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The 4 Goals of Misbehavior

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Presentation on theme: "The 4 Goals of Misbehavior"— Presentation transcript:

1 The 4 Goals of Misbehavior
Tamarah L. Gehlen MA LMFT LADC CCTP

2 Where did the 4 goals come from?
Rudolph Dreikurs – Book: Children the Challenge, 1968 Helped family workers and parents see purpose behind actions & to work with the issue, rather than against.

3 What are the 4 Goals of Misbehavior?
Attention Power Revenge Avoidance

Why are They Important? EVERY BEHAVIOR HAS A PURPOSE!!! By using these principles and observing clients from this perspective, we can: Better align with them Reduce resistance Use our own emotions to gauge the situation Help create movement & improve client awareness

5 Remember: The more discouraged an individual is – the more they act out until they get to avoidance.

6 So, What Can We Take From This?
By maintaining a positive stance, seeking opportunity to give encouragement, it becomes easier for us to help clients come back from the stage of misbehavior that they are in, and find different ways to get their needs met in relationships in healthy, positive ways.

7 What happens if we lose sight of this?
In being overworked, stressed or dealing with difficult clients ongoing, we can begin to lack the empathy and creativity needed to fully facilitate change with those that we serve. That is why an understanding of encouragement & discouragement is vital – as well as a constant reminder that every behavior has a purpose! What happens if we lose sight of this?


9 Stalled Out…. (in the therapeutic relationship)

10 Discouragement & Mistaken Beliefs:
People become discouraged when their way of interacting in the world does not produce the same, consistent results, or when they cannot link a cohesive connection from the world to their personal beliefs.

11 Where mistaken beliefs come from:
By asking our clients to change, we are asking them to question what they know, & make changes in their most deeply held beliefs –or to change actions that have contributed to their survival.

12 What’s in your client’s toolbox?
Do they have a variety of tools? Do they understand how to use the tools that they have? Are they willing to learn new tools?

13 Getting Organized Having some flexibility
Remembering that you are your most valuable tool – how are you taking care of yourself? Having a sense of humor Having “go-to” activities

14 Mistaken Beliefs Are Categorized By:

15 Private Logic at Work…


17 Attention First stage of misbehavior
Seeks attention & affirmation of self through actions & words Can start off as minimal and small issues and increase as need for assurance and insecurity rises


19 Attention What they Feel “I count only when I am being noticed or served.” How You Feel/React Annoyed; May want to remind, or coax them to change behavior pattern

20 Attention How to Correct
How They Respond Temporarily stops disturbing action when given attention but soon continues; may begin new behavior to gain attention. How to Correct Ignore when possible; give attention in unexpected ways; give attention for positive behavior; never give attention on demand.

21 What are some real-life ways to help get over the attention seeking?
EYE contact. Get on the client’s level, listen to the request and answer with focus. TRUST that they can do it & then teach them this! Watch- as the attention seeking energy is channeled into self-sufficiency. OFFER ACCEPTANCE. When a kid is being bad to get you to stop what you’re doing, ignore the “bad” and reach out to accept the child in a different context. block out the whining and continuing on, inviting the child to participate outside of the behavior. INVITE PARTICIPATION.

22 If Attention doesn’t work –
The next step is typically POWER

23 The motivating factor…
POWER The motivating factor… I count only when I am dominating, when you do what I want you to do, when I can do whatever I want.

24 Example of a Power Play…

25 When you feel: Provoked, angry or challenged- "l'll make them do it”
POWER Power can be done in overt & covert ways. Think: Classic Power Struggle When you feel: Provoked, angry or challenged- "l'll make them do it”

26 How to progress past the power struggle
When those who seek power don’t get their way they will: -Intensifies action when reprimanded -Want to win/ be boss - Increase defiance. How to make change: - Withdraw from conflict - Act, rather than talk - Be friendly Establish equality - Redirect their efforts into constructive channels.

27 Taking Power out of the Therapeutic Relationship
OFFER TRUST If clients can get opportunities for small amounts of power, the power struggles aren’t necessary to gain empowerment. PROVIDE CHOICES – give clients choices on what needs to be addressed from pre-selected items YOU want to accomplish. Something even as simple as asking “ What do you most want to talk about today?” Is a great opener. ACCEPT MISTAKES - It’s so tempting to step in and try to “fix” their lives, but remember - power comes from the ability to be in charge of ones own life- even the mistakes!

28 Revenge typically follows …
When power fails…. Revenge typically follows …

29 REVENGE I can't be liked. I don't have power but I'll count if I can hurt others as I feel hurt by life.

30 Revenge Ever find yourself feeling like
"How can he/she do this to me?“ Hurt? Wanting to retaliate, or try to get even? Then you’ve experienced revenge…

31 The Purpose Behind Revenge:
A client who feels slighted , ignored, or unaccepted for who they are as a person – even if we convey the message unintentionally- will want to find a way to feel significant

32 Ways to avoid or get out of the revenge trap:
CONNECTING with our clients. LISTENING to their likes / dislike. ACCEPTING who they are as people (even if they are different from us) ALLOWING for their interpretation of their own world.

33 Getting out of the revenge trap
Maintain order with minimum restraint; -avoid retaliation or punishment. -Take time and effort to help client. -Build trusting relationship - Have a good sense of humor!!!

34 Every Behavior Has a Purpose!
Remember: Keep in mind the escalating scale of discouragement… By truly achieving revenge-type behavior, the client gets to feel significant, powerful and also gets attention. Every Behavior Has a Purpose!

35 Things to Consider… Many get frustrated with this type of client as it may appear that they are trying to actively seek ways to get the therapeutic process off-task. By simply continuing our relationship with them and encouraging any positives we see – we help them begin to question the mistaken belief.

36 I’ve failed – you’re going to fail - so why even go there?
AVOIDANCE I’ve failed – you’re going to fail - so why even go there?

37 *Also referred to as display of inadequacy…
Avoidance *Also referred to as display of inadequacy… Avoidance says: I can't do anything right so I won't try to do anything at all; I am no good

38 Avoidance can look like a lot of different things….
` Avoidance can look like a lot of different things….

39 ALERT! ALERT!!! Avoidance and clients that are withdrawn have exhausted all other attempts to be noticed and find significance in the world They are the most difficult to re-engage, and while they appear not as needy as other clients, they are at high risk for suicide, drug & alcohol abuse and other forms of abuse.

40 How to Identify Avoidance:
Clients who are in avoidance mode often feel despair, hopeless, discouraged; "I give up" may be their motto. Be aware that this may not present as depression, they may be disinterested, can be energetic, but automatically “know” that nothing you suggest or try will actually “work” for them.

41 How to Overcome Avoidance:
Connect with them at their level Accept authentic efforts at success because failing now build character later Keep their interests in mind and allow for them to make decisions

42 Mistaken Beliefs…. Mistaken beliefs are what drive misbehavior.
When clients have negative experiences based on their own negative perception, they get confirmation that they are “less than”

43 Helping educate clients on the 4 goals and finding ways to encourage them for who they are – NOT what they do is the way to change in the client, and change in the therapeutic relationship.

44 The 4 Goals of Misbehavior can be used with clients or any other relationship – we can even use them to help ourselves in overcoming some of our mistaken beliefs!



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