Unpacking Pain, Protests, and Providing Service

What’s A Therapist To Do When The World Is Amuck and YOU Still Need To Provide A Service?

Years ago, I had an experience when my bad day turned into a bad week.  I was in such a state of emotional pain and angst.  I could not see anything beyond my well warranted emotions.  While trying to be strong in a phone conversation, my father said “Come Home and Take Care of Yourself” .  I initially thought “No”  as I had planned a jam packed weekend full of work.   But he insisted and said “Save Yourself”.

And I did. 

I was reminded of this when I watched the movie Harriet.  She escaped.  She was bold.  She knew the power of partnerships.  She saved herself and, though painful, let go of those that did not want to be saved.  And she had home. There are so many historical accounts past and current of people who have worked within their pain and moved a system all the while providing service.

During this time, it is important for organizations to ask “What will we ask of our staff” during this heightened emotional time.  Will we ignore the pain of the public portrayed on the news and rally our staff to focus on clinical work only?  

In thinking about how burnout happens…its root cause is when people ignore their own pain AND the systems around them ignore it (pain) as well.   Are we asking people to unpack their pain at work?  Whether we like it or not, people will bring their wholeselves (the self they portray, the phone articulate always ready executive, and the self they hide) to their clinical sessions…they may move slower or be in overdrive, they may feel like all eyes are on them…

No one is okay and most people are uncomfortable to bring it up within our organizations. 

There is a cry sometimes that your soul needs.  And this is a complex when you are of service.  You feel missioned and commissioned to provide this service to others.  In our pouring to families through our treatment planning, researching solutions, showing up during quarantine…you-we are in overdrive.  And then the world decided to have a Tipping Point…and overdrive has turned to complete exhaustion.

It’s okay that we unwrap and declutter our emotional spaces right now.  There is plenty of work to do.

The work, though, begins with you as the cup.  Doing what works for you to fill up your emotional space with re-energized purpose and vision. 

It is impossible to have 2020 vision without decluttering.  And we do our best work with heightened levels of clarity of who we are.  We carry out our mission better when we have loosened the chains of pretending, proving, and ignoring our own needs.  Saving yourself is key in this work of clinical leadership.

Leading at all levels, whether a technician-therapist assistant- coach- educator-behavior analyst-speech pathologist, from this day forward will need you to have your full selves present and available.

  • Saving Yourself is not selfish.  It is necessary.
  • Saving YOU demonstrates freedom attainable.
  • Saving YOU makes you light for the journey and removes burnout from your vocabulary as a clinician.
  • Saving YOU allows you deeper knowledge that joy and pain can reside together.
  • Saving YOU gives you wind to pick up others.
  • Saving YOU helps you understand where your energy should be.
  • Saving YOU brings you to realization that the work is too much for a party of one, partnerships are critical.
  • Saving YOU gives clarity about who your people are.

This clinical work that we do with our clients is necessary for us as we continue this path of serving others. 

What’s a therapist to do when the world is amuck and you still need to provide a service?

  1. Figure out what your ‘home’ is during the day
  2. Grab a therapist …EAP…Betterhelp. Talk to someone who does this for a living.
  3. Stay off of FB with all the feelings…grab a journal and write it all down
  4. Laugh…grab a comedy
  5. Be YOU.  Talk about it.  Say this sucks but I am working through it and I am here
  6. Grab some boundaries…with work (are you working all day)…with social media (are you watching all the videos)
  7. Save yourself.  Don’t take everything on…don’t eat the whole cake (social agenda).  Grab a slice according to the size that fits your life and if you don’t want cake (social agenda) right now that’s okay.  There are plenty of us out there who are doing the work , we will save a space for you when you are ready.
  8. Realize movement and progress takes time.  The change we all want will not happen at 100% tomorrow.
  9. Come to terms with first level individual responsibility of burnout.  Saving yourself means ‘mental health days’ and being gentle with you.
  10. Don’t hide you anymore.  Humans are complex and so are you.  Being professional does not mean you wear a mask…take it off (its too heavy).

My grandmother has seen this before.  She is 90 plus.  

That’s proof that we get through this moment in history.

The goal is to get through it better with change that we all can use and need. 

The ABA Task Force for Social Justice will hold its first meeting

Join us and register here. 

Let’s Focus. Be Well. Strategize. and Thrive.

~Landria Seals Green,MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Disseminating the Science to Eradicate Social Injustices

Why the Science of ABA Doesn’t Reach and What We Should Do About It

Sounds serious doesn’t it? Sounds like we are really about to make an impact. Sounds smart?!? 

