she started her teaching career at the University of Thessaly, was elected at the University of the Aegean, and since 1998 teaches at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her research is predominantly in the area of Behavior Analysis and its applications for early intervention in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Was general secretary of the Association of Behavioral Research for 11 years, is an associate of the Institute of Behavioral Research and Therapy, and a founding member and current president of the Institute of Systemic Behavior Analysis. She has served as an elected member of the Senate of EKPA, since 2016 she is a member of the board of trustees of IKY – National Organization of Scholarships, Greece – has been appointed to national committees of the Greek Ministry of Education, and has served on the board of various non-for-profit organizations. She has received several scholarships and awards for distinguished research and clinical practices addressing children with autism and grands from the European Commission and various Greek organizations. She has published numerous books, empirical and theoretical articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters. The main focus of her research is in systemic behavior analysis and its applications for children with ASD and their families.  




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