How to be an ethical affiliate

Ethics wooden sign on a beautiful dayApplied behavior analysis has become increasingly recognized by consumers as an effective option to address a variety of clinical and professional behavioral needs. As the demand for behavior analytic services has increased, so has the number of professionals seeking board certification in the field. The rising number of professionals in pursuit of board certification has contributed to a higher demand for behavior analytic supervisors and many Board Certified Behavior Analysts are meeting this need by offering remote supervision.

One’s participation in remote supervision will likely consists of circumstances different from an onsite supervision experience. One difference might be the manner in which the supervision process is initiated. The process of seeking out and ultimately selecting a remote behavior analytic supervisor is more likely to include an introduction or referral from a third party. An example of a more traditional third party referral is when a supervisor is referred by another person. A less traditional example, although still very common, includes third party referrals in the form of website advertisements or search engine results. In the latter example, a referral fee (i.e., advertisement fee) is typically paid to the referral source (e.g., the website hosting the advertisement). The former example of a third party referral may also include an arrangement where a supervisor provides a referral fee to the referral source.

BAM Network uses advertising and a referral affiliate program to assist with the marketing of our supervision services.

We recognize that the provision of referral fees for supervision services might be interpreted as a violation of the professional and ethical compliance code. We will address this concern and discuss how behavior analysts may ethically arrange a supervision affiliate program to assist in the marketing of supervision services. Let’s start with a review of the relevant areas of the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts. Section 2.14 represents the most relevant area of concern regarding the provision of supervision referral fees, as it condemns the receipt and provision of gifts and money for professional referrals. Section 2.14 also states that referral sources should provide multiple options in their referrals and should inform clients (in this case, the supervisee) about the relationship between the referral source and referred supervisor. Section 1.04a is also relevant, as it instructs behavior analysts to be truthful and honest.

The primary mission of the BACB is to protect those receiving behavior analytic services via its establishment, promotion, and dissemination of professional standards. The BACB’s compliance code represents one of many efforts to uphold that mission. A strict interpretation of section 2.14 may suggests that the creation of affiliate programs is discouraged. However, the inclusion of objectivity, disclosure, and the provision of options balances out the potential of risk to the supervisee. We will also add that the arrangement of referral fees for supervision services are less likely to result in supervisee exploitation compared to the potential for client exploitation with clinical services. The additional actions of full disclosure from referral sources and referred supervisors, as mentioned above, further reduce the low risk to supervisees. BAM Network’s marketing practices are disclosed and discussed in the contents of this post as an effort to adhere with the professional and ethical compliance code.

In summary, referral sources and referred supervisors can ethically participate in affiliate programs for supervision by doing the following.

  • The referral source and referred supervisor should inform supervisees of relevant affiliate arrangements.
  • The referral source and referred supervisor should arrange referrals in a manner that is of low risk to the supervisee.
  • The referral source should base referrals on the objective needs of supervisees.
  • The referral source should refer multiple supervisors or supervisory organizations when possible.

Do you have questions or comments regarding our marketing practices? Let us know and stay tuned for more from BAM Network!

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