2. + What Is Behavior Modification?
✜ A therapeutic approach designed to change a
particular undesirable negative behavior. 1
✜ By using a system of positive or negative
consequences, an individual learns the correct set of
responses for any given stimulus. 2
✜ It is structured learning in which new skills and
behaviors are learned, undesirable habits are reduced,
and the client becomes motivated for change.
✜ Behavior Modification can not eliminate genetic,
hereditary, physical, or psychological struggles –
but it can help the individual live the most fulfilling
life possible no matter his/her current struggles.
of an act affect
of it occurring
Other Common Clinical Approaches
Abnormal behaviors are viewed
as symptoms of basic
underlying causes within the
psychological system 1
Medication may be prematurely
or incorrectly applied for
Disempowering to individual
May feel they can not change
because it is pathological 2
Implies defect in individual, and
can ignore environmental
States it is our thinking that
causes us to feel and act the way
we do, if our mind is healthy.
requires focus on the disruptive
or maladaptive thoughts an
individual has, behavior is a
result of this thinking.
Can be combined with Behavior
Modification as Cognitive
This works well with individuals
that have typically developed
Medical Model Cognitive Therapy Approach
✜ Ivar Lovaas is referred to as the
“Grandfather” of ABA.
✜ Dedicated nearly half a century to
researching how to improve the lives
of individuals with Autism and their
✜ In 1965 he published a series of
articles on therapeutic approaches:
✜ Researched effective ways to teach
nonverbal children to speak,
establishing social (secondary)
reinforcers, procedures for teaching
children to imitate, and several
studies on interventions to reduce
life-threatening self-injury and
5. + Applied Behavior Analysis
Process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles
of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful
degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are
responsible for improvement of behavior
Contrary to popular belief, the science of behavior must be a natural
science, not a social science (Marr, 2009)2
Behavior analysts focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the
environment, including antecedents and consequences; without
hypothetical constructs (Thompson, 1984)3
ABA differs from traditional behavior modification because it analyzes what
is prompting a behavior (the antecedent), establishes replacement
behaviors, and then develops consequential strategies to instill change4
What is it?
7. + Applied Behavior Analysis
When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the
behavior is more likely to be repeated.
Techniques for instructions are research based, and behaviors
are measurable through operational definitions.
Behavior is tracked and measured in order to analyze what
approaches and schedules of reinforcement are resulting in an
actual positive change in behavior.
Why does it work?
Behavior is learned through
motivation. The stronger the
motivation, the easier to
increase or reduce behavior
There can be no discriminative stimulus without motivation, which
is created through reinforcement 1
Motivating Operations (MO) are the change in motivation, and include:
• Establishing Operations (EO): Increase in value of a consequence
as a reinforcer
• Abolishing Operations (AO): Decrease in value of a consequence as
MOs vary all the time in strength
• Must change MO all the time to maintain interest 3
As well as asking what maintains a behavior, it is equally important to
ask, “Why is this consequence acting as an effective reinforcer for this
person now?” (McGill, 1999)
This is what we try to figure out using cognitive therapy, and talk therapy
10. + What do
What currently elicits and
In the moment it
does not matter
how the individuals
got where they are
or acquired certain
Historical and psychological
information are still used, but
only to help determine current
variables affecting behavior 1
Behavior could be the result of a co-occurring disorder1
Be aware, the behavior may or may not be a result of drug use
The solution is not to block or remove access to substance abuse
Giving the addictive disorder and the co-occurring disorder, including any
problem behaviors, the same level of attention and care is imperative
A co-occurring disorder can help to explain some behaviors, but the client
should never be allowed to use it as an excuse.