There are so many good initiatives in our field that don’t have legs. I liken it to Preaching to The choir. The problem is that in our best efforts as behavior analysts to solve social problems is that we maintain our positions in journal articles and in blogs like this and in presentations where there are people who think like us..applauding. It’s not actionable. It’s almost like sitting in a church listening to the preacher talking to a group of committed nuns about heaven. The point of our work is to see the impact outside of ourselves…regardless if we work in autism, clinical OBM, corporate OBM, instructional design, diversity, etc. We all know that applied behavior analysis addresses socially significant behaviors and issues. Systematic racism that is built and maintained in and by our society is socially significant!

SOCIAL significance. 

Behavior CHANGE.

We can make a greater impact when we decide to adjust our language and market better. It’s the PR finesse. It’s about communication and providing action plans. All of us as behavior analysts need to come together on this issue. Here are some things that you can do to support this socially significant behavior change that we need to see in our communities.

  1. Partner with local law enforcement within your area for implicit bias training. Not only that, teach local law enforcement how behavior analysis can help and make it easy for them. This can be done by creating an ABA task force in your area where you all can:
    • Operationally define the problem behaviors that may lead up to the death of black and brown people everyday such as discrimination, implicit bias, etc.
    • Provide an analysis of the contingencies that maintain these behaviors in your area but even worldwide (i.e., reinforcement, rule governed behavior, etc.) 
    • Provide an action plan built on the principles of applied behavior analysis and consider Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
  2. Seek out and become active with your local chamber of commerce to adjust how area businesses provide unbiased customer service.
  3. Contact your local legislators and lawmakers and demand change.
  4. Step out of our traditional focus…become active and run for local office. Become part of the legislative committee in your committee. Volunteer with local organizations focused on voter suppression, human rights
  5. When egregious acts of violence and racism occur by local law enforcement (and even other individuals), call officials in your area and demand that these acts are addressed.
  6. Find a local high school and the in house security to focus on behavior change procedures.
  7. Collaborate with area churches…write grants for literacy, parent advocacy, etc.
  8. Evaluate your own implicit biases and be aware of their effects on society
    • Learn more about the connections between racism, sexism, socioeconomic status, and overrepresentation in the juvenile and criminal justice populations.
    • Consider the elitism in language of “privilege” “I’ll give you a seat at the table”; “black families are underserved” as group based language and one of accommodation but expecting the “Gone With The Wind” gratitude from the black and brown person
    • Consider the intellectual capacity and power of brown and black people in our field as more than talks on diversity but topics in marketing, business, interventions, clinical and corporate OBM practices.
  9. Realize that brown and black people NOT in leadership in clinical organizations, conference boards, societies is problematic for our professional growth, perception in the world, and impact. Become involved .
  10. Use the principles to our advantage
    • Reinforce social behaviors that align with acceptance, integration, and support of minorities.
    • Punish behaviors that promote racism and discrimination on extinction such as microaggressions.
      • The reason we say punish is because simply ignoring these behaviors (or placing these behaviors on extinction) is not enough. Turning a blind eye to these behaviors does not work which we can see throughout social media and our day to day interactions with others who engage in these behaviors. 

We need to have true impact where our fingers can touch, make connections, establish relationships and then we give them a Playbook on what to do to address these issues.

We have created hashtags that can work for solutions and to be used on social media to promote our cause.

#behavioranalystssolveproblems 

#changebehavior

#sociallysignificantbehaviorchange

We will never eradicate racism when we only talk at our kitchen table to people who think like us. The way that we really make an impact is talking to people outside of ourselves and our comfort zone.

  1. Invade the systems within your local political communities
  2. Understand the power of your presence
  3. Be strategic. Speak and become a value added person to the profession and elevate the areas you want to see and believe behavior analysis should have a larger level of influence.
  4. Learn to speak the language of the people you want to reach so that they will be inclined to listen and see your value.
  5. Utilize your organization to create statements and positions on world issues.

It’s not about presenting at the next ABA conference nor having diversity interest groups where black and brown people are yet to exist with voices, this is about so much more. This is a serious and deadly issue. 

If you want to reduce racism and make an impact while also marketing the profession better, then we call to you! 

This is your call to truly make an impact for our field and for society!

Co Written by

Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA     Vanessa Bethea-Miller, M.A., BCBA, LBS

@LandriaGreenSLPGURU (instagram)              @bcba_ness (Instagram)

@SLPGURU (facebook)                                      @vanessabetheamiller (facebook)

photo credit: Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Why Coaching Matters in Leadership

Lessons from Life’s Last Dance from my coach,

Robert H. Seals

It’s no secret that most of the coaching I have ever found to be beneficial for my sustenance as a clinical leader has been outside the world of therapy. I have had my mother who spent year’s as a Chicago Public School teacher, I grew up in a church with parents who led various areas and such, and I had my father. This up close 24 hour learning in communication, politics, navigating across various worlds of corporate-community was most of what I needed to navigate my career, business, conferences and professional slights and successes in Applied Behavior Analysis and Speech-Language Pathology.

