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Describe the operant conditioning theory


Describe the operant conditioning theory



The major contributor of this theory was B.F.Skinner who contends that the problems clients face are learned through conditioning (classical and operant). Children and adults learn through the consequences of their behavior. Pleasurable consequences of behavior lead to reinforcement and this increases frequency of engaging in that behavior. Withdrawal of reinforcement leads to extinction of the behavior. The role of the counselor therefore is to help the client to unlearn the undesirable behavior. The methods used under this theory are systematic desensitization, flooding and counter- conditioning.

Systematic desensitization is a method used to help the client who has developed phobia or fear for something. The client is made to approach the feared experience in small steps and relax after each step. This method was first used by Watson and Johns in 1824 to help a 3 year old boy to overcome his fears for animals which had developed because of an attack from a dog.

Flooding is applied to help the client who has developed fear for something. In this method, the fear- causing or anxiety-causing stimulus is presented to the client continuously until the undesirable behavior is eliminated. For instance, if a child has developed fear for a teacher the parent can pay several visits to the teacher with the child, until the fear in the child is eliminated.

Counter-conditioning: This method is used to help a client who has developed a bad habit or is addicted to something. It involves presenting a conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus in such a way that the undesirable behavior is eliminated. There are some behavior therapy methods that foster adaptive behavior through principles of reinforcement. Examples include the token economy, successive approximations, social skills training, and biofeedback training and
punishment. Through the application of these principles, behavior modification is used to extinguish undesirable responses and promote constructive behavior. Non reward can be used to produce extinction of troublesome behaviors. Often this is done by simply identifying and eliminating reinforcers, particularly attention and approval.
francis1897 answered the question on March 17, 2023 at 06:03

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