Hi, I’m Christina Comer, the owner and founder of Functional Shui. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or BCBA for short. I have spent the past 8 years working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). I have a passion for both ABA and home organization.
I come from a long line of organizers and “neat freaks.” Growing up, I remember having family cleaning days where each person was given a job to do, music was put on, and the festivities began. Cleaning and organizing were not aversive events to me growing up. I was then able to carry my optimism of organizing into the lives of my friends.
My friends were always grateful when I was present when their parents requested that they clean up their rooms before they could play. Often, the parents would comment that it was the cleanest and most organized they had ever seen their child’s room before! Even today I still receive requests from friends and family members to help them organize.
In retrospect, I realized that even though I could organize the homes of others, I wasn’t teaching them to organize. This was doing a disservice to them because it would often mean that a few months later things would be in disarray once again. Through my studies of ABA and my work in the field as a BCBA I have learned important scientifically validated strategies that will allow me to individualize and teach someone to organize while also assisting them with the process. This is where the philosophy for Functional Shui began.
About Functional Shui:
My mission in creating Functional Shui is not only to help others organize but to use my skills as a BCBA to also teach them to apply, strategize, maintain, and generalize the skills and plan we have developed within their personal and professional spaces.
You may be wondering “What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?” and “How is home organization guided by ABA different from regular home organization?” To answer these questions, I will begin below with some basic information on ABA and how it relates to home organization.
Functional Shui approaches home organization from the perspective of an applied behavior analyst. Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is the application of behavior change strategies to promote socially significant positive impacts in someone’s life or in areas of struggle.
ABA is used to analyze, create, and promote socially significant positive changes in the lives of those with challenges. This information can be applied to home organization to not only create meaningful and significant change in someone’s organizational skills and strategies but to promote lasting ones as well.
ABA focuses heavily on the function (the why) rather than the topography (what it looks like) of a situation (analyzing why something is occurring verses how it looks). In terms of organization this means why a space is being used in a particular way verses just why it appears that way. Once we tackle the why, we can formulate a specific plan of action for your space of struggle and a way to promote the maintenance of it as well.
As mentioned above, ABA not only looks at the function of behavior, but it also seeks to understand how behavior and the environment are affected by each other. “Behavior analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. In this context, “behavior” refers to actions and skills. “Environment” includes any influence – physical or social – that might change or be changed by one’s behavior.”
Feng Shui is the Chinese philosophical practice seeking unity and harmony between people and the surrounding environment. While it is a pseudoscience, the philosophy of this ancient art can be applied to home organization and design using the scientifically based practices and procedures of ABA. Thus, Functional Shui was created and seeks to provide balance and harmony using Behavior Analysis.