On April 8th of this year, my father passed away. It’s an interesting time to lose someone. Without complaint, we moved with what could happen because no ceremony could take the place of the tremendous loss my family felt.

When circumstances happen to people in leadership, you hope that on your team exists people who understand that they still have a job to do and allow you time and space to simply Be. That there are people who will silently step in and fill the gap. I am thankful that I have this within my team.

It’s a space of time you need as a leader, but the cultivation of your team in seeing you as human has to happen before that moment. Simply, if you have been super human in leadership and super supportive to many people…hiding your faults-failures-laughter…your team is less likely to see you as human-as a person. Burnout happens when we hide our humanness… I am fortunate that in seeing leadership in my parents and in mentors, they were authentic people. So good-bad-and indifferent, I am always Landria (The daughter of Bob).

In speaking to member’s of my father’s team at the time of his passing, I could tell and see that his team was devasted. Why? He was human with a family. He was a person that motivated; he smiled; he articulated his feelings; and was a lover of life. His team missed him….certainly his skill as a network security engineer was important (and he loved it)…but the essence of himself was key.

Throughout my life, my father taught my sister and I many lessons. From his hospital bed and in conversation, he restated many lessons. I am going to share a few with you…

Lesson 1: Take Care of Yourself

Filling your tank should not be an afterthought, it is a must. When I coach people, and they begin talking about staff incentives (and those are important and have a place), I frequently inquire have they given to themselves first. Getting in the practice and feeling of treating yourself well for 30 days consistently without doing for another person on your team is a challenge for most…but a good practice to build habit. Here you begin learning what drives-motivates you; and developing the ultimate skill of moving to intrinsic motivation for the work begins with the leader. It is something that we need to develop “inside-out work”. If we don’t do this well…we will be stuck at the tangible reinforcer level and so will our staff. Emitting and learning that the ‘good take care’ is seen in boundary development, emotional regulation, healthy living, guilt free time away and off, the dual complexity of servant leadership (serving -giving- tending to yourself), time with people know and love are the true areas of better self-care.

Lesson Two: Enjoy Life

Many people don’t. My last family vacation (Janet Jackson concert in Vegas)…yes at 40plus years old… my parents still held family vacations that they would invite my sister and I to join them on. My father was an advocate of Enjoying Life. And recently in November as I contemplated a gift for me…he said. No one has seen your late nights, your sacrifice, or even your tears as you support your business in ways people don’t even get or are concerned with/about. You know. Each chance you get…enjoy life.

Lesson Three: Take Care of Your People.

My father said this to me via phone from his hospital bed. And he said this to me repeatedly. Truth is, do your best. Make the good effort. But don’t do this in absence of you…you are your ‘people’ too.

Lesson Four: Step Back – Strategize – Execute

Whenever I had tough decisions to make and my emotions were high due to stress. He would remind me about who I was. You are “Landria Seals hyphen Green” (he always said hyphen). He would then remind me to step back – strategize – and execute. My job was not to hesitate as the player in the game. Believe in myself having done the research, thought about it.

Lesson Five: Not Everyone Will Understand. Pleasing People Is Never Your Problem.

Figure out who your audience truly is. The people and your clients will benefit when you please an audience of One.

Lesson Six: You were made for this. You have everything inside of you to do this. Keep Pushing.

I spoke to my father about twice a day each day. When he was in the hospital, he called me twice a day. We maintained our schedule of communication. He coached me…telling me that I was made for this moment. He told me that he could see the detail in my execution based upon his conversation(s) with the hospital staff. He told me he was proud of me and that I could handle this. He was steady and so was I. No tears…we were in a game (open to the outcome) understanding that we would win in both scenarios. And as his daughter, I would execute well. He trusted me. So when the ball was passed in our Last Dance, I understood fully the preparation that he gave my sister and I.

What I know for sure…no matter the circumstances…when you are a Leader- Coach…you remain in that role no matter what life throws at you. But great leaders…pass the baton throughout their experience with their team. Questions we must ask ourselves as we support people remotely…was the huddle where people thrive most? Or is the point of the huddle to assemble and go back out and execute? No judgement about where people are in their leadership…but this moment of ‘COVID-remote working-technology newness- telehealth onboarding’…are you focused on the camaraderie of the huddle or the information and teaching from the ‘huddle moments’.

