When I first began writing this statement I was really stuck, I guess you could call it writer’s block. How could I possibly sum up a day in the life of a Behaviour Therapist in one short paragraph? Each day in this role is completely different to the next and that is just one of the many reasons I love my job. I’ve always known that a 9-5 office job just wasn’t for me, I craved variety, excitement and ongoing professional development in my career. I knew I had found exactly this on my very first day with the Lizard Centre three years ago. I can’t summarise 365 days in my job within this paragraph however I will do my best.
Sure, each day starts the same, arrive at the centre and set up for your first client, and each day ends the same, wash all your toys and surfaces down and then drive home, however that would have to be where the similarities end.
Of course, as a Behaviour Therapist we have our regular clients and we have a general idea of what to expect but each session has to run completely different to the previous one, as much like myself our clients need variety, excitement and ongoing development too. One of the aspects I really love about being a behaviour therapist is not knowing how my client is going to present on any given day. One day they may come in full of energy and compliance and the session runs like clockwork, on any other day they may arrive with challenging behaviours that allows me the opportunity to work through these behaviours with the parents the moment they arrive. Working through a behaviour, helping parents and being able to help my client back on track for the remainder of the session is one of the most rewarding experiences as a Behaviour Therapist. It’s not always this straight forward and of course we can go through some really tough sessions trying to teach new skills or reduce challenging behaviours. Skill acquisition may be a slow progress and as a Behaviour Therapist you have to think on your feet and try new techniques to find what works best for each individual client. Particularly in this time of Covid-19 I have implemented at least 5 hand washing programs, each one being written and run uniquely for each client. There may also be times when behaviour reduction isn’t progressing as expected. As a Behaviour Therapist you are surrounded by a close-knit team of ABA professionals who are always available to assist with clinical problem solving to achieve the best for our clients.
I have mentioned numerous highlights of my role as a behaviour therapist however the most rewarding aspect would have to be those moments of success when you see your client learn a new skill or learn to replace challenging behaviours with functional skills. Those glimmers of success motivate you to keep working no matter what is happening in the outside world or your personal life.
A day in the life of a Behaviour Therapist is life changing, not just for our clients but for ourselves too!