Skills System-Based Therapy: A Positive, Reinforcement-Based Intervention

When most people think about skills system-based therapy, they may associate it with aversive techniques and severe behaviors. However, this is not the case! System-based therapy is a positive, reinforcement-based approach that teaches new skills to replace problem behaviors. It can be used with children, adolescents, and adults who exhibit any type of problem behavior, regardless of its severity.


Skills System-based therapy is a cognitive-behavioral intervention that is grounded in the principles of operant conditioning. The approach uses functional analysis to identify the relationships between problem behaviors and their consequences. Once the functional relationship between behaviors and their consequences are identified, specific skills training is provided to teach individuals new skills that will replace the problem behaviors.


System-based therapy has been found to be effective in reducing problem behaviors in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, and clinics. The approach is individualized to meet the needs of each person and can be used for a wide variety of ages.


IAG offers system-based therapy to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, brain injuries, or physical/medical conditions. Our skilled therapists work with individuals to identify the function of their problem behaviors and teach them new skills to replace those behaviors. System-based therapy is an effective intervention for reducing problem behaviors and improving quality of life.


Some key things to keep in mind when implementing system-based therapy are:


1. The approach is individualized to meet the needs of each person.


2. The intervention can be used with children, adolescents, and adults.


3. The intervention is positive and reinforcement-based.


4. System-based therapy is an effective intervention for reducing problem behaviors.



The three most frequent misconceptions about skills-based therapy are:


1. It is aversive - This is not true! System-based therapy is a positive, reinforcement-based approach that teaches new skills to replace problem behaviors.


2. It is time-consuming - This may be true in the beginning as individuals learn new skills, but once those skills are mastered, the intervention becomes quite efficient.


3. It is only for severe behaviors - Again, this is not true! System-based therapy can be used with individuals who exhibit any type of problem behavior, regardless of its severity.


A study by Albin and colleagues (2006) found that system-based therapy was effective in reducing problem behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders. In a study by Kerns and colleagues (2007), system-based therapy was found to be effective in reducing problem behaviors in adults with intellectual disabilities. And, in a study by Lerman and colleagues (2011), system-based therapy was found to be effective in reducing problem behaviors in adolescents with emotional/behavioral disorders. These are just a few examples of the many studies that have shown the effectiveness of system-based therapy.


Thank you for reading. We hope this information has been helpful and informative. If you or someone you know could benefit from skills system-based therapy, please contact IAG today. Our skilled therapists would be happy to provide you with more information about this approach and answer any questions you may have.

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