From the author of yesterday’s “What’s Wrong With the Mormons” blog is a blog on measures that will ensure better outcomes in therapeutic (psychological) intervention. Incisive, and yet rather personal, the blog posts take an informal, even humor-hued stance as regards designing therapy plans.
C.R. Petersen’s introduction of his Better Outcomes blog says: [This is a blog on] Best Practice in research and practical applications on writing Measurable Behavioral Objectives.
Excerpts from the Better Outcomes blog:
Before talking about statistics, there is an old story that I would like to share. There was a company that wanted to hire a statistician. They had a full day of interviews and started early in the morning with the first applicant. After asking a number of questions. One of the interviewers wrote on the board “2 + 2 =” and asked the applicant to solve the problem. This went on all day. Finally the last applicant came in. Same questions and same problem at the end but with one exception. This time the applicant got up and went to the door and glanced outside the door then locked it. The applicant then went to the window and closed the blinds. Finally the applicant moved closer to the interviewers and whispered: “What would you like the answer to be?”
The joke may sound a little outrageous; however, I am a strong believer in data, if it is collected and analyzed fairly and correctly. There is a lot of data that is not worth the paper it is written on. There is a lot of research that is absolute garbage. Usually by reading the information, including the research design or the design of the data collection, you can get an idea about the value of the data. Sometimes it is worthless as collected. Sometimes it becomes worthless by the way that it is analyzed or summarized. We’ll discuss this a little more in the subsequent postings.
From Nature Abhors a Vacuum:
I know this therapist and her husband fairly well and I asked her what the result would be if she started taking data on how many times her husband left the toilet seat up. While this may decrease the behavior there may be some additional consequences. (Frankly, while I know them fairly well, I don’t know them well enough to even know if this is an issue.) Anyway, since in a situation like this, the goal should not be to not have the toilet seat left up but to have it put down, a simple reinforcement (perhaps even a simple request) of putting the seat down is likely to be more productive all around. For a better example, if someone needs physical touch and is filling this needs in a socially inappropriate fashion, then trying to eliminate all touch is probably not reasonable. If flinging feces provides needed attention, then perhaps it would be beneficial to teach and reinforce another more appropriate way to get attention. Remember that whenever you are trying to decrease a behavior, you need to be increasing another more appropriate behavior that still fills the needs met by the less or inappropriate behavior. If you do not, the person will find another, perhaps even less appropriate way to meet their needs. As Spock astutely said in The Wrath of Kahn “Nature abhors a vacuum.”