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  • Writer's pictureTLBC

Balancing Compassion and Accountability



At TLBC, we talk a lot about our core values of compassion, integrity, and growth. Today, I'd like to delve deeper into an issue that comes up when we work to exemplify our core value of compassion - and that's balancing compassion for employees and clients with accountability.


In our practice, compassion is paramount. It's the lens through which we understand our clients, their families, and our own staff. Yet, it's critical to realize that compassion without accountability can spiral into a realm of ineffective practices, blurred boundaries, and ultimately, subpar services. This is where accountability enters the equation.


Being an ABA business owner, a Clinical Director, or a BCBA, isn't just about following the best practices in therapy; it's about integrating those practices within an ethical and responsible business model. We could easily fall into the trap of always saying 'yes' to clients out of compassion—overextending resources, offering therapies beyond our scope, or even making therapeutic promises that we can't guarantee. This would not only be disingenuous but could also potentially harm those we aim to help.


Similarly, we could be 'compassionate' to our staff by avoiding hard conversations about performance or ignoring problems to maintain a facade of harmony. But what does that do? It sends the message that accountability is secondary, undermining both the growth of our team and the well-being of our clients.


Balancing compassion with accountability requires us to have clear communication channels with both staff and clients. It requires us to be transparent about what we can and cannot do. Most importantly, it obliges us to hold ourselves accountable for the promises we make and the services we offer. This is where compassion and accountability don't just co-exist but actually enhance each other.


Accountability without compassion could become rigid and punitive, focusing solely on metrics or billable hours. On the other hand, compassion without accountability can become indulgent and lose sight of the therapeutic and professional goals we're working towards.


In challenging times, it's tempting to tilt the scales in favor of one over the other, but we've found that it's in striking the right balance that we not only sustain but thrive. Our commitment to this balance is not just about maintaining our business standards; it's about advancing the field of ABA therapy as a whole. We've set high standards for ourselves because we believe our clients deserve nothing less, and because we believe in the endless potential of our dedicated team.

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