Do not dismiss a co-occurring disorder, but also do not allow it to
become a crutch
13. Current Strategy Process
Result: Behavior Reinforced
Increased attention to problem behavior(s)
Removal of aversive setting (Gets to leave)
Missed therapeutic opportunity/learning moment
Stimulus: Aversive Setting / Advantageous Situation
Response: Disruptive Behavior (Glorify drugs, disrupt group)
Consequence: Removed from Therapy / Asked to Leave
“A person who has been
punished is not less inclined
to behave in a given way; at
best, he learns how to avoid
punishment.” – B.F. Skinner1
15. Proposed Strategy Process
Stimulus: Aversive Setting / Advantageous Situation
Response: Disruptive Behavior (Glorify drugs, disrupt
Consequence: Behavior Module: Process 1
Behavior Module: Process 2
Result: Negative behavior not reinforced, Other
Staff Tools and Resources
Behavior Contract: Can include behavior in group and sessions.
Does not allow for manipulation or confusion as an excuse.
Clearly outlined expectations for client
Aftercare Contract: Client can “step-down” in services, but still
have a behavior contract to refer to and maintain solid and clearly
Process Flowchart: Reference sheet for staff to clearly define
steps to be taken without deviation1
Behavior Module: Worksheet to help client identify maladaptive
behavior and encourage insightful thought and discussion
Staff Training: It works!
Typically used restraint and medication
After receiving training on proper use of these techniques both went up in
Staff received Positive Behavior Tools training utilizing ABA1
Post training results:
Positive statements were more likely to occur
Less interaction and attention to “junk” behaviors
Overall there was a decrease in behavior for all patient areas2
Utilizes behavior theory to improve performance on an organizational level
Tools to monitor behavior producing work outputs that contribute to business
Analyze and improve human performance
Overview and Conclusion
Look for antecedent or stimulus to understand what may have
“triggered” the behavior
Be aware of what behavior you are reinforcing when responding
Are you allowing client to gain control and reinforcing negative behavior?
Be consistent, do not argue, stick to procedure1
Be patient, it took a long time to learn negative behaviors
Pay attention to what the client is really trying to achieve with
Are they crying out for help?
Are they trying to take control?
Are they uncomfortable and trying to avoid situation?
Is there a co-occurring issue?
Conditioned Stimulus: A stimulus that acquires the ability to invoke
the same response as another stimulus that naturally invokes the
Discriminative Stimulus: A stimulus in the presence of which a
particular response will be reinforced (Malott, 2007)
Shaping: The reinforcement of successive approximations of a
Positive: Adding a reinforcing stimulus or consequence
Negative: Removing an aversive stimulus
Positive: Adding an aversive stimulus
Negative: Removing a desired stimulus
Generalize: Teaching ability to engage in social
communication, self-initiation, self-management, and to be
responsive to multiple cues across multiple settings.
Respondent Conditioning: Also known as “classical
conditioning”, behavior that is a response to an antecedent.
Operant Conditioning: Behavior that is an operation of the
environment. Behavior that is determined by antecedents and
Extinction: Systematically removing the reinforcer(s) to a
behavior in order to minimize and eventually extinguish
targeted behavior. Often results in an extinction burst.
Extinction Burst: Temporary increase of behavior targeted
for extinction, as a response to the removed reinforcer(s).
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). (n.d.). Retrieved March 9,
2015, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/
Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M., & Risley, T.R. (1968). Some current
dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of
Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91–97.
Langthorne, P., & McGill, P. (2009). A Tutorial on the Concept of
the Motivating Operation and its Importance to
Application. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 2(2), 22–31.
Marr, M (2009). The natural selection: Behavior analysis as a
natural science. European Journal of Behavior Analysis,
Sundberg, M. L. (2013). Thirty Points About Motivation From
Skinner’s Book Verbal Behavior. The Analysis of Verbal
Behavior, 29(1), 13–40.
Skinner B. F. (1936). The verbal summator and a method for the
study of latent speech. Journal of Psychology, 2, 71–107.
Skinner B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental
analysis. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Skinner B. F. (1954). The operational analysis of psychological
terms. Psychological Review, 52, 270–277.
Skinner B. F.(1953). Science and human behavior. New York, NY:
Skinner B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York, NY: Appleton-
Skinner B. F. (1974). About behaviorism. New York, NY: Knopf.