It is a challenge for me to not have my daily calls…but I feel prepared to face our next. Steady….Strategizing…..Executing…

Signed,

A Clinical Leader who is moving to a new level of what it means to Thrive

#daddy’sgirl

To learn more about my father, http://www.robertseals.life

When Feedback Isn’t Elegant

Don’t Dismiss Corrective Feedback When the Packaging Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations…Decide to Grow

Feedback.  It’s the thing we want.  But if we are honest, we don’t like feedback.  At least the feedback that we haven’t crafted to meet our social-emotional needs of the day.

If we are most honest, we want the feedback in a certain way.  We emotionally need it to be packaged between how awesome we are, the one thing that needs to be approved, and then a tail of awesome.  The truth about the sandwich method is that we want thinly sliced deli meat between two large slices of warm challah bread straight from the baker’s oven.  No one wants the doubledecker sandwich of feedback.

We want to be awesome.  We want corrective feedback heavy in compassion in consideration of our personal circumstances and the hug we need. My mother would say…” you don’t get your hug and true feedback from the same place. Your soft place is your soft place”. Go where you can grow.

Most of us can attest to the fact that the best feedback probably occurred in a way far from elegant.  It was not warm nor fuzzy.  It was raw and honest.

Behavior Analysts appreciate raw data so we can see the realness of the experience.  Yet, this tolerance of raw is not shaped around communication, feedback, tolerance to personal styles of communication of others, nor do we always appreciate corrective feedback that is open and honest.  We want a hug…a sandwich method.  Yet, most people who are giving the best information don’t make time for the sandwich…they tell you.

And because the package was not what we want, we miss the message.  We miss the message because we accuse the deliverer’s communication style of being harsh.  We then discuss how the feedback didn’t align with the latest presentation on supervision and communication.  The presentation that provides information without context….your context. Context matters. It matters so much, there should be a disclaimer when roleplays and situations are discussed in behavior analytic workshops and conferences. But…maybe it is discussed and we don’t hear the disclaimer…because we like our packages (hmmm).

A bit of perspective…most feedback to help you grow will feel like you are a seed in the hands of a master gardener.  The gardener is focused on growth and beauty…they will do what is necessary to bring the vision to fruition.  The gardener understands that not all the seeds will grow, yet he puts in the work…and waits for the one(s) that will grow into the beauty from the work.  Seeds-You will be watered, planted, readjusted, manipulated for growth, observed. I’m sure we have all encountered parents who yell, supervisors who sigh, supervisees who whine, and clients who present with less than optimal behavior towards us within our sessions. That’s unpretty feedback. Decipher it…Ask Better Questions…Learn From it…Grow.

Here’s to those who saw more in me than I saw in myself and their feedback pulled weeds, added fertilizer, and tended to me in ways that made me (at times uncomfortable) because of the enormity of the tasks they put before me.

  • Mrs. Ibom (high school teacher)- who made me create lessons to teach my fellow peers in U.S. History class…because she saw the speaker in me.
  • Robert Seals (my dad) – who made me see each moment as a new opportunity that I authored.  Who told me “Don’t get angry.  Get smarter”
  • Mrs. Mulhern – who crossed off my thoughts and elementary statements in reports and taught me to be a master report writer.
  • Teresa Cherry Cruz (SLP) – who taught me that no one should hear what “I think” in an IEP meeting…because I matter less…data matters more.  Bring the data.  Data is like money…it is green and has currency…every time.
  • Dr. Wayne Holland – who in high-pressure situations, sits back and remarks about the fun he’s having. 

These people provided the ‘straight talk for straight understanding’ essential to my growth personally and professionally. Their corrective feedback was more invested in my potential and well-being and was not the warm fuzzy that many people expect to get. There was little verbal hugging or hand-holding.

They guided me.  And once I showed investment and my skin grew…they then became my colleagues…and later friends. 

The point is…the care we want in feedback doesn’t have to present itself.  The point of feedback is to get it…learn from it…throw out what doesn’t fit nor feel right (but ask yourself why)…and then file it so that we can pull it when needed.  It’s not always pretty and quite frankly…gardening is messy-muddy but when the seed is positioned just right, the beauty grows and is seen by all who encounter it. 

Consider that feedback will be what it is.  The package will not always have beauty…but the results of the time-investment of both the gardener and the seed will undoubtedly result in a final product.  While the gardener needs to learn to master the art of growing and grooming the specific-individual flower; the seed too has a responsibility to trust that the experienced gardener may see something he/she/they do not in the moment. 

In order to grow a profession of people who are

  • Resilient
  • Clear communicators
  • Honest
  • Humble about their abilities
  • Challenged to grow
  • Authentic in interactions
  • Better Listeners
  • Respect sameness and differences

...we have to BE this and Give them opportunities to BECOME.

