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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
–¬†¬† ¬†‚ÄúGet Irritated‚ÄĚ
–¬†¬† ¬†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
–¬†¬† ¬†‚ÄúGet Angry‚ÄĚ
–¬†¬† ¬†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‚Äôt sleep well
–¬†¬† ¬†Get up
–¬†¬† ¬†Drink 2 cups of coffee
–¬†¬† ¬†Get stuck in traffic driving to work
–¬†¬† ¬†Panic attack
–¬†¬† ¬†Example 3a: No Panic Attack
–¬†¬† ¬†Didn‚Äôt 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 ‚Ķ)
–¬†¬† ¬†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.