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PSYB45H3 Lecture Notes - Family Therapy, Bulgarian Lev, Contract

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Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 23: Behavioural Contracts
Used to apply reinforcement and punishment contingencies to help people manage their own
Type of antecedent manipulation
Also called a contingency contract or a performance contract
It is a written agreement between 2 parties in which one or both parties agree to engage in a
specified level of a target behaviour or behaviours. Furthermore, the contract states the
consequence that will be administered contingent on the occurrence (or non-occurrence) of the
Components of a behavioural contract
oIdentifying the target behaviour
oStating how the target behaviours will be measured
oStating when the behaviour must be performed
oIdentifying the reinforcement or punishment contingency
oIdentifying who will implement the contingency
Types of behavioural contracts
oOne-party contracts
Also called unilateral contract
One person seeks to change a target behaviour and arranges reinforcement or
punishment contingencies with a contract manager, who implements the
Used when the person wants to increase desirable behaviours or to decrease
undesirable behaviours
Contract manager may be a psychologist, counsellor, other helping professional
The contract manager must not stand gain from the contingencies
oTwo-party contracts or bilateral contract
Both parties identify target behaviours for change and the contingencies that will
be implemented for the target behaviours.
Written between people who have some relationship with each other, such as
spouses, parent and child, siblings, friends.
Typically, each party is displeased with some behaviour of the other party, and
the contract identifies behaviour changes that will be pleasing to both parties.
Quid pro quo contract (one thing is given in return for another): The behavior
change of one party serves as the reinforcement for the behavior change of the
other party
Parallel Contract: Two independent contracts, one for each party; when one
persons target behaviours are tied to the other persons target behaviours, one
persons failure can result in the failure of the whole contract. Can be avoided if a
separate contingency is established for each persons target behaviours.
Types of contingencies in a behavioural contract:
oPositive Reinforcement: if desirable, present reinforcer
oNegative Reinforcement: if desirable, remove punisher
oPositive Punishment: if undesirable, present punisher
oNegative Punishment: is undesirable, remove reinforcer
Negotiating a behavioural contract
oMust negotiate the components of the contract so that the contract is acceptable to all
oIn one-party contract, the contract manager negotiates with the client until they agree on
an acceptable level of the target behaviour,
the appropriate consequences (enough to motivate client), and
the time frame of the contract.
If they negotiate a level of target behaviour that the client can perform
successfully, the clients efforts will be reinforced, and the client is more likely to
enter into further contracts. If the level of the target behaviour is too difficult to
attain, the client may become discouraged and decline to enter into further
oNegotiating in a two party contract maybe more difficult
oFor a two party contract, the parties must often compromise for both to achieve benefit
from the contract
oNegotiating a two party contract often requires advanced training
Why do behavioural contracts influence behaviour?
oBehavioural consequences
oPublic commitment
oRule-governed behaviour
Contract establishes a rule that the contractee states later on the appropriate
circumstances as a prompt or self-instruction to engage in the target behaviour.
Cues behavior
Creates an EO (increases anxiety) and engaging in the behavior is negatively
reinforced (decreases anxiety)
oEstablishing operations
Applications of behavioural contracts:
oWeight loss
oStudying / academic performance
oCouples therapy and family therapy