Let’s Reimagine and Grow!

~Landria Seals Green,MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA

photo credit: Photo by Malorie Hibon on Unsplash

Reprioritizing Your Priorities as a Clinical Leader

Why This Matters For YOU and the Work You Do

If I can be honest about me, I’ve not always had my priorities straight. And there are times, even now, when I found myself off balance and off center. When this has happened, I now know that I physically react to the inward conundrum and chaos I feel. It could be an eye twitch, eating too much of this or a lot of that, even being overly emotional about things that normally wouldn’t get an eye roll.

I’ve discovered this about myself. I understand me so well I now know that these are not things to gloss over or ignore. They are my ripples in the pond.

  • To pay better attention.
  • To say NO more and yes less.
  • To pay attention to my people.
  • To make sure decisions are in alignment with the purpose….the dream…the calling.

A good friend of mine once told me over lunch that whatever work tasks or social offerings do not fit around her priorities, she will say No. When I bring this up to her, she does not recall fully and is marveled at her wisdom. I am not…you need those people around you to feed you when your soul is hungry.

But for women…women clinical leaders who do too much…who are racing to do the next…who hold up the banner of collaboration not competition but feel race to show up…the women who demonstrate the need to prove their presence in the ever changing populous of ABA and other clinical leaders….I will impart to you the best advise I’ve ever been given.

YOU matter. YOU matter so much that pausing never requires permission. YOU are needed in spaces in your life with the real people that know you best. Those are the priorities. Career is present and can be reimagined-redeveloped-repurposed-and even reinvented. But the people in your life…make time for them. Honor where you are and sit back and enjoy your life. And if the inventory of your life does not make you smile, put in the work and fix it.

Here’s what I know. When you fix that, your work is more meaningful. You supervise better. You are more efficient. You impart solid support to the budding professional who is watching you. You are more patient with colleagues because you have given grace to yourself. You are better able to articulate your needs because you have done the self-work. And equally important, you grow.

Clinical Leadership can be challenging at any time…but especially now. You are tasked to have answers you may not hold (yet). You are tasked to make decisions and be creative and you are bone dry. Innovation, Creativity, Leadership within or outside of a crisis is always necessary…anything else is boring. But your best self cannot fully operate in the headspace of leadership if we don’t acknowledge and embody the perspective that leadership is lived. It’s not something you step into because you ask great questions in a facebook group. Leadership does not require superhuman talent and superheroics of being all things to all people. Leadership does not mean sole burden bearer.

When we cultivate the relationships of those we hold dear, they uphold and support us in the spaces that matter to us. I am fortunate to have such and understand that it continues to happen for me because I feed those relationships. My workplace benefits from the emotional support I have in my family and close friendships. This allows me to demonstrate clarity-strength- and failure bounce back in certain and uncertain times.

We can attend all the webinars…host the best courses…be an influencer in our profession. But when you are hollow inside, you begin to ask the profession to hug you and give you what you should be giving yourself all along.

The next time you are challenged personally and things at home are not going in the direction you intended. Those environmental variables matter and need to be adjusted. Fix it. Fix them. Fix you…that’s the real Behavior Change.

Enjoy Life! Because it is the single gift we receive…and it matters.

~Landria Seals Green,MA., CCC-SLP,BCBA

Photo by Pedro Kümmel on Unsplash

The Professional Divide in Telehealth

How Behavior Analysts Missed Reaching Across the Aisle and Learning from Speech-Language Pathologists in Telehealth during COVID-19

I have not always jumped on the bandwagon of professional collaboration but YIKES! This has been really interesting and harrowing to watch. It’s like watching two sets of farmers, both dedicated to the work of food delivery for its citizens. Farmer set A is focused on a set of delivery with innovation defined as looking how their colleague places seeds in the soil for growth. And the other set, Farmer B, understands that growth means looking outside of its farm is important for sustainability…these people gather information and bring it back in for sustained growth. So when famine comes…the rain stops. Farmer B is able to continue and onboard others within its set to keep the food growing. Farmer A looks to a few within its group for support…BUT the leaders in set A decide to shift how others in Farmer set A see and perceive information and the challenge of growth and the promise thereof, evades Farmer Set A…once again.

This was the case in the lack of reaching across the aisle and acknowledging that the knowledge being sought was already, and has been present for some time. It was (is) in a different group.

I guess my frustration with collaboration is the aloof perspective that some identified leaders don’t readily or necessarily move outside of friendship circles to provide information. When we talk about diversity and our belief in it as more than a workshop topic….diveristy looks like

  • Reaching beyond friendship circles
  • Reaching beyond who we know
  • Going to other professions for leadership

COVID-19 is something that paused people. And it should give us even more pause after this is all over. We should be revisiting who we listen to and why? Who are our leaders and why? Do our leaders give us true diversity…or is it their colleague friends…and is that the criteria of who gets appointed in this online-social media-professional world of the dissemination of information.

