Ch - 27Current Concerns and Future Issues:
Dilemmas In Efforts To Change Behavior:
The dilemmas therapists and other professionals often face in their effects to change behavior can be
placed into 2 categories: Those that pertain to the behavior change goals and those that pertain to the
behavior change methods of the intervention.
Are The Behavior Change Goals Acceptable?
Most interventions target behaviors and behavioral goals that are appropriate and useful for abehavior
change intervention. Goal acceptability refers to the degree to which the outcome or behavioral goals
are fair, appropriate and reasonable.
Deciding If Behavior Change Goals Are Acceptable
Goals of a behavior change program are acceptable if they meet 2 broad goal acceptability criteria: First,
the goals should have a high degree of social validity-- that is, they should be desired by society and
appropriate for the target person's life. Second, the goals should involve a clinically significant
improvement that we can realistically hope to achieve. Asking the question in before each criteria
"Would achieving the goals":
1. Be a likely prospect, given research evidence on the success of the planned methods with similar
2. Greatly improve the target person's general adaptive functioning-- by for e.g. enabling, him/her
to socialize more effectively?
3. Substantially decrease the likelihood of physical or psychological harm to oneself, such as from
self- injurious behavior?
4. Markedly reduce the likelihood that the client will physically or psychologically harm someone
else-- for instance, a teacher or classmate?
5. Greatly decrease reasonable difficulties that other people experience with the target person's
6. Bring the target behavior to a normal level for the target person's age and gender?
If the answer is yes for even one of the above answers then the behavior change goals might be
acceptable but if the answer is no for the first one then it severely limits the goal acceptability.
Trying to Make Gays Straight?
What Causes Homosexuality? 2 theories that are the possible causes: One theory is based on
respondent conditioning: Homosexual preference is learned through conditioning. This view proposes
that a person might acquire such conditioning is a same- sex person (the conditioned stimulus, CS) ere
paired with the sexual arousal (UC), through seduction or sexual exploration. The other theory is based
on the Freudian psychodynamic view that parent- child relationships determine sexual orientation-- for
instance, males become gay because their fathers are detached and ineffectual, providing a poor role model, and their mothers are dominating and overprotective. But no research has found any evidence
related to either of the theories.
3 critical findings: 1-- the parent-- child relationships experienced by homosexuals and heterosexuals
while growing up are not very different. 2nd-- Although, siblings share the same parents, who might in
fact consist of an intellectual father and dominating mother, the sibling of a child who turns out gay are
not necessarily gay too. 3rd-- gay men and women very often report being able to trace their
homosexual feelings to their childhood years, long before they ever knew what sex was.
The Failure of "Conversion" Therapies:
Conversion therapies like psychodynamic approach, aversive methods and others use fundamentalist
programs for "reorientation counselling". Aversion therapy methods, electric shock or other aversive
stimuli have been paired with sexually arousing photographs or thoughts. None of these theories are
clinically prominent in the change.
Examples of Dilemmas in Behavior Change Goals:
The first dilemma is, Should a therapy program pursue the goal of helping obese individuals achieve
normal weight levels by dieting?
Evidence suggests that being 20% overweight of the body weight puts an individual's health at risk. A
controversy developed in 1990 a) diets almost always fail; b) genetic factors make permanent weight
reduction impossible for many people; c) obese people who do manage permanent weight and keep it
off do not necessarily live longer.
The second claim--> Should a therapy program pursue the goal of decreasing children's extremely
oppositional and aggressive behavior if doing so requires getting them to play alone much of the time?
There was a research conducted with children displaying tantrums, and other unacceptable behaviors.
The study was divided in 2 phases which included solidarity-- Children would play alone and Cooperative
play-- family members would play with the children. The results displayed that solidarity was a much
more effective method but it was also criticised that these kids are already suffering from high levels off