Risk-Benefit Analysis of Electric Shock Therapy Essay

Pages: 4 (1268 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: African-Americans  ·  Written: December 8, 2019

Namely, element 4.09 least restrictive procedure, element 4.08 considerations regarding punishment procedures, element 10.05 compliance with BACB supervision and coursework standards, element 2.09 treatment/intervention efficacy, and element 4.05 describing behavior-change program objectives (Bailey & Burch, 2016). Each of these ethical elements is explained below.

4.09 Least Restrictive Procedure

Element 4.09 states that “behavior analysts [should] review and appraise the restrictiveness of procedures and recommend the least restrictive procedures likely to be effective” (Bailey & Burch, 2016). Electric shock therapy is the most restrictive procedure hence it violates this element.

4.08 Considerations Regarding Punishment Procedures

Element 4.08 calls on “behavior analysts [to] recommend reinforcement rather than punishment whenever possible” (Bailey & Burch, 2016). It means that the school should try other treatment options first before implementing electric shock therapy.

10.05 Compliance with BACB Supervision and Coursework Standards

Element 10.05 states that “behavior analysts [should] ensure that … BCaBA supervision is conducted in accordance with the BACB’s standards” (Bailey & Burch, 2016). This ethical standard was violated because FBA was carried out by a BCaBA without supervision from BCBA. So, the results of FBA are not reliable.

2.09 Treatment/ Intervention Efficacy

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Element 2.09 states that “clients have a right to effective treatment” (Bailey & Burch, 2016). There is no evidence that shows that electric shock therapy is the most effective treatment. Therefore, implementing this procedure will be unethical.

4.05 Describing Behavior-Change Program Objectives

Essay on Risk-Benefit Analysis of Electric Shock Therapy Assignment

Element 4.05 states that “behavior analysts should describe, in writing, the objectives of the behavior-change program to the client before attempting to implement the program” (Bailey & Burch, 2016). This ethical code applies to electric shock therapy. So, parents should be told about the objectives of this program before implementation.

Risk-Benefit Worksheet – Electric Shock Therapy



Previous treatments for the behavior lacked empirical support (Bailey & Burch, 2016)

Both sensory integration therapy and facilitated communication are treatment methods that have been used in the past for these behaviors but there is not enough empirical evidence to support these treatments.

FBA was not done with supervision from a BCBA

The FBA which was conducted by a BCaBA was not done with the oversight of a BCBA which makes the results less reliable.

Individuals administering the treatment

Since these treatments would be administered at the school it can be said that the teachers and staff would be administering the treatment and they may not be well trained on implementation.

Potential harm to the client (Mayo Clinic, 2018)

The use of electric shocks may have negative and life long side effects on the young child.



Decrease in behaviors (Blenkush, 2017)

When the treatment is implemented if successful, elopement and aggressive behaviors will decrease.

Decrease in harm done

Since his aggressiveness has caused severe harm to others, if the treatment is successful the harm being done will decrease.

Increase in attention and more academic time

If the treatment is successful, the absence of the problematic behaviors will help the student remain in class and be able to pay attention to their academics longer since elopement will decrease.

Summary of Risk vs. Benefits

There was not enough information provided regarding length of the treatment, who would administer the treatment, and any possible health conditions that could interfere with the treatment. However, given the information provided, the risks outweighed the benefits of using the treatment.

  1. Bailey, J., & Burch, M. (2016). Ethics for Behavior Analysts, 3rd Edition (3rd ed.). London, England: Routledge.
  2. Blenkush, N. (2017). A Risk-Benefit Analysis of Antipsychotic Medication and Contingent Skin Shock for the Treatment of Destructive Behaviors. International Journal of Psychology & Behavior… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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