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Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery:
Behavior Modification Basics/Part 3
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs
Host: Counselor Toolbox

Continuing Education (CE) credits for addiction and mental health counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists can be earned for this presentation at

–    Continue to explore the usefulness of behavior modification
–    Review basic behavior modification terms:
–    Unconditioned stimulus and response
–    Conditioned stimulus and response
–    Discriminitive stimuli
–    Learned helplessness
–    Reinforcement
–    Punishment
–    Extinction Burst
–    Premack Principle

New Term
–    Shaping
–    Rewarding the successive approximations of the target behavior
–    Punishing or ignoring non-target behaviors
–    Ignore if negative attention is better than no attention
–    Solidify gains
–    Withhold reward for a higher level of target behavior
–    Goal: Brewster meet me at the door quietly and sitting
–    Target behavior 1: Not jumping
–    Target behavior 2: Sitting on command
–    Target behavior 3: Sitting when I walk in without command

Apply It
–    Shaping
–    Cutting Behavior
–    Target Behavior #1: Ice cube or ink pen
–    Target behavior #2: Alternate self-soothing behavior
–    Stress Eating
–    Target behavior #1 Fruit on a plate + mindfulness exercise (premack)
–    Target behavior #2 Drink + mindfulness exercise
–    Target behavior #3 Mindfulness exercise

New Term
–    Chaining
–    A cascade effect leading to a behavior
–    Behaviors, stimuli, reinforcements and punishments that lead up to a positive or negative result
New Term
–    Chaining
–    Mouse
–    Mouse is put into a maze
–    Mouse smells cheese (behavior + Rewarding Consequence)
–    Mouse seeks out cheese
–    Mouse turns left and there is a wall (behavior  + punishment)
–    Mouse tries to climb over wall and fails (behavior + punishment)
–    Mouse turns right and there is a corridor and the cheese smell gets stronger (behavior + reward)
–    Mouse happens upon another crossroad —choice?
–    Process repeats until mouse gets cheese (Big Reward)
Apply It
–    Example 1: Car problems
–    Get up on time (Monday morning)
–    Get ready for work
–    Eat breakfast
–    Start driving to work and the car breaks down
–    “Get Irritated”
–    Call for assistance
–    Example 1a: Car problems (over reaction)
–    Get up late(Monday morning)
–    Get ready for work
–    Eat breakfast and spill coffee on your shirt
–    Start driving to work and the car breaks down
–    “Get Angry”
–    Cannot think straight

Apply It
–    Example 2: Stress Eating
–    Bad day at work
–    Come home
–    Start eating
–    Feel better
–    Example 2a: Not Stress Eating
–    Good day at work
–    Come home
–    Change clothes
–    Feel better

Apply It
–    Example 3: Panic Attack
–    Didn’t sleep well
–    Get up
–    Drink 2 cups of coffee
–    Get stuck in traffic driving to work
–    Panic attack
–    Example 3a: No Panic Attack
–    Didn’t sleep well
–    Get up
–    Drink 2 cups of DECAF coffee
–    Get stuck in traffic driving to work
–    No panic attack

Summary/In Practice
–    When a client is trying to change a behavior
–    Analyze exceptions (chaining—what was different when you did not …)
–    Behavior chains can help identify antecedents/triggers and vulnerabilities
–    Remember that every behavior is maintained by rewards (getting up, going to work, eating)
–    Eliminating a behavior means
–    Making that behavior LESS rewarding than the alternative
–    Making the new behavior MORE rewarding than the alternative

Summary/In Practice
–    Decisional balance exercises help people understand what rewards are maintaining their behavior.
–    Shaping can help make new behaviors more rewarding.