Sources Of Influence

Influences on behavior include other people's actions, the physical environment, tasks and materials, physiological changes, thoughts, genetic differences, and developmental factors. Material and community resources and related political, economic, and social conditions influence options. It is important to obtain an overview of the client's current life as this may relate to problems, including relationships with significant others, employment, physical health, recreational activities, and community and material resources available. Antecedents of behavior, like consequences, have a variety of sources. In addition to proximal antecedents (those that occur right before a behavior), distal antecedents may influence current behavior. Past or future events may be made current by thinking about these. These thoughts may then influence what we do, feel, and think. Setting events are antecedents that are closely associated with a behavior but are not in the situation in which behaviors of concern occur. For example, an unpleasant exchange with a teacher may influence how a child responds to his parents at home. The earlier event alters the likelihood of given reactions in subsequent situations. Preferred practice theories influence the attention given to various sources. Problems vary in the complexity of related factors. Problems may be complex because significant others lack needed skills, have interfering beliefs, or are threatened by proposed changes. Distinguishing between problems and efforts to resolve these will avoid confusion between the results of attempted solutions and effects of the original concern. Expected role behavior in a certain culture may limit change. Ongoing discrimination against a group may limit opportunities. Clients may lack needed information or skills. A behavior deficit may exist (the client may not know how to perform a given behavior).

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