Telehealth is not the same as physical face to face therapy. Telehealth is not something that we click on our screens and expect magic to happen. When done well…telehealth is more challenging and has a larger cognitive load on that of the deliverer of services. It is the magical use of technology, creativity in material, innovation, and the implementation of evidenced based therapy practice. Telehealth is not for everyone…clients and clinicians alike. Yes there should be a space for people to Build Repertoires and Yes there Should be conversation-teaching-learning for learning from all those that actually do this and have done this. Yes it is a space for collaboration professionally. And finally like most things, requires wisdom in leadership to say “Hey I don’t know this…but this person does.”

There were so many questions about “How Do We Do This?” in the world of behavior analysis…but there were few leads in the direction of Innovation. Change in the infrastructure and what we hold as models of implementation have to be revisited in the world of Teletherapy. Why? Because they are NOT the same. There are questions we should be asking ourselves and each other.

  • Who’s already doing this?
  • How can we learn from them?
  • What can they teach us?

Instead, the wisdom of those we recognize did not lead the profession to going across the aisle. We, instead, looked within our own backyards. And not only that, assumed that our lack of familiarity with people (those not in our professional friend group) was very much aligned with the lack of knowledge in this space of technology and service delivery.

There was a time when all of this technology stuff was put in the unethical category in ABA. I felt much of that in Michigan when I began using telehealth and am glad I stayed the course and shifted mindsets. I saw the same happen in Speech-Language Pathology with the early work of Diana Christiana in telehealth.

In the words of my grandmother and the older woman in Trader Joe’s , there is absolutely nothing new under the sun. Learn from this and Be Innovative. Here are a few resources from people who have done this and some guidelines in Telehealth supported by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Keep Learning and Keep Reimagining ABA

Landria Seals Green,MA., CCC-SLP,BCBA

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Do What You Can!

Whew Girl!

It’s been quite a ride over here in these parts. And lovely at the same time. Is it Charles Dickens who wrote ‘It was the best of times and the worst of times’. I probably edge toward the middle most days. I appreciate homeschooling and remember a time that I committed to this with our son when he was younger. I am actually happy to have this time to work with my young daughter. But this ish is mandatory. Focused shelter in place…so the mindstate has to shift. Don’t you think?

And while we are having this glorious talk of influence and time with our families and children. Momma has to work. I’m a mother with a semi-flexible schedule and let’s just say it has gotten more than intense. In my field of Applied Behavior Analysis and Speech Pathology, I was busy moving a practice that provided 33% telehealth to a 100% telehealth model to keep our clients services and maintain our staff employment status. I put a lot on myself and was in complete overdrive in getting this out not only for me but for clinical leaders like myself.

But here is the thing…homeschool from teachers to this Type A momma has moved into serious project manage and Excel sheets. And before you judge me, it is the back end support needed to make sure my children can skip around, snack, play, and still get their work done. It’s not about being balanced 100% each day for me …it has always been about doing what I can during my high energy hours. I have about 4 hours a day that I can zero in and burn through a lot of things. But after that time, I am on my computer being the most unproductive.

So here is what this semi-workfrom home #mompreneur has to say about this added level of responsibility:

  1. Treat the organization of home-school assignments as if you are leading a project with time based deliverable.
  2. Understand that the little people who will deliver need snacks, treats, time, and fun to feel good about getting their assignments done.
  3. It is a good time to teach your children to knock on your door and wait for you to answer…it just helps you while you are in your workflow
  4. Come up for air. That means…eat lunch, put out snacks, take a walk, make dinner
  5. Make time for cookies and other homemade baked goods….its math, reading, communication skills
  6. Realize your best hours and work during that time only.
  7. Headphones. Give your children over the ear headphones to listen to stories and such on their tablet devices.
  8. Create a schedule for your family and follow it on days that make sense for you.
  9. Be flexible
  10. Don’t tolerate anyone’s BS. A good friend of mine said there is zero tolerance for optional people to bring stress and BS in your life…so I’m going with that.

Figure out your new dreams…because no one should come out of this with business as usual.

Let’s Stay Empowered!

~Landria Seals Green,MA., CCC-SLP,BCBA

When People Sigh…

*MALADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR IS CONTAGIOUS. AMYGDALA CONTROL NEEDED*

Have you ever sighed at work?  Have you ever walked into someone’s office and sighed?

I have experienced both. 

