1st Behavior Therapy and Cognitive behavior Therapy

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Operant conditioning is known to use reinforcements such as positive and negative reinforcements and punishment to produce a desired behavior (Argosy University Online (4/2017) Module 4. Behavior Therapy 3 of 8)

The idea of this theory came from B.F. Skinner who thought behavior operated on the environment in which we live in and controlled by its effects.  Seligman & Reichenerg (2013, p. 327) said “He believed that who we are and everything we do is shaped by our experiences of punishment and reward.

In the scenario with the 6 year old boy with behavioral issues could benefit from operant conditioning by setting goals that we would like to see accomplished. There are four issues that we would like to see change in him: 1) He disrupts the classroom, 2) He disobeys orders, 3) He bullies, and pushes other children, and 4) Throws tantrums.  By using positive reinforcement and the token economy approach can reward the child with stickers or some form of recognition when behaving in the appropriate way.  When he accumulates say 10 recognitions/stickers can receive a treat, reward, or special privilege to promote the desired behavior.  When he disobeys orders, or disrupts the classroom would receive punishment in the form of receiving negative marks or by having the recognition/stickers taken away to delay receiving the reward, treat, or special privilege.  If he continues to bully or push children be placed in time-out for a certain period of time or is unable to participate in certain activities seen as enjoyable to him due to the behavior.  Hopefully that will prevent him from repeating the negative behavior because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed in time-out or isolated during fun activity times.  If tantrums have been the way he got what he wanted the teacher could simply ignore the behavior and he will see that that method is not working anymore, or if it’s completely disruptive to the class can be removed from the room or space to allow him to calm down.

Giving praise through words, acknowledgement, tokens (stickers, good check marks…etc.), and rewards are important when the desired behavior is being shown (ex. raising hand to ask a question, saying excuse me instead of pushing…etc.) Punishment through taking away tokens, rewards, or special privileges as well as time-out or removals from class are used to prevent the behavior from continuing.  As a result of these interventions, hopefully will increase the desired behavior of raising the hand, saying positive words such as please, thank-you, and excuse me when acknowledged and positive regard and reward is given.

Rational emotional behavioral therapy (REBT), a form of cognitive therapy seeks to help individuals change some of the irrational thoughts and beliefs that affect their state of being and learn the skills to become a more rational thinker, creating substantial happiness and self-acceptance (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2013, p. 278).


A woman has the thought “There are no good men out there for me.”


ctivating event – going out to the club one weekend with some girlfriends and the men that approached them or engaged with them were rude and aggressive.


eliefs – most men are rude, liars, and not interested in a good relationship.


onsequences – She becomes defensive and closed off when men approach her and/or becomes angry, withdrawn and antisocial.


ispute – is it possible that although some men may come across a certain way that there are men who are friendly, respectful, and genuine.  Could there be other places that is of interest to you that you could attend to find commonality with others in that environment such as a comedy show, concert, art gallery, or sporting event.  Where did these thoughts come from?  Are my reciprocating behavior of defense and anger leading others to feel the need to be aggressive or stand-offish with me?


ffects or effective thinking – I could start saying the right person is out there for me; every time the opposite thought comes up.  I will choose to enjoy my life and the things I enjoy and when the time comes it will happen.  I will place myself in environments that allow me to engage with others with interests similar to mine.   Although there may be rude and aggressive people out there, I choose not to include them in my life.


Argosy University Online (4/2017) Module 4. Behavior Therapy 3 of 8)

Seligman, L. W., Reichenberg, L. W. (2013). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Systems, Strategies, and Skills, 4th Edition. Retrieved from https://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/9781269953856/


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