Category: Therapy

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning Operant conditioning is a principle developed by the psychologist B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), who was responsible for a philosophy of science he called ‘radical behaviourism’. Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs as a result of rewards and punishments for behaviour. Operant or instrumental conditioning was Skinner’s term to describe the effects of the consequences of a particular behaviour on the future occurrence of that behaviour. In other words, the association that is made between a behaviour and the consequence of the behaviour. There are four types of Operant Conditioning: Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment, and Extinction. Both Positive and Negative Reinforcement strengthen (or increase the likelihood of) behaviour, while both Punishment and Extinction weaken (or reduce the incidence of) behaviour. Some key concepts in operant conditioning: A reinforcer is any event that either strengthens or increases the behaviour it follows. There are two kinds of reinforcers:

Positive reinforcers are favourable events or outcomes that are presented immediately after the behaviour. For example: A hungry guinea-pig pushes its nose against a lever in its cage and receives food. The food is a positive condition for the hungry guinea-pig. It pushes the lever again, and again receives food. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pushing the lever is strengthened or increased by the consequence of receiving food.

Negative reinforcers involve the removal of an unfavourable events or outcomes after the display of a behaviour.

A guinea-pig is placed in a cage and immediately receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the guinea-pig. The guinea-pig pushes a lever and the shock stops. The guinea-pig receives another shock, pushes the lever again, and again the shock stops. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pushing the lever is strengthened by the consequence of stopping the shock. In both of these cases of reinforcement, the behaviour increases.

Punishment is the presentation of an adverse event or outcome that causes a decrease in the behaviour it follows. In the case of punishment, the behaviour decreases.

A guinea-pig pushes a lever in its cage and receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the guinea-pig. The guinea-pig pushes the lever again and again receives an electric shock. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pressing the lever is weakened by the consequence of receiving the shock.

Within Extinction, a behaviour is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing a positive condition or stopping a negative condition. For example:

A guinea-pig pushes a lever in its cage and nothing positive or negative happens. The guinea-pig presses the lever again and again nothing happens. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pressing the lever is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing anything positive or stopping anything negative. Subsequently, the likelihood of the guinea-pig continuing to push the lever is reduced

How to get a good nights sleep?

Oh to sleep like a baby
Oh, to sleep like a baby!!
  Some might sadly say that in today’s hectic world that sleep has become more of a luxury than a necessity.  I often hear clients indicate how they lead such busy lives that they almost don't have time for sleep!  So, please read on for information about sleep improvement. Sleep is vitally important for the emotional and physical well being of us all. Sleep difficulties such as problems getting off to sleep, remaining asleep or waking up at 'stupid o'clock' can create lasting health and emotional difficulties. If you have been experiencing sleep issues, it may be due to a number of factors such as stress, anxiety, panic or depression. In order to address your sleep problem, it is best to consult an experienced CBT therapist who can assist you to change your behaviour, and to manage your thought processes and emotions that may interfere with your sleep. Read more

What are the differences between CBT and counselling

MentalPress 3 Whilst both counselling and CBT are talking therapies, there are a number of marked differences between them.  The most apparent is they have a differing Regulatory body, as counsellors are accredited and regulated by the BACP, who state "the counsellor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the client's problems without becoming burdened by them" Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists are accredited by the BABCP.  In terms of practical differences Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy includes the following, which counselling may not offer:
  • Structure and active engagement
  • Working in the here and now
  • Looking at the interaction between cognition, emotion, behaviour and physiology
  • Empirical background, efficacy and outcomes
  • Time limited and brief
  • Collaborative
  • Levels of cognition
  • The use of Socratic questions
  • Guided discovery
  • Rooted in the scientific practitioner model
  • In vivo work
  • Behavioural Experiments
  • The use of case formulation
  • The use of objective measures
  • The setting of goals and targets
  • Implementation of homework
Please note, I am an accredited CBT psychotherapist, and I do not make any claims to be a 'counsellor', as I am not accredited with the body that regulates counsellors (BACP).  I believe if I were to claim to offer counselling it would be a breach of my ethical framework.  However, a number of 'professionals' claim to offer CBT when they are not qualified to do so.

Get the most out of your work day

There are many emotional issues that find a corner in our heart, and refuse to die down. With time, these issues can transform into a sort of emotional tumor that impacts negatively on our daily life, such as lack of concentration, enthusiasm, self respect, will to change, encouragement, and so on. These issues can spiral into our lives in various ways and gets channelled into other zones, which can create problems in the relationships, professional life, and health. Read more

How to improve your memory?

It has been believed for centuries that as we grow older, our brain functions continue to deteriorate, which also impacts and weakens our memory. However, recent medical researches and experiments have proved that our brain has the ability to grow new neurons, even as we age, a process known scientifically as neuroplasticity. The mental health of a person depends vastly on how active the person is – physically and mentally. If you keep forgetting things too quickly, or have noticed a sharp decline in your mental health in terms of memory recently, it is time to make some really important changes in your lifestyle to help sharpen and improve your memory. Read more
Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a principle developed by the psychologist B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), who was responsible for a philosophy …

How to get a good nights sleep?

  Some might sadly say that in today’s hectic world that sleep has become more of a luxury than a necessity.  I …

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A clinical perspective on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessions can be described as being those distressing thoughts, …