Couseling Service – Behavior Therapy

What is Behaviorism?

  • —Psychology is a science studying the way of thinking and behavior of human beings.
  • —It emphasizes external behaviors
  • —Behavior is objective and observable, where as what goes on in one’s mind cannot be totally known or measured
  • —Behavior is the response of an organism to stimuli
  • —Stimulus >>>> Response

View of Human Nature

  • —A person uses the environment to produce him/herself as the final product
  • —So long as we can increase one’s individual freedom, one’s skills are increased
  • —Action-oriented approach
  • —One is responsibility for one’s behavior

History of Behaviorism

Ivan Pavlov (1948-2008)

a Russian physiologist discovered Classical Condition Dogs were primary study objects – thank you

Behaviorist Theories of Learning

  • —Classical Conditioning (Pavlov, Watson)
    • A natural stimulus (NS) that produces a response (reflex action) is coupled with a conditioned stimulus (CS) so that an association is formed.
    • NS —Response
    • NS + CS— Response
    • CS—-Response
    • Learning is developing a new stimuli-response association – A conditioned stimuli comes to produce the same response as the original, natural stimuli

Pavlov, Watson – Respondent behavior: elicited by specific observable stimulus 

…and more History

  • —John B. Watson (1916, 1926)
  • —An American psychologist
  • —Credited as the founder of behaviorism
    • Watson strove to make the new field of psychology more scientific
    • He believed that all behavior, even what appeared instinctive, is the result of conditioning that occurs in response to a stimulus

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own special world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to be any type of specialist I might select – a doctor, a lawyer, artist…” 

– Watson 1924

… and even more History

  • —B.F. Skinner (1904 – 1990), an American psychologist who was also very interested in education
    • Behavior is sustained by reinforcements or rewards, not by free will
    • The Skinner box and teaching machines
    • Dealt only with observable behavior
    • To establish functional relationships between experimenter-controlled stimulus and organism’s response
    • No presumptions about internal entities: The “empty organism” approach

Behaviorist Theories of Learning: Operant Conditioning

  • Simply reinforcing a behavior or rewarding the desired response can condition a response to a stimulus
  • Associations are developed as a result of the consequences of a behavior rather than its stimuli
Thornike: cat

Skinner: mouse
  • —Law of Effect (Thorndike):
    • Behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to occur again; behaviors that are not rewarded are less likely to occur again
  • —Law of Exercise (Thorndike): 
    • Behavior is more strongly established through frequent connections of stimulus and response (habit, no reward necessary)
  • —Shaping behavior (Skinner): 
    • teachers using carefully directed, contingent rewards can create almost any behavior in students. Shape the behavior by starting simple and build up
  • —Schedules for reward (Skinner): 
    • rewards not only create behavior, but also maintain it. If you reinforce on an irregular schedule, the behavior is more likely to be maintained

Operant Conditioning Techniques 

  • —POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT = increasing a behavior by administering a reward 
    • giving out candies
  • —NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT = increasing a behavior by removing an aversive stimulus when a behavior occurs 
    • ointment on rash
  • —POSITIVE PUNISHMENT = decreasing a behavior by administering an aversive stimulus
    • electric shock
  • —NEGATIVE PUNISHMENT = decreasing a behavior by removing a positive stimulus
    • Time-out, fines for speeding
  • —EXTINCTION = decreasing a behavior by not rewarding it
    • Not giving out candies

Schedules of Reinforcement:

  • —Interval schedules: reinforcement occurs after a certain amount of time has passed
    • Fixed Interval = reinforcement is presented after a fixed amount of time
    • Variable Interval = reinforcement is delivered on a random/variable time schedule
  • —Ratio schedules: reinforcement occurs after a certain number of responses
    • Fixed Ratio = reinforcement presented after a fixed# of responses
    • Variable Ratio = reinforcement delivery is variable but based on an overall average # of responses
Schedules of Reinforcement: Cumulative Responses

Behavior Therapy

  • —A set of clinical procedures relying on experimental findings of psychological research
    • Based on principles of learning 
      • –Treatment goals are specific and measurable
    • Focusing on the client’s current problems
      • –From maladaptive to adaptive behaviors
    • Largely educational: teaching clients skills of self-management

Therapeutic Goals

  • —General goals: Increase personal choice and create new conditions for learning
  • —To eliminate maladaptive behaviors and learn more adaptive behaviors
  • —Client and therapist collaboratively decide the concrete, measurable, and objective treatment goals 

Four Aspects of Behavior Therapy

1. Classical Conditioning

  • A neutral stimulus is repeated paired with a stimulus that naturally elicits a particular response
  • Eventually the neutral stimulus alone elicits the response 

2. Operant Conditioning

  • Focuses on actions that operate on the environment to produce consequences –
    • If the environmental change brought about by the behavior is reinforcing, the chances are strengthened that the behavior will occur again –
    • If the environmental changes produce no reinforcement, the chances are lessened that the behavior will recur

3. Social Learning Approach

  • Gives prominence to the reciprocal interactions between an individual’s behavior and the environment

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  • Emphasizes cognitive processes and private events (such as client’s self-talk) as mediators of behavior change

Therapist’s function and Role

  • Be active and directive
  • As an consultant and problem solvers – bearing in mind that the client is the “expert” of his/her life
  • Conduct a thorough functional assessment, formulate initial treatment goals, use strategies for behavior change, evaluate the success of the change, and conduct a follow-up assessment
  • Role modeling (observing others’ behavior)

Client’s Experience in Therapy

  • To be taught concrete skills
  • To be motivated to change
  • To enlarge the options for adaptive behaviors
  • To continue implementing new behaviors

Relationship Between Therapist and Client

  • Therapeutic relationship can still contribute significantly to the process of behavior change
  • The client’s positive expectations and hope for change contribute to successful outcomes
  • Common factors (warm, empathy, acceptance et al.) are necessary but not sufficient for behavior change to occur. 
  • Belief of the cause of therapeutic change is specific behavioral techniques instead of therapeutic relationship

Therapeutic techniques and procedures

  • Operant conditioning techniques
    • positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, extinction, positive punishment, and negative punishment
  • Functional assessment model
  • Relaxation training
    • to cope with stress
  • Modeling
    • observational learning
  • Systematic Desensitization
    • type of counter-conditioning
    • associates a pleasant, relaxed state with gradually increasing anxiety-triggering stimuli
    • commonly used to treat phobias
  • Flooding
    • Prolonged & intensive in vivo or imaginal exposure to highly anxiety-evoking stimuli without the opportunity to avoid them
  • Aversive Conditioning
    • type of counter-conditioning that associates an unpleasant state with an unwanted behavior
    • nausea  —>  alcohol
  • Token Economy
    • an operant conditioning procedure that rewards desired behavior
    • patient exchanges a token of some sort, earned for exhibiting the desired behavior, for various privileges or treats
  • Assertion Training
    • social-skills training
  • Self-management strategies
    • Self-monitoring, self-reward

Summary and Evaluation

  • Limitations
    • Change behavior, not feelings
    • Ignore relational factors
    • Not provide insight
    • Treat symptom rather than causes
    • Control and manipulation by the therapist

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