Psychological Self-Help

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hand, the intrinsic satisfaction of making long shots isn't exactly self-
reinforcement (you aren't in total control--you don't make every shot
and you didn't create the thrill). Secord focuses on helping people set
up the conditions (not reinforcement) that increases their chances of
doing what they want to do but haven't been able to do, namely in my
example, make more long shots (see change of environment in
chapter 11). 
Age also partly determines which approaches you need to use with
children or teenagers. With young children, you can teach parents and
teachers how to modify the child's behavior by rewarding or punishing
it. With teenagers, this manipulation of rewards frequently will not
work because parents can't control much of the teenager's
environment. Besides, teenagers are into self-control, i.e. doing their
own thing, and skillful at resisting control. Therefore, the usual
approach with teenagers is to teach them self-management training--
ways of changing their own environment--so that they and their
parents or teachers are both happy. Often the major task the teenager
needs to learn is which of his/her behaviors will irritate others and
which will eventually be reinforced by others. 
Many behaviors produce a variety of consequences. Brigham
(1989) points out that almost all problem behaviors occur when the
complex consequences of an action are both immediate and delayed,
taking immediate pleasures but running into trouble in the long
run (smoking, over-eating, building love relationships with two
people at same time, being so let's-have-a-good-time-oriented
at work that you are fired), 
taking immediate small pleasures but loosing out on major
satisfactions later on (spending money impulsively as soon as
you get it rather than saving your money for major, important
purchases later, having a brief affair resulting in loosing a good
long-term relationship, teasing a person to the point that it
becomes a big fight), 
avoiding a minor immediate unpleasant situation but risking a
major problem (not going to the doctor to have a irregular,
dark mole checked, avoiding treatment for an emotional or
addiction problem, neglecting to buy condoms or to take the
pill), and 
avoiding a minor immediate unpleasant situation and, thereby,
missing out on an important future event (not studying hard
enough to get into medical or law or graduate school, avoiding
meeting people and not developing social skills that would lead
to an enjoyable social life and wonderful relationships). 
Research has shown that animals and humans tend to take the
smaller immediate reward, rather than waiting for a larger delayed pay
off. Consider this example: suppose someone offered you $8
immediately for an hour of work or $10 for the work if you would wait
three days to be paid, which would your take? Most would take the $8
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