• Sierra Smith

INSTALLING THE CONCEPTS THAT MODIFY BEHAVIORS

Do you find yourself or a loved one repeating the same negative behavior over and over again? Perhaps you constantly find yourself being late, despite the fact you are always trying to hurry. Or maybe you have a child who has been told everyday… “Remember your lunch, remember your agenda, and don’t forget your mitts…” and still you find yourself delivering things to school on a weekly basis.


Why is it that even though the desire to change the behavior is there… the negative behavior continues to repeat itself?


The answer can be found in the underlying concepts which establish our behaviors. Concepts such as change, consequence, time, sequence and order. If these underlying concepts are missing, the positive behaviors resulting from these concepts will be a challenge to maintain.

So, how do we lean these concepts? Unfortunately, you can’t just read about them, talk about them, or even just practice them… we want them to become a part of who and what we are. When this happens our behaviors will begin to naturally change.


At Rocky Point Academy, we accomplish this task through a process called Concept Mastery. The first step is to see a definition of the concept, and discuss it fully with the facilitator, finding lots of examples in the real world, and from the individual’s life. When the meaning is clear, the individual creates an object, or set of objects, in clay which accurately represent the meaning of the concept. The individual also inserts a clay model of him/herself into the scenario, thus making sure that the understanding of the concept includes ‘how’ that concept relates to him or her personally. This procedure engages the creative process, is fun, safe and effective.


Once the concepts have been mastered in this way, we can then go back to help the individual apply them, by creating in clay, how a specific concept relates to a specific problem experienced by the individual. By working through various scenarios, creating different causes and effects, the individual is able to fully understand his own role in bringing about the consequences of his behavior, and fully understand what he could do differently if he desires different outcomes. For example, we have seen adults who suddenly start to arrive on time, teenagers who decided to neaten their own room without being nagged, and happy children who find out that the bullying at school was actually triggered by something they had been doing, and they can stop it.


The concept mastery procedure is unique in that it addresses the underlying root cause of negative or unwanted behaviors. Changing these behaviors need not be an exercise in determination, self-discipline and exhaustion. Address the root… and the behaviors will naturally follow.