Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies™

2015 Annual Meeting of the Trustees
Special Presentations

Topical vs. Systemic Clinical Intervention
Behavior Analyst Leading Ladies
A Home for Our History



Topical vs. Systemic Clinical Intervention

In 1979 Israel Goldiamond first described the distinction between topical and systemic clinical intervention. He later refined the distinction in 1984 and since that time his students have continued to expand on and extend the approach (Layng and Andronis, 1984; Layng, 2006; 2009). At the heart of the intervention is a Constructional Approach that employs a nonlinear contingency analysis. In Topical intervention the presenting complaint is either treated directly or its function is determined and intervention proceeds accordingly. However, one may also consider the consequences contingent not only on the disturbing pattern, but the consequences contingent on its alternatives as well. The resolution of the resulting contingency matrix accounts for the pattern. This category of Topical intervention seeks to understand the matrix by attending to the outcomes (costs and benefits) of both the disturbing pattern and its available alternatives. Though costly and jeopardizing to the client, the disturbing pattern is considered a rational and sensible resolution of the matrix. A Systemic intervention also considers the matrix into which the disturbing pattern enters, but asks what potentiates the consequences and their relations. Often, other behavioral contingencies that are a part of yet other matrices may be the source of such potentiation. Intervention may be targeted at these Systemic relations and not at all at the presenting complaint or the matrix into which it enters. The presenting complaint is considered a symptom of these Systemic relations whose resolution may result in the "dropping out" of the disturbing behavior without direct intervention. Clinical examples will be presented and it will be suggested that a nonlinear analysis may reduce the need to resort to hypothetical self-generated rules or escape from private events as explanations for behavior of clinical interest.

Behavior Analyst Leading Ladies

Panel Organizers: Darnell Lattal and Rob Holdsambeck

Discussant: Beth Sulzer-Azaroff

"The women on our panel are among our most innovative and effective professionals in the practice of the science of behavior analysis. They are dedicated to solving critical issues of human interaction with implications across large sectors of society.  Their work has transcended organizational and national boundaries. From creating tools and processes of safety to examining the verbal context that shapes human interaction to large scale organizational redesign to educational reform, their work has improved the view of behavior analysis in countries around the world. They are providing evidence-based methods for affecting cultural as well as individual performance.  Their reach is broad. Their courage in seeing what is and striving to change institutionalized sacred cows and powerful naysayers serves as a model for all of us. Each of these leading ladies deserves a spotlight on what they have done for the good of all of us. The larger community beyond our science  -- in our country and across the world -- has benefited from their inspired vision of what can be done with this incredible science to create the conditions that support human excellence.  These leading ladies are center stage, inspiring us all."     Darnell Lattal

A Home for Our History

David B. Baker and Andy Lattal

The Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron seeks support to create the Institute for the History of Behavior Analysis. The Institute would occupy a dedicated floor ( 10,000 ft.²) of the Center and house a large apparatus collection, archives of many behavior analysts who have contributed to the discipline’s history, interactive exhibits, and meeting and scholarly research space. Dave and Andy will introduce the Center, the Institute, its potential resources, and the opportunities for collaboration.