A Behavior Analyst’s Most Essential Characteristics
- Listening Skills
A behavior analyst might treat a young person with autism or work with developmentally challenged students to counter detrimental behavior. The analyst could work on daily tasks that follow the treatment plan, or analyze and prepare the treatment plan that someone else will implement. This career requires a high level of education and the right skills to become certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
The behavioral analyst has to be able to remain emotionally distanced from what is happening in order to analyze the individual and the environment. At times, the analyst will be the focus of emotional tantrums, insults and taunts, which have to be ignored. The analyst has to be able to observe and record without coloring those observations with any emotional responses. While at work, the analyst has to be distanced emotionally, but also able to leave those professional observances where it belongs when the analyst is at home.
As a personality trait, this is one of the most vital to a behavior analyst’s longevity in their career. It can be emotionally draining and put fierce mental demands on the analyst, so having a natural curiosity to drive them forward can keep the analyst enthusiastic about learning more about a person, situation or environment. The natural curiosity of the analyst can power a tenacity that is needed to deal with developmentally and emotionally challenged children and adults.
This essential trait for an analyst means that they’ll be able to remain objective while also identifying with the challenges people face. While it might seem counterintuitive to be compassionate and distanced, it’s vital for the analyst’s success. Without compassion as well as empathy, the analyst will cease to care about the person he or she is trying to help, but the person also has to be objective about what is being seen.
The analyst has to interact with people in any environment, which means that analyst has to be approachable in a variety of settings. The analyst has to engage with people to understand their motivations and behaviors, and that also involves making people feel comfortable about revealing themselves at a deeper level. When a person can lower their walls, the analyst will be better able to help.
Out of all the skills mentioned here, the ability to listen and immerse themselves in the lives of others is vital to their success. The analyst has to be vigilant and observant to catch the nuances and unspoken cues that might not be completely obvious at first.
All of these skills will make the behavioral analyst good at their job, which is to ultimately help those who need a treatment plan. Without these skills, the analyst wouldn’t be able to learn exactly what kind of plan is needed, and that would result in a person who won’t be able to function in society successfully.