Looking Back on the Beginning: Session 1 Five Years Later
I've known that the 5th anniversary of the podcast has been coming up for quite some time now, and I've been wracking my brain on how best to commemorate this milestone. After considering a few different options, I eventually decided that there was no better place to start than by looking back at the first episode of Behavioral Observations, my interview with Dr. Greg Hanley.
In this episode, we discussed the origins of what is now called the Practical Functional Assessment approach, back when it was referred to as the IISCA.
I wanted to replay this show for a few reasons. First, even though the PFA process has gone through many refinements over the last few years, in this episode, Greg describes the factors that led him to deviate from the Standard Functional Analysis procedure. I think that part of the show on its own is worth revisiting.
The second reason for sharing this conversation again is that every day new listeners are coming in contact with the show. While I get emails from some of them who tell me that they binge the back catalog, with nearly 150 shows, I don't expect that everyone is going to subject themselves to that.
Lastly, this particular episode is the most downloaded episode when compared to all the other shows I've published. As of this writing, the show has been downloaded over 56,000 times. About 15,000 times more than the second-most downloaded show (which by the way, is Session 7, again with Greg... want to guess who's in the third-most downloaded show?).
So for all those reasons and more, I hope you enjoy this episode, whether it is for the first time, or if you're dusting it off for a re-listen.
On a broader note, I'd like to talk for a minute about my thoughts on the show turning five. It's not an understatement when I tell you that creating this podcast has been a life-changing experience for me. Most certainly life-changing in a professional sense, and very likely from a personal one as well. With regard to the former, starting the show really re-energized my passion for the field at a time when I was teetering on the brink of burnout (before burnout became a fashionable term).
With regard to the latter, I've met several hundred people and made some amazing friends throughout this journey. And when milestones like these come up, it is incredibly overwhelming to think through all of the people who've helped me make this show happen.
First, there are so many people who have been listeners and supporters since Session 1. People who've listened to every single episode... all of my filler words, awkward silences, vocal fry, the whole nine yards. I once had someone actually take data on my filler words and would send it to me from time to time. That's dedication! All kidding aside, this show would've quietly faded out over time if it wasn't for the support and encouragement from you, the listener.
I'm also grateful to everyone who shares episodes with friends and co-workers. And of course supervisors and professors who who force their mentees and students to consume this content. It is both amazing and gratifying that this fun side project is helping people learn more about the science we all know and love.
I've had countless people and organizations support the show financially, whether by purchasing CEUs*, subscribing to my Patreon membership, sponsoring episodes, or inviting me to speak at events. To be perfectly candid, the ability to generate some revenue from Behavioral Observations allows me to put more time into the show, and I'm grateful for everyone who has helped me do just that.
It is always a danger to list specific people to thank in situations like these, as it is all too easy to inadvertently leave someone out. As such, I've chosen to limit my shoutouts to one person in particular: my friend John Corley. John is not a Behavior Analyst, but he is a programmer and all around tech-savvy guy. I shared the idea of a podcast with him over a few beers, and he relentlessly encouraged me to follow through with it. In fact, he helped me set up my website, the podcast's RSS feed, showed me the basics of GarageBand, and lots more. He remains on standby to me whenever I have a bug or glitch that needs sorting out.
John Corley and me ~ 2017
So huge thanks to both John, and everyone else who has played a part in getting this show to nearly 2.5 million downloads in these last five years. I could say thank you a million times and it wouldn't be enough.
I look forward to sharing these conversations with you for the next five years and beyond!
* The 2021 Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis Conference! This year's VABA conference is April 15th and 16th. While this will be a safe and socially-distanced in-person event, it will also be available online, so don't worry if you're not local to the Virginia area. If you do sign up for it, use the promo code, GOMBU - a nod to conference sponsor, Mary Baldwin University, to save at checkout.
* Also, I'm throwing a 5-year anniversary sale for all BOP CEU events. Get 55% off all CEU events by using the promo code "fiveyears." This offer expires at the end of February, 2021. Don't need CEU's, but want to get ad-free podcasts, access to bonus content, member Q & A zooms, and more? Consider joining the BOP Patreon Group. For more info, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations!