Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

ABA in therapy?




I currently aspire to be a successful therapist. What in life is as satisfying as helping people?  Therapists use a number of therapeutic ways to help solve the clients problems. They could use the psychodynamic approach, the humanistic approach or even the cognitive-behavioural approach.  A future me could ask my future clients to describe their dreams and analyze it or the future me could provide them with unconditional positive regard and help the future clients to help themselves or then use applied behavioural analysis.

Applied behavioural analysis involves analyzing what is causing the problematic behavior and developing consequential strategies in preventing such behaviours from occurring. Behavioural analysts often use reinforcers to achieve a desired behavior. These reinforcers could either be positive or negative and thereby increase the frequency or decrease the frequency of the behaviour the behaviour analyst wants to change.  A therapist could also use such reinforcements to create, maintain and inhibit a particular behaviour.

Depression is a result of both negative mood and/or absence of positive mood and is usually associated with a range of behavioural symptoms. Depressed peoples behaviours are quite different to normal peoples behaviour in that they smile less and are more likely to cry. Resinger (1972) showed that positive and negative reinforcement could change the depressed behaviours. Over 20 weeks a schedule was made involving phases of reinforcement, extinction, reversal and social reinforcement. Over these 20 weeks the patient not only decreased crying behaviour but also significantly increased smiling behaviour (see figure 1).




Figure 1).Treatment programs to establish smiling responses and to extinguish crying behaviour.


Applied behavioural analysis can be highly effective for causing changes in obsessive-compulsive disorders, borderline personality disorders, childhood behavioural problems like ADHD, anxiety issues
And even antisocial personality disorder.

The future me will definitely consider behaviour analysis as a potential form of therapy it hopefully will be effective and help solve my future clients issues.


Akshay Shah (blog 4)

References: -

Reisinger, J. J. (1972). The treatment of anxiety-depression via positive reinforcement and response cost. Journal of applied behaviour analysis, 5, 125-130.

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