Registrar’s Message

Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It, Redux, 2024

One hundred and eleven years ago, John Watson wrote the seminal paper, Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It (1913)” in the journal, Psychological Review. From Watson’s “Behaviorist Manifesto” came a movement centred on psychology being a science that was focused on the observable and the measurable. Behaviour, and its relationships to cognition, emotion, and the brain itself, continue to be topics of study in psychological science and are leading to therapeutic discoveries that are transforming lives.

Many psychotherapies with considerable research evidence are of the behavioural tradition. Without the science of behaviour, society would not have benefitted from the power of these “behaviour therapies.” Let us think for a moment about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and the many evolutions of this model that have healed so many, such as: Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention, Behavioural Activation, Dialectical-Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and on. When provided competently and ethically, these therapies change lives. Understanding the science of behaviour can help human beings live lives they self-define as worth living.

Although psychology and applied behaviour analysis are two distinct professions in the province of Ontario, these professions inherently share common DNA. The people of Ontario will benefit from a College that regulates with a laser focus on public protection, not professional territoriality. The unity between psychology and applied behaviour analysis is an opportunity to further improve the quality and safety of care for Ontarians.

On July 1, 2024, the College of Psychologists of Ontario will undergo a historic transformation into the College of Psychologists and Behaviour Analysts of Ontario. The new College will continue to regulate the profession of psychology, while also welcoming the profession of applied behaviour analysis. In preparation for this monumental event, the College is busy working to get all preparatory work completed. The College’s By-Laws that include Behaviour Analysts are currently out for public consultation, and I encourage you to provide your feedback. I look forward to sharing updates over the following months as we prepare for an exciting 2024!


Tony DeBono, MBA, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Registrar and Executive Director