Inducing positive change in an individual’s behavior through such techniques as positive and negative reinforcement, or punishment for poor behavior. This therapy method is based off of the experiments by B.F. Skinner and his theory of operant conditioning.
One common way of modifying behavior includes a reward system that is pre-determined by the therapist and client which makes the client want to change. This mode of therapy is used to treat all sorts of conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and many other common issues like fears.
Example: The behaviorist was hired to work with prisoners before their release from jail, getting them to think critically about the negative behavior patterns which brought them to prison in the first place, and giving them the tools to rework the old, destructive patterns.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Aug 2010