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Behavior modification theories can be applied to anyone. The strategies used in the therapy can be used on girlfriends, boyfriends, family or friends and can help one to ensure a better and more positive environment in one's home or workplace. Many people throughout the world experience behavioral problems in a child or loved one and behavioral modification can help to reduce the stress felt by all involved.

In essence, behavior modification strategies look to employ both positive and negative reinforcement in order to increase and reduce good and bad behavior. However, one must remember that these strategies should be used to influence and help another, not to control. One should not set out with the intention of trying to control another human being, as this is not the aim this method.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement

The main strategies all revolve around positive and negative reinforcement. In some cases, one might use a treat effectively as a bribe in order to encourage good behavior. For example, a treat might be given as a result of behavior, but if the bad behavior resumes, the treat may be taken away, and so on. This can be effective with children and is used widely in nurseries as well as by many parents of small children.

Positive reinforcement can take the shape of a reward system. One might choose to reward good behavior with verbal praise or even a gift. Perhaps, giving the person in question something they really want will increase the positive association with good behavior.

On the other hand, negative reinforcement will mean punishment for bad or inappropriate behavior. If the person is punished regularly for a certain act or behavior, the person may eventually adjust their behavior positively, in order to avoid punishment. Further to this, avoiding punishment may eventually become a reward in itself.

Things to Remember

Before these strategies are implemented, one needs to confront and admit to having a problem. Living in denial will only worsen the problem; one needs to face one's problems no matter how hard this may be. It is also necessary to step back and be objective when trying to help another. Do not let a personal relationship cloud one's judgment as to what is proper or improper conduct. Try to find a pattern in someone's behavior, look for reasons why the person is behaving so badly.

Finally, remain strong with regard to the limits or strategies you impose. Most likely, the subject will try to breach the boundaries of the rules, and thus it is important to remain clam and firm if one is using behavior modification. Remember that you are trying to help the person and remind yourself that you have their best interests at heart.

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