Consulting can be discussed as the series of actions directed to solving the concrete problem. While focusing on the school or day care center environments, it is possible to note that consulting is the approach to working with children based on the principles of assistance and development of the effective plan of actions. Consulting is a sequential process that consists of several stages which are important to complete all the procedures in order to achieve a concrete goal (Van Lange, Kruglanski, & Higgins, 2011, p. 24).
Behavioral consultation and the behavioral modification approach as the way to change the individual behavior are based on a specific model which also depends on the systematic approach. As a result, it is possible to apply the behavior modification approach to the consultation process in the context of the day care center in order to achieve certain goals.
If the personnel of the day care center experiences problems in working with children during the lunchtime, it is possible to use the behavior modification approach in order to cope with the problem. In spite of the fact that the behavior modification approach is systematic, it is necessary to pay much attention to applying the model to such phases of the diagnostic stage as the process of gathering information, defining the problem, setting the goals, and generating interventions.
The Phase of Gathering Information
The diagnostic stage of consulting consists of four phases, and the first important phase is the period of gathering the information significant to use in the behavior modification approach. The phase depends on using different approaches to collecting data and information related to the discussed problem. The methods to gather information include the process of conducting interviews, the work with records and documents, the focus on surveys and observation (Dougherty, 2014, p. 86).
In order to apply the specific behavior modification model to the consultation process, it is necessary to choose the data collection method which is most appropriate for the discussed situation. The behavior modification model is based on gathering the information on the children’s different behaviors. During this phase, it is necessary to focus on observation of the behaviors and environments because of the large number of children and fill in functional behavioral assessments in relation to the children who have difficulties with following the schedule and organizing their time and who demonstrate the disruptive behavior during the lunchtime (O’Donohue & Ferguson, 2006, p. 335). Additional interviews with the center representatives are necessary in order to discuss the psychological aspects of the children’s behavior.
The Phase of Defining the Problem
The second phase of the diagnostic stage is the definition of the problem. This phase includes the analysis of the collected data, the process of determining the critical factors to influence the behavior, and the concentration on the target behavior which is interesting for the consultant. While focusing on the target behavior, it is necessary to define the problem which can explain why the discussed behavior is undesirable in relation to the context (Dougherty, 2014, p. 87).
Referring to the situation of applying the behavior modification model to this phase, it is necessary to analyze the collected data, to focus on the questionable points, to determine the factors which influence the behavior of children, and to define the behavior which should be modified. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the children’s problems with following the schedule and behaviors during the lunchtime while formulating the problem to solve.
The Phase of Setting Goals
The next phase is associated with determining the desired outcomes and goals. During this stage, the consultants focus on the observed facts and set the most desired outcomes. While focusing on the determined outcomes, it is possible to set the relevant goals (Dougherty, 2014, p. 88). In the situation of applying the behavior modification approach, this phase is connected with discussing the observed behaviors and setting goals to modify the current behavior with the help of the certain methods. The representatives’ focus on preventing the disruptive behavior, following the schedule, eating the food, and finishing in time is important to set the goals which should describe the desired behavior.
The Phase of Generating Possible Interventions
The phase includes the work at the plan of actions in order to achieve the set goals. The goals determine the result of the consultation process which is the change in the behavior. That is why, the process of working at the interventions is extremely important to complete the goal (Dougherty, 2014, p. 92). According to the behavior modification approach, the change plan should include steps which lead to changing the current behavior into the desired one.
The plan of actions appropriate for being implemented in the day care center can include such interventions and activities as the statement of the timeframe; the adoption of necessary resources such as the increase in the number of mentors; promotion of new behaviors with organizing more educational meetings; procedures to improve the changes with the focus on the system of motivation and rewards; and procedures to reduce the undesirable behaviors which can include the changes in the system of punishment.
The Other Perspective Related to the Consultation Process
The consultation process based on the behavior modification approach can be replaced with the consultation based on such an alternative approach as the person-centered approach. While using this model in the consultation process, the focus is on the concrete person and his or her emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. To cope with the observed problem, it is necessary to conduct the individual sessions during which the person works at the aspects of interaction with the inner and external world (Chance, 2013, p. 112). As a result, counselors who use the person-centered approach state that the potential to work with the identified problem is not in the individual interaction with the other persons, but in the work at the inner problems and fears.
Reflection on the Perspectives
While comparing the traditional behavioral modification approach and the person-centered approach, it is important to focus on differences in the approaches. These differences are the work with a group of persons typical for the first approach and the work with an individual to modify the aspects of the personality typical for the second approach (Dougherty, 2014, p. 218). Although the behavior modification approach is used to work with individual clients, this technique also serves to solve the problem which is shared by a group of persons.
Thus, problems in the children’s behavior during the lunchtime can be discussed as group problems because the disruptive behavior of one person can influence the activities of the whole group. As a result, it is appropriate to work with all the children as the group which develops according to the certain rules. On the contrary, the person-centered approach is more appropriate for the individual work with the client when the changes in the behavior are achieved as a result of the work with the child’s inner world.
From this perspective, the behavior modification approach seems to be more effective and convenient. To organize the group of children during the lunchtime and during the pre- and post-activities, it is necessary to work with all the children who can join the group. In this case, the person-centered approach cannot provide the expected results because of the necessity to work with all the children’s individually. The positive results of the individual therapy can be affected by the impact of the group.
The behavior modification approach can be easily applied to the consultation process in the day care center because of its effectiveness to be implemented within the school environments. Furthermore, the behavior modification model includes the stages which can be easily adapted to the phases of the diagnostic stage of the consultation process. Thus, to achieve significant results, it is necessary to focus on such phases as the phase of gathering the information, the phase of defining the problem, the phase of setting the goals, and the phase of developing interventions.
These phases are correlated with the stages of the behavior modification model, which are the focus on the target behavior, the collection of the data, the data analysis, and the development of the intervention plan. Moreover, the behavior modification approach is more effective than the person-centered approach to work with the group of children who need to change their behaviors.
Chance, P. (2013). Learning and behavior. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Dougherty, A. M. (2014). Psychological consultation and collaboration in school and community settings. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
O’Donohue, W., & Ferguson, K. E. (2006). Evidence-based practice in psychology and behavior analysis. The Behavior Analyst Today, 7(3), 335-352.
Van Lange, P., Kruglanski, A., & Higgins, T. (2011). Handbook of theories of social psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.