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Chapter 25

Chapter 25

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 25
Cognitive Behavior Modification
People trained in behavior analysis do not favor the term cognitive for a
variety of reasons; however, the term is used widely in clinical
psychology and behavior therapy
Defining Cognitive Behavior Modification
Defining Cognitive Behavior
oThe target behavior must be identified and defined in objective
terms so that its occurrence can be recorded
oThis is true for overt behaviors, as well as covert behaviors such
as cognitive behaviors
oBecause cognitive behaviors are covert, they cannot be observed
directly and recorded by an independent observer
oRather, the person engaging in the cognitive behavior must
identify and record the occurrence of the behavior
oPeople think, talk to themselves, solve problems, evaluate
themselves, make plans, imagine specific behaviors or situations
and so forth these are all instances of cognitive behavior; they
are verbal or imaginal responses made by the person that are
covert, and thus not observable to others
oTo be able to work with cognitive behaviors, we must work with
the client to objectively define these behaviors
oTo be a behavioral definition of a cognitive behavior, the
thought, image, or self-statement must be described clearly by
the person engaging in the behavior
oA label for the cognitive behavior is not a behavioral definition
(ex. Low self-confidence)
Functions of Cognitive Behavior
oCognitive behavior maybe distressing to the person; it may
function as a CS that elicits an unpleasant CR (ex. A persons
fearful thoughts can function as a CS to elicit anxiety as a CR)
Cognitive behaviors that elicit undesirable CRs such as
anxiety are behavioral excesses that can be decreased
with cognitive behavioral modification procedures
oCognitive behaviors can also function as discriminative stimuli
SDs for desirable behaviors
After reciting a rule or self-instruction, a person may be
more likely to engage in the desirable behavior specified
by the rule or self-instruction
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Sometimes viewed as behavioral deficits that need to be
increased in frequency through cognitive behavior
modification procedures
oCognitive behaviors may function as establishing operations
EOs that influence the power of consequences to function as
reinforcers or punishers
How we talk to ourselves about events in our lives may
change the value of those events as reinforcers or
oCognitive behaviors may also function as reinforcing or
punishing consequences when they follow some other behavior
Praise statements or critical statements from others can
serve as reinforcers or punishers
Likewise, praise statements or critical statements made
by a person can serve as reinforcers or punishers for the
persons own behavior
Cognitive Behavior Modification Procedures
Cognitive Restructuring
oDesigned to replace specific maladaptive cognitive behaviors
with more adaptive ones
oUsed in the case of behavioral excesses, that is, when existing
maladaptive cognitive behaviors contribute to a problem
oThe therapist helps the client identify cognitive behaviors that
are distressing and then helps the client get rid of these
distressing thoughts or replace them with more desirable
oDistressing thoughts might be those that elicit emotional
responses such as fear, anxiety, or anger, or those that are
associated with unpleasant moods, problem behaviors, or poor
o3 basic steps:
Helping the client identify the distressing thoughts and
the situations in which they occur
Asking clients to report what distressing thoughts
they experience in specific situations
Relies on the clients’ memory of the situations and
associated thoughts
OR have the client self-monitor write down a
description of the situations and the thoughts as
they occur
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