New Content Added: To update the content we have added Addiction/Substance Abuse information found at the end of the Table of Contents.
At this time, I would like to answer four questions that you might have:
#1: What is the importance of this material to me?
Question #2: What do the six modules contain?
Question #3: How does the module content
interface with my course manuals?
Question #4: How will the content
benefit me after the course is finished?
What is the Imporance of This Material?
First, What is the importance of this material?, its importance lies in
the fact that many times, unless you deal with certain populations, Behavior Modification
techniques lie dead and buried in your college textbook course work that you took
several years ago. You have been in the field now for a good while and have a
well-established pattern of working with clients and/or staff members. You are
a competent professional. So why dust off the Behavior Modification stuff, so
to speak? Well, it's because it works and there are many valuable core concepts
that can help you to work more effectively with your clients and staff members,
even if they are not developmentally disabled, geriatric with dementia, or students.
At the end of the course, you will be asked to set a goal as to how you plan to
implement one of the concepts. Remember that "gem of an idea" I referred to in
the introduction? So open your mind to hearing ideas you haven't heard in a while
and be creative in looking for the gem that is really going to benefit you.
What do the Six Modules Contain?
Secondly, What do the six modules contain? They contain a staff training
program in Behavior Modification and review for you how these concepts can be
applied. You will note the intent of each of the six modules are intended for
training staff that are working with the geriatric population in an assisted-living
community. Don't let the fact that this may not be the population with which you
currently work side-track or prejudice you against the value of the information.
Listen to the material with an ear for the parts that will apply to your day-to-day
work. It is hoped that by being provided with these explicit examples of practical
applications of Behavior Modification, you will be better able to apply them to
your clients or staff members.
To further clarify the module content, here's an explanation of assisted living:
Many people confuse assisted-living with long-term care. However, the continuum
of care goes from home health, to an independent-living community, where a call-button
is usually located in each apartment unit, to assisted-living, where care is provided
for activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, to long-term care,
where medications are administered, and finally to acute-care hospitalization.
Over the years, with the increased restrictions on Medicare and Medicaid coverage,
there is a growing need for assisted-living communities to meet the needs of those
who do not meet the long-term care criteria; however, are unable to live at home
independently. The atmosphere of an assisted-living community is most generally
non-medical. In most communities, one has the feeling of being in an apartment
building for seniors that contains a front desk, lounge, and dining room.
How does the Content in the Modules Interface with My Course Manuals?
Question #3, How does the content in the modules interface with my course manuals? Oftentimes, the care provider in the assisted-living setting does not have a medical
background. As you will note, for this reason the modules do not use typical Behavior
Modification terminology or jargon. For example, you will note that Module #3
is entitled "Demonstration: The Six Essential Steps." However, the Behavior Modification
concept that is taught in this module is that of "modeling." However, if you tell
the average person that they are going to be doing "modeling," the term may be
misinterpreted as being connected with a display of fashion, thus leading to confusion
and possible resistance to applying the information. SO the more descriptive term
of "demonstration" is used for training purposes. For the same reason, in Module
#2 entitled "Instruction: Seven Basic Techniques," the terms "shaping" and "successive
approximations" are not used in the module.
Before answering Question #4, How will the content benefit me after the course
is finished?, let me summarize the information you have received thus far:
You have received a summary of the materials contained in this course, an overview
of the question format, a method for most efficiently completing the course in
ten hours, an explanation of the target student as being both clinician and administrator,
an overview as to what the module's content is, an overview of assisted-living,
and an explanation as to how the module's content interfaces with the course manuals.
How Will the Content of This Course Benefit Me?
I will now be spending the remainder of this Introduction answering Question #4, How will the content of this course benefit you after it's completed? As
I answer this question as it relates to the content of each of the six modules,
you will also receive a preview of the content for that module. First of all,
as stated earlier, unless you work with children, students, the developmentally
disabled, or dementia populations, for example, you may have lost touch with many
of the Behavior Modification concepts you learned in undergrad and graduate school.
The core purpose of this course is to reacquaint you with those procedures and
hopefully have it act as a springboard into practical applications in your practice
or agency. To use a Behavior Modification term, in other words, to "generalize"
or to use these behaviors outside of the training situation. So, as stated earlier,
listen to each module with a double-agenda, so to speak, by continually asking
yourself "How can I apply these materials to my population, clients, or staff
Here's a brief overview of a few concepts from each module, to give you food for
thought as you listen to the modules:
"Positive Reinforcement - The P-R-I-D-E Method," if you are
a clinician, as you already know, praise can be a double-edged sword in the fact
that praise can start a client playing the "people-pleasing game," and turning
more and more of their power over to the therapist. So as you listen to this information,
see how this applies to you. However, if you are an administrator, the game of
"pleasing the boss," so to speak, can be a powerful paradigm to improve employee
performance. If you are utilizing the P-R-I-D-E Method described in the module,
the staff members' formal evaluation could be used as the background for an agreement
described in the course manual.
"Instruction - Seven Basic Techniques," if you are
an administrator, you might pay particular attention to this module's concepts
of reinforcing intermediate responses. We all lead busy lives, and it is often
easy to focus on the final response or action that you want from a staff member
(or client, as far as that goes) without looking for some intermediate steps to
"Demonstration - The Six Essential Steps," encourages the clinician
to revisit or examine their use of modeling by proposing graduated modeling procedures.
For the administrator, the idea of managing by "wandering around" might be considered.
For example, if you want employees to take more pride in their agency, you be
the one who acts as the model and picks up the paper off the floor. For the role-playing
concept presented in this module, if you have a receptionist who is timid about
asking clients for payment, you might consider role-playing what to say and how
to say it.
"Verbal Prompts - Using The Key Types Effectively," whether
you are a clinician or administrator, pay attention to your use of questions,
if you use open-ended, choice, or yes-and-no questions to their ultimate effectiveness.
Many clinicians have spent years making an art out of weaving various types of
questions into their sessions. However, if you are also involved in an administrative
capacity, in the case, for example, of employee theft, an open-ended question
like "What do you know about the missing items?" poses less threat than a yes-no
question "Were you involved with the missing items?" So, if you are a clinician,
you might use this module to fine-tune your skills in other areas of responsibility.
"Non-Verbal Prompts - Six How To's," whether a clinician
or administrator, you might monitor your use of social reinforcers, like pats
on the back, smiles, head nods, and so on, to assess fine-tuning these skills
to help you most effectively accomplish your goals.
For the clinician, you might consider an extinction
technique often overlooked. As you see clients this week, ask yourself "Is there
some type of reinforcer that can be removed to help my client succeed?" The same
is true with an administrator. If you have a staff member that is not performing
up to par, ask yourself "Is there something in my behavior that is reinforcing
their poor performance?"
Well, there you have it. Food for thought as you listen to each of the six modules.