When we sigh, it is usually a  sign of being overwhelmed, overcapacity, frustrated, and perhaps annoyed.

Two weeks ago, I sat across from a staff person when things were not going well for anyone at work.  And I remember saying, this is something that we will get through…and while this is a lot.  If it were not this, it would be something else. 

So here we are today.  Past storm over.  I casually ask the same person “How’s it going?” and she let out a big sigh.  I chuckled and listened to her list.  After the list, I responded informed her that all of these tasks were part of her leadership role.  I then dug deeper and said “I want to remind you that the big storm is past and behind us.  And now you have found another thing”. 

In the conversation, I also stated that when home life is overwhelming and you are doing everything (cleaning, new baby, childcare navigation, relationship, family coordination), work is not overwhelming; LIFE is overwhelming.  But when we compare the two, work will be the culprit; if we are not careful to compartmentalize and isolate the direct relationship between scenario(antecedent) and the actual sighing behavior.

I revealed that I am careful about my sighs…I ask myself a few questions when I sigh…

  • Did I plan or execute poorly?
  • Did I not fully articulate my needs?
  • Did not delegate well?

When I am able to segment and think about why I feel a certain way, I am better able to control my emotions and respect the work environment or home environment I am in. My home doesn’t deserve my sighs as much as my workplace does. Sighs are environment invaders and disrupt the emotional spaces of others. Sighs (when they occur) need to be checked. If a hug is warranted, still provide the kind redirection about what can be verbalized instead of a sigh infiltration.

Here’s the truth about sighing:

  1. Sighs are a complaint that something is not going okay
  2. Sighs are contagious
  3. Leaders lead.  This leadership can inspire a trail of complaints, praises, or sighs
  4. The work environment invaded by sighs can create a negative space that moves from one person to the next.
  5. Leaders have to treat the work environment like a baby…providing it with the support and nurturing it needs to grow.  Sighing is a contaminant.
  6. Sighing deserves a listen and a redirection.
  7. It’s a sign, you need some friend time; a day off.
  8. A subconscious way of saying something needs to change. And life should be easier (laundry, etc.)

Teaching self-care is important.  Not with a program or gift cards.  But with introspection.  Moving staff to understand themselves by asking questions like “What do I need?  Why am I sighing?  What can I change about my life and schedule?  What can I delegate?  Do I need to talk to someone?”

As this staff person sat across from me, I did not rush to rescue nor fix her situation.  I listened and realigned her towards self-reflection and providing the boundaries of workplace requirements.  Small or large organizations, organisms must be conscientious about their influence and impact.  Sighs are small and they have legs…they turn into verbal discontent (warranted or not) and can often lead to “fix this for me” vs empowering people to become active in their own maladaptive behavior reduction.

It’s important to recognize that life happens in seasons. There are times in work where it WILL be overwhelming and a lot will need to be done. Sigh on!

Be careful about and conscious of the energy that emits. Be able to own what you put in the air of the work environment. If you are in a leadership position, use these sighs sparingly.

Organizations deserve peace, authenticity, and compatibility of expected behavior.  It takes bravery for clinical leaders to stand in this arena of amygdala control-regulation and redirect adult learners (staff) to employ emotional regulation strategies and support the work environment and what it needs to thrive.

Let’s Thrive!

~Landria Seals Green,MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Photo by Doğukan Şahin on UnsplashPublishAre you ready to publish?

What Supervision Looks Like

Whether ONsite or via Telepractice, Get in the game and Show the HOW and WHY

Supervision can be elusive.

My summation, it is an art. An art of prompt towards independence in a finite period of time complicated by codes, paperwork, and individualized instruction so that the RBT gets it.

But what about supervision of the up and coming Behavior Analyst? In a culture and world of ‘answer me now’ and ‘i have a question…and another thought…and another thought’. For me, professionally within my clinical setting and in opportunities to collaborate in other clinics, it can be…well…a lot.

While Supervision is now Protocol Modification from a medical insurance perspective. The art of what that is can be lost in the conundrum of a model. In truth, supervision better explains from a student-teacher relationship. In fact, it is better absorbed and gets to the foundation of the development of the next generation(s) of behavior analysts, RBTs, and clinicians.

How do we master this? Teaching people to move beyond personal comfort, apply learned knowledge, and providing feedback in a compassionate clearly communicated way (so there is no room for misinterpretation) is an art. In the words of my husband, it is masterful work. Here is my top 8 list of supervision how to for the new or newly minted BCBA or aspiring clinician.

