Positive Behaviour - Skin A Cat
Podcast 10 - Skin A Cat
ABA technical concepts covered in this podcast: Positive Behaviour Support; R+ and R-; Maintaining Consequences; positive social attention; Motivating operations; Positive pairing; Non-contingent reinforcement; respondent behaviour; P-;
Presenters - Bobbi Hoadley, Cathy Knights.
Cathy promises to practice more effective positive behaviour around the challenging behaviour in others, because sometimes polite and respectful or annoyed and irritated just doesn't do the trick.
There's more than one way to skin a cat. If there's a task at hand, you can be creative about how to get it done. The reason I like this podcast, is because it's going to be about how we can positively support others in counter-productive behaviours.
How do we not reinforce behaviour? The rule of thumb is if the behaviour is continuing or increasing, you are reinforcing it. You're maintaining it. You have a relationship with someone that is continually counter-productive, an interaction that doesn't work, if it continues or it gets worse, than whatever it is you're doing, you're actually reinforcing it. I never want to start the relationship with clients believing that I am another person who reinforces the status-quo. I take an observational approach – I never read the reports before I meet the person. I try not to have any prior assumptions. By not reinforcing, I just don't participate. On the other hand, I try to build rapport, which is necessary to bring interventions, or bring defenses down. Typically I meet the person first.
An example, "I's not about the nail" video, on Youtube. An interaction between two people where there's a whole lot of things going on, not about the nail. A person who doesn't have good insight as to why they have a specific concern, and another person who sees what's going on and is pushing back to make the other person see. What does she/he want in the video, bottom line? He wants to be the fixer. She wants him to listen to her. For most of us, we really do want people to listen to us and be sympathetic to the things that cause us strife. It's very frustrating to him, he's not being served by the behaviour, if she escalates, and she's getting some sort of underlying need met, not about the nail.
First lesson - don't try to fix people. Positively support people to come to the understanding of change. A lot of fixers reinforce the wrong thing, behaviour continues to go on. When the fixer did understand that this is what she wanted from him and he used it, she was very happy. In fact, she needs the loving attention for something other than the nail. The underlying need is there and needs to be met. Chronic problem in relationship between men and women.
So how do you build rapport with someone, without reinforcing the problem? Ignore the nail. I'm not going to participate with the nail. Non-commital, brief empathy. Ted talk on empathy https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en , which is not about investing in the other person's feelings, it's about listening to the other's feelings- a genuine interest in finding out what's going on with you.
Two behaviours that build rapport- people who do it are often the life of party, genuinely successful at their job, they connect well to other human beings. There's a study now, if you can teach these two behaviours to care staff, you can eliminate a number of behaviours in care settings. First one is positive pairing – pair yourself with something that's reinforcing to the person. Talk about the things we like, the things we have in common. A lot of advertising is on positive pairing. You like that movie, I love that movie. Pairing something nice with you, to another person. In facility, staff have access to reinforcers, they can provide with eye contact and a smile, serving a meal for example. Food is an unconditioned reinforcer. I drove a client to McDonald's for the first sessions to get him to open up to me. I'd get lost from his house, and ask him which way, which was difficult to get from him. After week 5, he says to me as we're driving, "you drive like shit" and I was so thrilled he'd say that to me. Positive pairing.
The second behaviour is, non-contingent reinforcement – giving someone reinforcement for nothing. Those two skills cause you to build rapport with everyone. I tell staff, use it and practice with people you already have rapport with and connection. Watch yourself. You can do it in less than 15 seconds. Increase those behaviours in yourself, to a point where it's working even with the more difficult people.
In a million years I would not hold behaviours against someone. When you have someone you don't like, make sure you don't interact with them or participate with that behaviour. Look away. It's a great way to not participate in a behaviour you don't like. Build rapport- you at least will have a better relationship with that person than someone else who doesn't. If there's someone who's badly behaved, you can't go wrong. I suggest you know it's a problem if the behaviour is driving you nuts- how do you interact with that person? Come up with a way to address it. Generally they're going to be fixers or a punisher. But if the behaviours don't change...
We talked about a relationship rift with you. We ended up coming to how not to be a door mat, or don't reinforce the asking, or don't reinforce that side of the person. And not feeling guilty or uncomfortable by not participating in it.
If you're not relationship building all the time, the relationship will start to wither and die. At the end of a difficult session with a client, I move immediately into rapport building. There's a quote that I love: "you would not worry so much about what others think of you, if you knew how little they actually do". You can make a mistake, but it's fixable, with rapport.