Dual Diagnosis: An Introduction to a Behavior Analytic Perspective: An 8 hr course in 4 parts


Wednesdays, 4/21/2021, 4/28/2021, 5/5/2021,  & 5/12/2021

Professor Peter Sturmey

Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm eastern (New York)

Recording Availability:.

MISSED the LIVE presentation dates? Workshop will remain available for purchase thru the 5/12/21. If you miss a LIVE presentation(s) you can attend via the recording and catch the next one(s) LIVE! .

All Videos close May 22, 2021 at 11:59 pm eastern (New York)

Cancellation, Missed Webinar, and Grievance Policies | Accessibility

Event Information

PART 1 - Dual Diagnosis -An Introduction to a Behavior Analytic Perspective


It is widely assumed that individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders are at greater risk for mental health challenges--including anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders--than the general population. This may be due to risk factors such as social isolation; stigmatization and discrimination; and poor social, language and coping skills. In addition, certain genetic disorders associated with intellectual disabilities appear to be associated with mental health disorders. Traditional solutions to these issues from clinical psychology and psychiatry have been to make accommodations in diagnosis and traditional treatments such as psychopharmacology and cognitive behavior therapy.
Applied Behavior Analysis, however, has a long history of work in mental health, dating back to empirical work in the 1950’s. This introductory webinar provides an overview of behavior analytic approaches to mental health issues in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders including functional analytic assessments of mental health-related behavior and function-based behavioral interventions.

Target Audience: Professionals for whom the topic is within their scope of practice. We welcome students and others who are also interested in the topic to join us.


By the end of this event participants should be able to identify:

  1. the definitions of dual diagnosis
  2.  the prevalence of dual diagnosis and its risk factors
  3. current issues in dual diagnosis including diagnosis, over medication, treatment modification and effectiveness
  4. the contribution of ABA to dual diagnosis services and research.

PART 2 - Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders in People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Individuals with intellectual disabilities and ASD, like others, experience anxiety and anxiety disorders, but until recently anxiety in this population was largely ignored. This webinar will: (a) review diagnosis and definition (including the behavioral equivalents hypothesis); (b) review behavioral conceptualization and case formulation, treatment and outcome literature for anxiety and anxiety disorders; and (c) discuss clinical issues related to managing individual cases.


By the end of this event participants should be able to identify:
1. Signs and symptoms of anxiety
2. Atypical presentations including the behavioral equivalents hypothesis of anxiety;
3. Behavior analytic accounts of anxiety;
4. Evidence-Based Practices for treatment of anxiety, including exposure plus reinforcement for anxiety disorders
5. Clinical issues related to managing individual cases

PART 3 - Dual Diagnosis: A Behavior Analytic Perspective on Mood Disorders in People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, like others, experience depression and may indeed be at greater risk than others due to poverty, poor social skills, limited social support networks and stigma. Until recently, depression in this population was largely ignored. This workshop will review: (a) the diagnosis and definition of depression and related mood disorders (including the behavioral equivalents hypothesis); (b) behavioral conceptualization and case formulation of depression; and (c) treatment and outcome literature of these disorders. The webinar will conclude with a discussion of clinical issues related to managing individual cases.


By the end of this event participants should be able to identify:
1. Signs and symptoms of depression;
2. The behavioral equivalents hypothesis;
3. Behavior analytic accounts of depression;
4. Evidence-Based Practices of depression in individuals with intellectual disability and autism
5. Application of behavioral activation for depression

PART 4 - Dual Diagnosis: A Behavior Analytic Perspective on Psychotic Disorders in People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders


It is easy to assume that psychosis is a biologically determined, private behavior that is unamenable to assessment and treatment using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): This is not so! Some of the earliest ABA work was done on the back wards of psychiatric hospitals using token economies and with hints of functional assessment and behavioral case formulation. In the 1980’s work on skills training, including social and vocational, was a vigorous area of research and practice. There are now a small group of papers that have conducted functional assessments and assessments with individuals with psychosis and intellectual disabilities and/or autism.


By the end of this event participants should be able to identify:

1.  The definition of psychosis and related behavior, behavioral deficits and excesses.
2.  The components of a behavioral conception of psychosis.
3.  The importance of skills training and psychosis.
4.  Aspects of a functional assessment and analysis of psychosis.



Professor Peter Sturmey, ABAC resident speaker, is Professor of Psychology at The Graduate Center and the Department of Psychology, Queens College, City University of New York where he is a member of the Behavior Analysis Doctoral and Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis programs. He specializes in autism and other developmental disabilities, especially in the areas of applied behavior analysis, dual diagnosis, evidence-based practice, and staff and parent training. He gained his PhD at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and subsequently taught at the University of the South West (Plymouth) and University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He then worked for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Retardation from 1990-2000 as Chief Psychologist, first at Abilene then San Antonio State Schools during a federal class action lawsuit. There he supervised behavioral services and master's level psychologists providing behavior support plans for severe behavioral and psychiatric disorders in adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and implementing large-scale active treatment and restraint reduction programs.

Professor Sturmey has published 25 edited and authored books, over 210 peer reviewed papers, and over 70 book chapters. He is the series editor for Springer’s new book series Advances in Prevention and Treatment in Violence and Aggression. He provides webinars on ABA to qualified professionals and others on a regular basis. He has made numerous presentations nationally and internationally, including recent presentations in Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. He has an active lab of graduate and undergraduate students working on developing and evaluating effective and efficient ways of training caregivers using modeling and feedback to use applied behavior analysis with children and adults with autism and other disabilities. He provides training and consultations widely.

Peter Sturmey is co-author or editor of books mentioned during the presentation. He receives royalties from the sale of the books. He also receives speaker and consultation fees for this and other related presentations.


The presenter(s) and/or presenters’ family members do not have financial arrangement or affiliation with any of the products, organizations, or programs mentioned during this talk.


    • Behavior Analysts earn 8 CEUs (Learning) LIVE & RECORDING
    • Psychologists earn 8 CEs. LIVE & RECORDING
    • Social Workers earn 8 Clinical CEs LIVE only
    • Certified Counselors earn 8 CEs LIVE & RECORDING  (Counseling Theory/Practice and the Counseling Relationship)
    • Not eligible for  AOTA,  credit hours. You may download a certificate of attendance if your profession is not represented.


Please read the following information carefully:

    • You must attend the entire event to receive credit
    • Must pass post-test with 80% or above and submit all attendance codes
    • For ABAC's continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page


6:00 pm: Introduction
6:05 pm: Webinar begins
7:45 pm: Q&A session
8:00 pm: Evaluation, post-test and code submission forms