The following statement is written with the utmost compassion for individuals and their families who experience severe behaviours that challenge. We acknowledge that such behaviours can lead to serious injury to those individuals or others, thus limiting the individual’s residential, education, employment, and leisure opportunities, among others. We further acknowledge the pain, stress, anxiety, and other negative events that these behaviours occasion for individuals and their families, and that finding effective solutions to these issues is often a long and difficult process.
It is the responsibility of behaviour analytic professionals to protect vulnerable people andtheir families by recommending only those approaches that align with our core values, are implemented within established ethical frameworks, are based on the best available evidence, and are socially valid. The use of CESS does not meet any of these criteria.
The use of shock to change human behaviour represents a clear violation of the tenet do no harm. Further, the available evidence does not suggest CESS engenders long-term behaviour change, particularly when weighed against the potential for emotional and physical side effects. Finally, that it is illegal in many countries and is condemned by a large segment of the public and the behaviour analytic community speaks to its social invalidity.
In short, the use of painful or degrading stimuli, including CESS, has no place in modern applied behaviour analysis.
July 4th 2022