  1. Get in there and MODEL. Unless you are a master with words , examples, and demonstrations…sit next to the client. Model the technique for the RBT. Show them how to do it. Give them opportunity to watch you and ask questions.
  2. Supervision is serious and not a time to create strong camaraderie where the purpose of the visit is lost. Now relatedness with colleagues is important. But check the miscellaneous conversation at the door and for breaks. Use your time wisely. It is this opportunity to model professional on-task behavior.
  3. Conduct IOA. Check data. You want you and the RBT to think the same…see the same way…making the plus and prompts in sync and unison for that child’s therapy team. Explain your WHY for data points.
  4. Check materials…how long have these been in use? Change them out. And a great way to check this is to create a running record of materials for each client. Remember…multiple exemplars and opportunities.
  5. The opportunity for supervision is you. Not the next book and graphic that you see. This is about getting in there and upgrading that client’s learning opportunity. Supervision is about providing an opportunity of learning that the client benefits from. A better RBT is better treatment fidelity.
  6. For RBTs that don’t have the best professional on task behavior. First ask yourself, if you have modeled the behavior you wish to see. Then, ask yourself if you have provided direct communication for the behavior you wish to see. Finally, assess your team using numbers and actual deliverable related to the job while ON the job…numbers-data-science is for all of our clients.
  7. Technology is a robust tool and in telehealth the use of it can be beneficial, if we allow it to be. It’s more a mindset and understand that the quality of supervision rests with not the location or modifier, but with how we supervise. Feedback should be demonstrative..I can show you and tell you how. Correction should take into consideration that partnership is far long lasting than compliance through controlling and friendship relationships with technicians.
  8. Realize that leadership is space of development and can be lonely at times. This is especially true if you have worked through the ranks as an RBT and now on your way to becoming Board Certified. And everyone wants a friend at work, but relationships based upon a disdain for a supervisor, director, or company are never long-lasting.

Stay Humble. Stay Human. Keep Your Heart for the Work. Always Learn. Enjoy the clients you are with. Be Disneyland!

~Landria Seals Green, SLPGURU

photo credit:  David Travis on Unsplash

Inside – Outside. Managing Your ABA Practice and Staff in an Instagram World

What if, as a boss, your client is your staff member? Then would the concepts of behavior shaping, instructional control, consequence and antecedent interventions, motivating operants apply? If your answer is Yes, keep reading.

Managing. Management. These are real words with real meaning that require real time and responsibility. In an age of memes of what a boss is vs. a leader, it would make one who manages or is responsible for the daily execution of an ABA Therapy or Private Practice that they are missing the mark.

Consider this: The work of business leadership ownership requires the dual responsibility of boss and leader. And just as in a marriage or any relationship, it is never 50/50. – SealsGreen, 2019

When we add on the complexity of being in charge to the fact that nothing we do is really private when social media culture enters in the form of staff people who Instagram, Tweet, IM, Meme, and Snapchat their emotions. Added to this complexity is that professional circles are not what they once were. What do I mean? Well, the increased number of online schools and degree programs in ABA forces distance learners to seek their professional circles in Facebook and various question boards. Community is redefined as bold, brazen( at times), without the communication apptiude and experience…and it is applauded by the community. And, like it or not, the acceptance of such has created a culture of

Instagram: Show me in pictures. Facebook: as the Encyclopedia of Fact

Twitter: short answers Meme: is it funny? Snapchat: I can say it and it disappears without consequence.

When we shift how we view social media and its implications of human behavior in the workplace, it does require us as leadership-managers-bosses to adjust the measuring stick…with an upward movement…for workplace expectations.

So How Do We Do This?

  1. Make the mission of the organization important by overcommunicating it.
  2. Run shop like ABA Theory in full manifesto. This means antecedent and consequence interventions for staff
  3. It means that preference assessments are good within alignment of what is good, in alignment with budgets.
  4. Be clear in your communication by utilizing “No”
  5. Understand that invitations to enter the workplace are as important as invitations to exit the workplace
  6. Covenant Restrictive Policy including a social media policy that requires that no language and discussion about your organization is for public consumption in a verbal form nor on social media.
  7. Enforce your policy. You will need to be a boss and #bossup.

This is what I have learned. One bad apple truly does spoil the whole bunch AND it gives you insight on how quickly rot can grow within an organization based upon proximity of the apples and our slow movement in getting the ROT – ROOT cause out. And most times the rootcause is the culture we have created and allowed. #culturebeatspolicyallthetime

The best thing we can do for ourselves as leaders and owners is not define who we are by the latest quote by Richard Branson. While that is a great thought, many of us are working knee to knee with people who will tweet and Instagram about you and your workplace if not for the boundaries and perimeters we have established. The truth is that it is a jungle out here and authentic leadership is your friend. It’s the only way you make it. Because YOU matter.

Stay Empowered. #BossUP

~Landria Seals Green, TherapyBiz GURU