The Behaviour Analysis Certification Board has developed an Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, which provides, in general, serviceable guidance for the application of our educational, therapeutic and organizational application of our science. However, this code contains directions for the application of punishment, an application with which the Hellenic Association For Behavior Analysis is in strong disagreement. Indeed, in spite of misinformation behaviorism neither "invented" nor is identified with the imposition of punishment. To the contrary, the founder of contemporary behaviorism B. F. Skinner expressed his strong opposition to the use of punishment after experimental analysis of the effects and fallout of such practices. Besides, punishment (the presentation of unpleasant events or the removal of pleasant events as a consequence of actions) is broadly applied in families, in school, in the work place and indeed in all social contexts despite the fact that its use is often not recognized as such by those who employ it. The behavior analysts who use punishment at least state publicly that they do so and that they do so only under specific conditions: when interventions with positive reinforcement have failed, and then in combination with positive reinforcement under the supervision of a special committee. Despite this, given that the effects of punishment are based on reinforcement and our clinical experience that the timely reduction in the emission frequency of undesirable behavior via the reinforcement of incompatible desirable acts is always feasible, scientifically and ethically the systematic and extended use of punishment is unjustified in any condition.
To those who believe that the use of punishment emerged from behaviorism is worthwhile to point out that what has indeed emerged from our science is the ability to arrange circumstances that reduce the frequency of undesirable behaviors without the use of punishment.