The Concept and Principles of Behavioral Modification

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Last Updated on May 25, 2021 by

The concept of Behavior Modification was grown from studies carried out by B.F. Skinner, which became his operant conditioning theory, Behavior Modification endeavours to modify or form behaviour using a framework based on the interaction between stimuli and response. Operant conditioning takes its foundation on the proposition that the most effective way to learn about a person’s behaviour is to determine the motive behind that action and its consequences that follow it. Skinner maintained that three kinds of responses existed: neutral, punishing, and reinforcing. Neutral responses, as the name implies, were neither positive nor negative. On the flip side, Reinforcing responses were deemed positive, while punishing responses were negative.

The broad theory of Behavior Modification also draws inspiration from the earlier works of Edward Thorndike, when he postulated his law of effect. The Law of Effect states that specific actions in a given situation arise due to the known repercussions. For instance, the likelihood of you placing your hand on a hot surface of your own accord will decrease because the material is hot, so you would burn your hand. Understanding Behavior Modification would help one walk the path of life smoothly.

Defining Behavior Modification?

Behavior Modification is an integrated strategy intended to modify a distinct undesirable repugnant behavior.

Using an integrated method of right or wrong outcomes, a person learns the right set of reactions for any transmitted stimulus. This strategy has various branches that strive to adjust behaviour using different operations, which have been developed through years of refinement. Behavior Modification has proven to effectively address issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), phobias, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and even autism.

It is essential to know that this is not to be confused with the Pavlovian dog experiment that most people know. That is called classical conditioning. The difference is in the nature of the response. Contrary to Pavlovian conditioning, that ordinarily involves evoked or reflexive reactions, Skinner’s theory involves voluntary reactions. These experiment are pathways of knowing and mastering Behavior Modification.

Behavior Modification is often used at schools, raising children, and rehabilitation centers.

The driving belief of Behavior Modification states that every behavior can be watched and regulated and can be objectives to effect change. As a consequence of those outcomes ( whether positive or even negative), an individual can acquire, form or even do away with specific behaviors.

Before We Move Deeper Into the Various Methods of Approach in Behavior Modification, We Shall Examine Some Essential Terms:

  • Antecedent. The antecedent comes before the (un)wanted behavior. It can be changed and can ultimately be permanently modified or removed to transform the individual’s behavior.
  • Consequence. Most people associate the term Consequence with something terrible; however, consequences are either good or bad in this context. They are simply the result of an action. They can also be called reinforcers (to encourage behavior) or punsihments (which discourage behavior). There are some ways to distinguish between the terms for a better understanding. These is a Behavior Modification one should be intune with.
  • Positive reinforcement is administered when solicited behaviour occurs. It serves as a means to encourage and strengthen that behavior. For instance, if John eats his vegetables, he will get ice cream later.
  • Negative reinforcement is used whenever an unpleasant stimulus is added to the undesired behavior, ultimately strengthening the desired behavior. For instance, every morning, James’ mom comes into his room and awakens him by singing. If he does not want to listen to her singing in his room, he must learn to be awake before she gets to there.
  • Response cost is similar to punishment because a positive stimulus is removed. A response cost aims to weaken any unwanted behavior. For instance, Bobby will not share his crayons with his cousin, so his mom takes one as a consequence.
  • Punishment comes about when an unpleasant stimulus is introduced to dissuade behavior. Going from the previous example, if Bobby is not nice to his little cousin, he will get a punishment which will be a timeout or more.
  • Extinction occurs when no reinforcement is administered due to a behavior, thus diminishing the response.

Knowing the Fundamentals Employ in Behavior Modification

These are just some of the fundamental terms employed in Behavior Modification. They tend to start a little weird at first. Still, they are like that because human nature is constantly changing, and only one particular group of stimuli is inadequate to capture human behaviour adequately. The varying terminologies allow clinicians and psychologists to view better the actions that would warrant various behaviors and help them understand our motivations.

