Definition of behavior modification

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Definition of behavior modification

Behavior modification is a method to eradicate a negative behavior with a positive reinforcer. So it's the same like with dog training – like you train the dog with maybe a treat or some kind of reward to sit, and eventually, on command, it's going to be able to sit just by asking without the reinforcer. So when parents are concerned about bribing their children to do the right thing, really, this is just a systematic approach that will be reinforced. Maybe it could be praise. It could be touch. It could be time spent together. It could be food. It could be money. It could be any kind of token economy – a token could be anything. But it is a systematic approach that's used with usually extreme behaviors. So you want to look at – is the duration longer than is typical for a normal child? Is it severe? Or is it excessive? Or is it continual? And then that you would want to use some kind of method in behavior modification to reward them positively for the behaviors you want them to have.

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Lisa Gonsalves, MA

Behavior Therapist

In her career in youth development, Lisa Gonsalves, MA, has served youth populations across the globe over the past 25 years. Her professional experience includes creating, developing, and administering a variety of programs, development systems, and methods for young people as coordinator, counselor, and instructor for ages four through 24.  The various youth populations she has served include school age children with behavioral or mental heath diagnoses, urban and rural at-risk adolescents, foreign students, gay youth, socio-economically underprivileged, and middle class youth. She has a master’s degree in Social Policy for Youth Services.

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