Contingency management (CM) is an evidence-based behavior modification intervention that draws on the principle of operant conditioning to reduce undesirable behaviors while increasing healthier alternatives. CM is alternatively referred to as the carrot-and-stick method, the prize method, or motivational incentives and is highly effective in treating mental health and co-occurring disorders. However, CM is not a therapy in and of itself and should be used in conjunction with other treatment approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which addresses unhealthy thoughts and feelings that influence behavior. Contact Harmony Hills to discover the benefits of a contingency management program in Florida. Use our online form or call 855.494.0357.
What Is Contingency Management?
Contingency management therapy (CM) is a behavior intervention used by trained mental health professionals to improve clients’ symptoms and overall well-being. Unlike many therapies, contingency management focuses solely on a person’s behaviors and not their thoughts or feelings. CM is an ideal treatment approach for addressing mental health disorders, including:
- Substance use disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Bipolar disorder
Contingency management is helpful for a wide range of people, from young children to older adults, with various presenting problems. CM works best as a component of an integrative approach to treatment in residential mental health therapy programs.
The Principles of Contingency Management for Mental Health
Contingency management programs need to focus on seven principles to guide treatment:
- Target behavior – The first step in CM is to identify target behaviors. These can be negative behaviors to be reduced, positive behaviors to be increased, or both.
- Target population – Clients who have strong motivation to succeed in treatment will not need CM. CM is best for those lacking motivation or who have not been successful in treatment in the past.
- Choice of reinforcer – A reward for one person might have no value for another. The therapist and client must work together to determine realistic and desirable rewards.
- Magnitude of reinforcer – Some clients need higher incentives to stay engaged. CM programs need to find the balance between what is rewarding and what is practical.
- Frequency of reinforcer – The rate of reward distribution will depend on the client or program.
- Timing of reinforcer – Timing of the reward is important because it helps build a strong association between the desired behavior and the reward.
- Length of CM intervention – How long CM lasts will depend on the client’s progress.
These seven principles must work in harmony to create the desired effects. It is crucial to remember that the client disengages if the behavior feels too challenging or the reward is not desirable. However, CM can help clients stay in treatment longer and achieve their goals when these factors are aligned.
Contingency Management (CM) and Integrated Care
In treating mental health and co-occurring disorders, contingency management is more successful when used as part of an integrated, comprehensive approach. While CM on its own can produce the desired effects, they are less likely to be lasting if the underlying causes of symptoms are not addressed.
At Harmony Hills, our multidisciplinary treatment team provides the highest quality, compassionate, and effective treatment utilizing various evidence-based approaches. In addition to CM, your treatment plan may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Motivational interviewing (MI)
- Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
- Traumatic incident reduction therapy (TIR)
- Rational emotive behavior therapy (EMDR)
Because mental health and co-occurring disorders impact a person’s mind, body, and spirit, treatment should focus on the whole person. To that end, we also offer:
- Nutritional counseling
- Physical fitness
- Music therapy
- Family therapy
- Life skills training
Call Harmony Hills for Mental Health Treatment in Florida
Through evidence-based treatments, Harmony Hills provides the tools you or your loved one need to achieve lasting recovery from mental health disorders. With an accurate diagnosis, you have the opportunity to seek appropriate treatment. Contact the team at Harmony Hills at 855.494.0357 to discover your mental health treatment options in Florida.