Thompson, T. (1984). The examining magistrate for nature: A
retrospective review of Claude Bernard’s An
Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 2(41),
Notes de l'éditeur
(1) Repetition is key. Not every consequence has such an effect as shooting heroin or burning your hand by fire, it takes repetition and time.
But consistent repetition, the response has to be consistent so the individual knows what to expect
They know they will get high every time they use, they can rely on it, it is consistent
(2) Punishment can be a form of reinforcement for a behavior, it is attention.
Can introduce more chemicals
Can remove responsibility from client
(2) social sciences are the study of humans and their interactions, and natural sciences are the study of the universe and how it works; so the client responding to his/her environment.
(3) Psychology utilizes more hypothetical constructs intertwined with observable behaviors
(4) Traditional behavior modification focuses mainly on consequences and not antecedents to behavior, focusing on antecedants allows us to recognize what may typically cause certain behaviors and act PROACTIVELY
Traditional Behavior Modification did not pay much attention to the antecedent, but focused on the consequence.
There are often other psychological or genetic factors influencing behavior, but all things equal the behavior will diminish if the motivation is eliminated, or a motivation is stronger for another behavior.
You have to understand the motivation behind the behavior, or you may reinforce the behavior by helping to achieve the motivation.
(1) If we want someone to respond a certain way to a chosen stimulus (Sd), then we must consistently reinforce the behavior we want in response to that chosen stimulus
(2) EXAMPLE: If a teenager is bored or upset and they decide to get high, we must condition a response to the Sd (bored or Upset) to be something else through motivation. This is why it is difficult, besides dealing with co-occurring disorders or physical addiction possibilities, intoxicants are immediately and highly reinforcing, a good job and education is not.
(3) An MO only works if it is actually motivating at the time a behavior is being targeted
(1) Behavior Modification ahistorical - is lacking historical perspective or context.
This can seem careless and incompetent within a clinical setting – But history is still considered
Example: Current or recent drug use may help explain why a client may over react or become emotional, but there is often still a motivation for the behavior in the moment.
(1) That “something” being behavior, characteristic, ability, etc.
All minds can be shaped to some degree, which means all behaviors can be shaped as well.
(2) There is a disease of addiction, but it does not doom the individual to struggle with drugs their entire life.
The client may be acting out due to other issues created by, exasperated by, or in response to addiction or substance abuse
(1) The disruptive behavior may be a cry for help, and asking them to get out only further diminishes hope and increases anger, apathy, and frustration
Punishing a client for a behavior that is a cry for help or an attempt to speak out only dismisses the client’s attemptsPunishing a client for behavior that is a result of his or her disorder only provides attention to the behavior, You cant win!!Punishment is aversive, it draws attention to negative emotions and behaviors rather than focusing on reinforcing the positive ones; empowerment.
Do not draw attention to the behavior in group, it can give control to the client in front of the group. - Ask to step out with you for a moment, or ask to step out
If he/she asks why just tell them “step out here with me please”
If they will not, tell them they will be kicked out of group and lose credit if they do not step out with you in the next 10 seconds
Client will or will not lose credit for group based on quality of Behavior Module completion (this promotes a drive to make an effort)
(2) Only if appropriate. The client can also sit in the waiting area for the rest of group until the counselor can speak to him/her
(1): The steps allow for any necessary deviation without changing the process, so it can still be individualized.
(1)Trained to look at antecedents and utilize proactive strategies – 12 hour training by certified instructors, Guided note workbooks, written Exams
(2) Inpatient, residential, VA settings, etc.
(1) It has been proven to work
Discriminative Stimulus: A behavior will be likely because a reinforcement is likely, as shown from past experience.
Father says point to dog, father guides child’s hand to point to dog, child receives a hug. Child is then likely to point to dog without assistance because of reinforcement
Generalize: Pivotal Response Training – Target “Pivotal” behaviors to function across a broad spectrum