Tom Flis is a senior behavior specialist in Towson, MD at the Adult Neuropsychiatry Program/Sheppard Pratt Health System, which specializes in the treatment of patients with such challenges as traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, and complex mood and psychotic disorders to name a few.
Flis received a B.S. in psychology, with a concentration in bio-psychology and developmental psychology at the University of Maryland/ Baltimore County and an M.S. in applied counseling from the University of Baltimore. Flis also obtained a certificate in applied behavior analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology He is a board-certified behavior analyst and is licensed in the state of Maryland.
What inspired you to enter the field of behaviorism initially?
“I became fascinated with the philosophy of behaviorism after reading B.F. Skinner’s ‘Beyond Freedom and Dignity’ early on in my academic career, which led me to research the topic for many years. Also, I learned about and practiced applied behavioral analysis on the child and adolescent neuropsychiatry unit initially, and I witnessed individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders overcome their day-to-day challenges. This inspired me to become a mental health clinician.”
How does your educational background relate to your current role?
“My concentrations in bio-psychology and developmental psychology taught me about the biological/environmental variables influencing behavior. My certification in behavior analysis provided me with the analytical tools to create effective treatment plans. Finally, my graduate studies in counseling helped me become a better listener and to listen to learn.”
How has your education helped to further your career and contributed to your success?
“I had the privilege of working in various settings at Sheppard Pratt Health System while completing my academic studies. I worked in clinical settings, schools, homes, communities and in research. The academic and experiential education I received has been extremely beneficial in helping me become the clinician I am today.”
What is some advice you can offer others looking to become behavior specialists?
“Build a therapeutic foundation from the philosophy which speaks to you most and apply it to a learning environment. Be passionate about helping others and about protecting their dignity. Whatever mode of therapy you choose, make sure that the client’s safety and needs take precedence over anything else. Don’t be afraid to challenge others for the benefit of your client. Be willing to learn from your mistakes.”
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.