Many people have criticized the quality of training needed to practice Behavior Modification procedures on people, particularly those that are prohibitive in nature or use aversion therapy or punishment strategies; some prefer to limit restrictive practices like that only to highly qualified licensed psychologists and counsellors. In addition to this, post-licensing certifications in Behavior Modification show the extent of expertise in the field through boards such as the World Association for behavior Analysis. Still, many psychologists prefer to build an autonomous private practice of behavior analysis and modification through licensure to provide consumers with a range to choose between proven techniques and unproven ones. Now the Level and quality of training and consumer safety are of crucial significance in the practice. One must attain the ideal training for Behavior-Modification before practicing it.

Principles and Methods of Approach in Behavior Modification

Because behaviour is a dynamic concept, psychologists have developed various techniques for defining behavior. Using imitation, routines, or just nothing, they learned how we pick up and alter our behaviors. We have discussed the various forms of positive and negative punishments and reinforcements, we shall now take a look at some principles and Behavior Modification methods.

  • Modelling. This strategy involves teaching a person to imitate a particular behavior. A realistic example is in the workplace environment; modelling is used when an older colleague mentors a new employee.
  • Cueing. As the name implies, cueing prompts an individual to carry out a specific action at the appointed time.
  • Discrimination. this instructs an individual to act in a specified way for a given type of stimuli only and not for any other. The reward is administered after the fitting response is effected.
  • Substitution. When the prevailing reinforcer cannot affect the wanted behavior, substitution is carried out, which presents the individual with an alternative reinforcer.
  • Satiation. Satiation entails allowing an individual to get tired of misbehaving. However, this approach is not ideal for substance abuse cases or addiction because the aim would be to avoid the drug altogether.
  • AvoidanceAvoidance is teaching someone to ignore an uncomfortable situation.
  • Fear reduction. This technique is essential in dealing with cases of phobia. The individual is exposed to the stimulus in question in small increments. These stimuli make them scared at first. As time goes on, the goal is for the patient to become more accustomed and even be unmoved when faced with the fear-inducing stimulus. All of the stated point above would aid the procediure of Behavior Modification.

Behavior Modification Plans Can Be Designed to Fit Into Your Schedule

Furthermore, Behavior Modification protocols can also be designed to work with schedules. Specific behaviors can be designed to be enacted at particular times, or even certain reinforcers and punishments be given at differing intervals to affect behavior. It is crucial to note that human behaviour is ever-changing, so not every modification technique will be effective with every patient; in many cases, the individual may need a blend of protocols.

Behavior Modification plans are at the center of many residential rehabilitation programs. They have proven to successfully eliminate recidivism in youths with conduct difficulties and grown-up offenders. A good example is the teaching-family homes, derived from a social learning pattern that developed from extreme behaviorism. These homes employ a family-style plan for house treatment, which has carefully been refined and improved several hundred times. Recently, efforts have been made to push for more Behavior Modification programs in rehabilitation programs in the United States to help former prisoners readjust to society.

How Behavior Modification Reinforces Community

One sector where Behavior Modification programs have consistently proven effective is community reinforcement for drug addicts and substance abusers. In addition to that, Behavior Modification activation for depression has been strongly supported.

Compliments, approval, motivation, and validation are one way to provide constructive reinforcement in Behavior Modification; a ratio of five compliments for every one complaint is commonly seen as successful in changing behaviour and even creating healthy marriages.

How (and Where) to Obtain Aid for Cases of Dual Diagnosis

It may be daunting for people who have co-occurring problems to control their actions and their drug abuse or alcohol issue. The two problems’ specific symptoms may interact with one another, making a person resist or not comply with treatment. At this point applying Behavior Modification procediure would somewhat difficult.

Give us a call right away if you have a loved one with a co-occurring illness that needs assistance or you need help with Behavior Modification.

To Learn More About Behavior Modification

We have a knowledgeable staff of rehabilitation intake coordinators that are willing to interview you and learn about your specific needs and rehabilitation goals. We can work together to find remedial approaches that are tailored to your needs by working with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. You can contact us directly by calling 615-490-9376, all day, every day and speak with one of our personnel in confidence. So you have no reason to put off getting the proper attention and care for Dual Diagnosis for yourself or a loved one. Give us a call today to find out more on Behavior Modification.