What is Heart-Centered ABA?

Conventional Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses the environment and reinforcement to shape people’s behavior. It comes out of the work of BF Skinner and many other great behavior psychologists who have evolved and pioneered the field of study. Many others, along with Skinner, have shaped the field into what it has become today, including Baer, Wolf, Rilsey, Iawata, Lovas, and Sunburg. 

The newly evolving field we’re calling, Heart-Centered ABA, honors the giants who created this field. It recognizes the tremendous contributions of all the greats in this discipline. Heart-Centered ABA  also acknowledges the atrocities and cruelty that have been committed in the name of behavioral science. Heart-Centered ABA uses empathy, acceptance, and unconditional love synthesized with the principles of conventional ABA to help all people realize their full potential. Heart-Centered ABA is dedicated to end isolation and foster community—one family at a time, one client at a time, one connection at a time.

We know autistic and developmentally disabled youth and adults have been hurt by practices of trying to change people using heartless ABA. We understand the serious issues the autistic community has expressed about cruelty and abuse in this field. We stand against all human cruelty; we only serve the heart. Heart-Centered ABA (HCABA) builds upon the best of this field and commits to doing everything with heart at the center. This means we serve our clients with every action we do.

Heart-Centered ABA is a Revolution in Behavioral Services and Behavior Science.

Here’s what practitioners of HCABA do differently:

  1. We’re dedicated to the limitless potential within every human being. We want to create a world that works for everyone. Our community is a place where we support one another to be authentic and thrive in our lives.
  2. The root of everything is in loving acceptance. The more we are in acceptance of where we are and how we feel, the more self-love we cultivate. By accepting and loving our clients right where they are, they can more easily and quickly blossom into their potential.
  3. We honor all experiences, the ups and downs, and meet the other right where they are. This principle attitude permeates throughout our whole culture. It’s in every session we have with a client and their family, in every phone call and little interaction.
  4. We do not judge autism or any developmental disabilities as bad, we consider having developmental disabilities as an alternate or different way of being that engenders diversity. We do not modify behavioral ticks, or try in any way to drill the autism or any disability out of our clients. We respect them as they are. 
  5. We do not judge problem behaviors as wrong. We do create interventions to support with profound acceptance for what is. We help our clients achieve their potential through changing maladaptive behaviors and replacing them with behaviors that help them connect and be more successful in their lives.
  6. We never modify behavior unless it’s in the way of the client’s potential. We also do not modify anyone’s behavior without first placing ourselves in the other’s shoes with profound empathy and understanding of the human being whom we are trying to help.
  7. We’re grateful for all growth opportunities. We treasure the grand adventure of our heart-centered work with clients, and see life as an endless opportunity to play, learn, connect, and evolve.

Heart-Centered ABA is specifically what a behavioral clinician uses when they center themselves in their heart and work for the good of the client in the context of their whole family or living environment. Heart-Centered ABA is a unique synthesis of principles which draw on reinforcing the behaviors we want, shaping for greater and greater independence, while following our heart and intuition for what is best for the clients.

Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services is the home of Heart-Centered ABA, as well as Heart-Centered Operating Systems. Bridging Worlds is the company which gave birth to Heart-Centered Revolutions– a nonprofit dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. If you have any questions about Heart-Centered ABA, or any of the heart centered endeavors we have engendered, feel free to reach out.

We hope you liked this article and it helped you get a deeper understanding of Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services and how we work. You can find more articles about us on our blog.

Bridging Worlds operates using Heart-Centered ABA and the Heart-Centered Operating System (HCOS), developed in partnership with Heart-Centered Revolutions (HCR), a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. 

For more information about HCOS, please read HCR articles and find out how you can schedule HCOS consultation and training for your business or organization on our website. Heart-Centered Revolutions has helped us grow and flourish and they can do the same for you.

For example: 

If the client is nonverbal we might work on expanding their communication skills to include gestures or pictures.

If the client is overstimulated in the grocery store, goals might include short trips to the store with ways to self-regulate.