The highly resistant, self-reinforcing nature of many unhealthy, harmful behavior habits are often too strong for willpower, cognitive interventions or other internal control skills alone. These relapsing conditions require multiple intervention methods along the multiple intervention pathways of internal, control, external control and social learning for effective management.
Internal Control: Healthy Behavior Success Skills
"Your ACTS speak louder than your words"
ACTS Healthy Behavior Success Skills pull clients towards positive change with four internal control skills drawn from well-established, research supported intervention methods (i.e., Relapse Prevention, Emotional Regulation, Decisional Balance and Social Problem Solving) selected for their application to multiple forms of unhealthy, harmful behavior.
These Healthy Behavior Success Skills are combined in a user-friendly format to help clients pull themselves out of problem situations, “Avoid trouble, Calm Down, Think it through and Solve the problem”. These skills are described in detail with case examples and treatment exercises in Chapters 4- 7 of The Clinician’s Guide to Social Responsibility Therapy.
External control intervention and monitoring pushes clients towards positive change by providing reinforcement and consequences for adherence to rules that set them up to succeed.
For example, weight management program rules that discourage eating unhealthy food are often externally monitored by weigh ins which result in social reinforcement or consequences. Substance abuse programs rules prohibiting drugs and alcohol typically are externally monitored with urine toxicology screenings which result in reinforcement (e.g., receiving sobriety coin) or consequences (e.g., referral to a higher level of care). Sex offender treatment rules that prohibit going near schools or victim residences may be externally monitored with GPS bracelets which can result in legal consequences.
Social Learning: Healthy Relationship Success Skills
"Most Human Behavior is learned observationally through modeling from others" -- Albert Bandura
SRT develops social maturity and emotional maturity as Healthy Relationship Success Skills and competing factors to unhealthy, harmful, behavior.
Social maturity involving honesty, trust, loyalty, concern and responsibility are the Healthy Relationship Success Skills we want from peers, partners, parents and employers who also want these characteristics from us. The value of these Social Maturity characteristics cannot be underestimated. They are the commodities needed to develop the relationships we want, avoid the unhealthy, harmful behavior we don't want and establish the self-esteem we need to succeed in life. Social Maturity is not taught in school. Healthy Relationship Success Skills are learned by observing and interacting with others.
Emotional Maturity involves self-awareness of how unhealthy, harmful behavior was developed, confidence to try new solutions to old problems (i.e., recovery self-efficacy) and self-control practice. When Social Maturity characteristics (i.e., Healthy Behavior Success Skills) are combined with Emotional Maturity characteristics, empathy and helpful behavior is increased while unhealthy, harmful behavior is decreased. Social learning procedures utilized in the Therapeutic Community model are implemented to develop healthy relationship and behavior success skills.