Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Maintenance of behaviour disorders

As the two-factor model implies, once maladaptive behaviour has been learnt it will be maintained only if the right conditions exist. Therefore treatment must be preceded by functional analysis to establish which conditions are responsible for maintaining the behaviour in question— including stimuli, prompts and reinforcers. To assist with this, the STAR system can be used as a guide. According to this, it is necessary to look at:

S —setting conditions (which environments prompt behaviour?)

T —triggers (which specific events prompt behaviour?)

A — antecedent events (any other events which occur before the behaviour?)

R —results (the consequences of the behaviour for the client)

This analysis allows the conditions to be changed in the course of therapy, hopefully leading to changes in the target behaviour. Goals for change will be set that aim to bring about change more or less quickly depending on the nature of the treatment used. The individual nature of this analysis means that such approaches are not generally appropriate for group work.

Behavioural theories have opened the door to a wide range of different therapies, which divide into two groups: behaviour therapies and behaviour modification techniques. These will be explored in the following sections.

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