Psychology Society of Ireland’s Division Of Behaviour Analysis (DBA)
Interest in behaviour analysis in Ireland is about as old as the Psychological Society of Ireland PSI, which was founded in 1970. An American behaviour analyst, Jock Millenson was involved in establishing the first British behaviour analysis group, now called the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group (EABG), in the 1960’s. In the summer of 1970, Jock Millenson and Julian Leslie attended a conference of a group, mostly consisting of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, called the Behavioural Engineering Association, in Kilkenny, and en route met with Leo Baker at Trinity College Dublin who had been in post there as a lecturer for a number of years. As a result of that meeting Julian Leslie contacted Leo Baker when he took up a post at the New University of Ulster, Coleraine, in 1974, and began to discuss ways of supporting behaviour analysis in the Irish context. After an initial trawl for support, there was an initial planning meeting in 1977 at the Annual Conference of PSI in Dun Laoghaire.
The Behaviour Analysis in Ireland (BAI) group was formed in 1977 and run by Leo Baker for many years. It provided the sort of venue and support group for behavioural analytic researchers in Ireland which the EABG did in the UK. Not only did it run three meetings a year but as well as supporting experimentalists it encouraged applied behaviour analysts, mostly but not exclusively in the clinical areas, to present papers and this added a further dimension. It ensured that the small band of Irish behaviour analysts, both pure and applied, stayed in touch and were aware of each other’s work. With its modest but sustained success, behaviour analysis had found its place within the scientific psychological community in Ireland.
Going forward, the Division of Behaviour Analysis will continue to support research in behaviour analysis, for which both parts of Ireland are a centre of excellence, and the burgeoning profession of applied behaviour analysis. It is currently running a series of workshops for professionals and others to discuss how to take forward the dissemination of behaviour analysis to all those interested and enhance training for all in the field.
Currently the Division has members at NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College Limerick, Dublin Business School and University of Ulster and in many professional locations across Ireland. Full membership is restricted to those members of PSI who have qualifications and experience in behaviour analysis, but associate membership is also possible. Details are available from the secretary of the Division, Dr. Olive Healy, School of Psychology, NUI Galway.
Current committee members are Julian Leslie (Chair), Jennifer Holloway (Secretary), Maeve Bracken (Conference organiser), Olive Healy, Niamh McCarthy, Gillian Martin, Michelle P. Kelly (student representative), and a number of postgraduate students from current Masters courses have been co-opted including Clodagh Murray, Jenny Tomlin, Niall Conlon, Gemmarose O’Brien, Deborah Ging, and Shelley Brady.