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Preparing for Change: Conference on
Emerging Models for Intergrated
Health Care Delivery

Thursday, Mar. 20 - Friday, Mar. 21, 2014 - Sheraton Hotel, Towson, MD


A Dissemination Conference bringing together leading experts in Behavorial Health Best Practices and ideas for improving Health
Care delivery - For conference agenda, workshop descriptions and registration click here. What's New in The Node.

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spacerWhat motivates us?
     Praise, Gold Stars, Financial Compensation

Psychologists and other social scientists have been studying behavior management for over 100 years experimenting with both positive reinforcement (an extra food pellet) and negative consequences (a shock to the system). The use of incentives to promote positive behavior change is called Contingency Management. More recently, the term Motivational Incentives has been preferred because it emphasizes what clinicians are trying to do: promote desirable or positive behaviors (this term is preferentially used throughout this website).

These behavior-shaping strategies have been developed by many behavioral scientists and health care professionals over the last 60 years. Motivational incentives have been used to encourage kids to get their teeth cleaned, for moms to vaccinate their babies, and for diabetics to check their insulin.

In substance use disorder treatment, there can be negative consequences for behavior (we have lots of examples of these: more restricted privileges at the clinic, legal troubles, and sometimes even discharge from treatment) and there can be positive reinforcement for behavior (more privileges at the clinic, certificates, and graduation ceremonies).

When we earn a gold star for good behavior or a good grade in school, or win first place, we feel good and it is conventionally understood to promote one’s self-esteem. But, in different arenas (weight loss, school, employment), some of us are struggling to get to the finish line. We abandon hope before we make it to the end. We have goals and dreams, but they aren’t realized. Something is preventing us from reaching our goals.

In Motivational Interviewing, we call it Commitment Talk and when a clinician hears this he/she knows that the client feels hopeful and confident. The counselor is trying to encourage that person’s belief that he/she is capable. Motivational Incentives are designed to do the same thing.Dr. Scott Kellogg, on faculty in the Department of Psychology at NYU, and a strong proponent for motivational incentives puts it this way, “You break the goal down into smaller steps, and you reinforce the behavior every step of the way”. Thanks to him and several other researchers who have devoted their time and scholarly activities to this model we know it works! Menu above will help you learn more….

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